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Havas Group has merged a number of its PR shops into a singular global brand offering that will combine traditional earned media strategy with social, content and experiential functions.

Havas PR North America, Havas PR in Manchester and Red Agency in APAC will all rebrand as Red Havas from today (16 May). The company also announced the opening of a new office in London and plans to expand into Japan and South America within the next two years.

The agency will be headed up by global chief James Wright, who is also the global chairman of the overarching Havas PR Collective.

Wright said the merger of traditional PR with social, content and experiential reflects the modern need for brands to invest in fast-paced owned media as much as they do with earned.

“We've always owned the earned in PR – now our job is to earn the owned because everyone is trying to own that space now,” he told The Drum. “The future of the marketing world is promised to no one agency and no one agency discipline.

“This is our play to take on the real-time nature of owned channels, which I think sits best with PR agencies.”

The network has also ploughed "major" investment into data and content, as well as tools that will give clients the chance to form brand “newsrooms” through AI-driven, predictive analytics. Working with sister business HVH Precision, the tech will help companies quickly source topics and conversations to tap into on social, online or at live events.

After pulling its media and creative functions into one P&L in 2017, and continuing to “aggressively integrate the different parts of the business”, accroding to Wright, it’s the first time the group has pooled together the functions of PR and social.

The company has no current plans to rebrand its other PR shops, which include the likes of Chandos Communications, Havas Formula, One Green Bean and Cake (formerly known as Havas SE Cake). Wright explained that in some instances, the specialized nature of agencies such as Havas Medicom and the financial-focused Maitland would not slot easily into the integrated, content-heavy offering.

“We're looking at the broader PR agencies that we have in the group and how we can better shape them for future success,” he said. “We wanted to start with a group that was manageable to be able to leverage the capability that we already know we have.

“Over time, we may look to evolve that and add agencies, but I want to start globally with this micro-network.

Yannick Bollore, the chief executive and chairman of Havas, added in a statement: “Along with the power of Havas Group and the world-class entertainment capabilities we have within Vivendi, the proposition of merged media becomes very interesting.

“We have big ambitions to develop and invest in this further."