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Havas buys New York digital/social agency The 88

Havas Group has bought New York based digital agency The 88, a digital/social boutique agency that provides strategy, creative services, influence, event coverage, content creation and social media management to fashion, lifestyle and consumer brands.

Founded in 2010 by Harry Bernstein, The 88 has two offices in New York. The agency will become an extension of The Annex, Havas’ cultural network aimed to emerging consumers and will be called The Annex88. Bernstein (below right) is also appointed CCO of Havas New York.

The 88 claims to be unique in its work with Instagram, Snapchat, 3D and virtual reality. Clients include Adidas Originals, L’Oréal, Tailored Brands, Mars, Bacardi and Bloomingdales.

Havas CEO Yannick Bolloré says: “This acquisition brings The 88’s keen expertise in digital strategy, creative, production, development, influence and event activation into Havas New York’s already robust capabilities. Building on what Paul Marobella, Jason Peterson and Laura Maness have already implemented within Havas Creative in the US, this addition will enable us to deliver our clients with an unmatched service mix, and bring value to every part of the customer journey.”

Havas Creative US chairman and CEO Paul Marobella says: “Our ambition is to be the partner for the modern CMO. Social-first thinking, building community around brands and culture are critical to do that effectively. The 88 deal is exciting for us because it allows us to continue to break tradition on what it means to be a creative agency.”

88’s Bernstein says: “Seven years ago when I started The 88, I didn’t set out to build a social media agency. I wanted to change advertising. I saw the emergence of bloggers (now called influencers) and social media as the future of how brands and their consumers would engage. It was the creative ‘wild, wild, west’ back then, and we were the cowboys. We just wanted to break how things were being done.

“I’ve learned a lot through this process – through breaking and making new things; some that worked and some that didn’t. Most importantly, I learned that a great idea doesn’t have to have a TV spot at the center; because with our consumer today, a great idea can start anywhere. So we need to think of everything. Every touchpoint. Every engagement. Working with Havas New York gives me the opportunity to do that.”

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