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The partnership agreement will see the creation of 12 integrated digital production studios across 10 markets by 2022
It’s no longer enough to just make better ads – all clients, from the smallest to the biggest global brands now need smarter, more agile, more bespoke and more cost-effective solutions
Havas, one of the world’s largest advertising and communications groups, has partnered with global creative production agency Wellcom Worldwide to launch Havas Studios: a new, integrated global production business spanning the full range of content production capabilities.
The partnership agreement, which will see employees from both businesses transferred into the new entity and revenue shared between the two, will be headquartered in London and led by Havas UK Chief Operating Officer Paul Ward.
Havas Studios is structured as a joint venture with the majority partnership being held by Havas. The new business will have an executive board of five led by Paul Ward, who takes on the new title of Global CEO, Havas Studios. He will be supported by Dave Bridges and Andrew Lumsden from Wellcom Worldwide and Francois Barral and Alan Adamson from Havas. Managing the business on day to day basis will be a management board of around twelve. The new business will have around 1000 employees and according to Paul Ward will probably reach around 2000 by early 2023.
It will see the creation of a micro-network of integrated content studios, first in London, New York, Chicago and Kuala Lumpur, followed by further studios across Europe, Australia, China, India, Latin America and the West Coast of the US.
Built as a creative boutique, technology-first business, the new production model will bring together existing and newly built studios, backed up by a low-cost offering based in Kuala Lumpur – affording each worldwide location the ability to create quality content at scale. Wellcom’s proprietary, cloud-based Knowledgewell suite – comprising marketing resource management, campaign management, digital asset management and overall studio workflow – will sit at the heart of every studio, allowing teams to collaborate across the globe in real time through streamlined processes, standards and tools, all under one P&L.
According to Ward, the business has five key pillars. The first will be supporting the existing creative agencies with pitches; the second will be premium content origination, which Ward says is the biggest opportunity and the third pillar will be direct work, Ward says “we have a big global production offer so we’re out there pitching our studios directly”.
The fourth pillar will be in-housing, Ward says that Wellcom have built and run around 40 studios for brands around the world and that there is a second wave of in-housing coming that requires next generation production technology that Havas Studios can build and run. The fifth and final pillar is the automation of personalisation. Ward believes DCO as an offer is massively undervalued in which the creative opportunities are almost endless.
With specialist content studios based within key Havas Village locations around the world, Havas Studios’ capabilities will span film, audio, print, photographic and digital content production, encompassing content origination talent and a wide range of post-production facilities, as well as dedicated teams supporting the integrated delivery of retail and eCommerce platform-ready content.
Yannick Bolloré, CEO Havas Group said that building better brand experiences means rethinking how content is managed “Now that digital is fully integrated into everything we do, it is content’s turn to become an organic part of our approach” Bolloré goes on to say that “by partnering with Wellcom we are now able to provide our clients with the best production capabilities in the industry”
The deal also strengthens ties with Wellcom’s mother company Innocean, with whom Havas say they have had a long and fruitful history. Innocean Worldwide appointed Havas Media Group as the media agency for Hyundai and Kia for Europe in October 2019 and Inncocean acquired Wellcom in late 2019. Innocean Worldwide was launched in 2005 as the marketing vanguard for Hyundai Motor Group.
Chris Hirst, Global CEO Havas Creative said that it’s no longer enough to just make better ads – all clients, from the smallest to the biggest global brands now need smarter, more agile, more bespoke and more cost-effective solutions. “This new, global micro-network of studios, launching today but very much with the future in mind, doesn’t just allow us to go toe-to-toe with anyone, but offers clients an innovative, technology-first solution they genuinely can’t find anywhere else”, Hirst says.
Ward adds “The global pandemic threw everything up in the air – and Havas Studios puts the Havas network in a great place as things start to come back down. This launch accelerates the ongoing transformation of our agencies to become businesses which make far more of the work that they previously only managed. Alongside Wellcom, we’ve created a technology first, plug and play content business. We are leapfrogging the competition”.
The concept of a global production business has been under discussion within Havas for around five years according Ward during which time Havas have had a partnership with Wellcom here in the UK, which Ward describes as a pilot, for the past four years. Ward says “the project really got going over the last 18 months” when Ward says they asked “what does the model look like and how will we do it?”. Just before the first lockdown the decision was made to go ahead and a rigorous six month global pitch process began involving a number of global production companies.
Ward says that this is a progressive concept and that it’s important to have buy-in across a range of different internal multi market groups, so the pitch team included the COO of the US, the global new business lead, the global creative leadership, the CFO from three of Havas’ biggest markets and the lead from the biggest Havas studio in France.
Wayne Sidwell, Global CEO at Wellcom Worldwide said that when they first started speaking to Havas about the launch of Havas Studios they knew that it was an exciting opportunity that they had to take forward Sidwell says “we knew that we had a really unique opportunity, to pull together Havas’ strategy, creative and production origination with our technology platform and large-scale delivery model… It’s an incredibly enviable model”.