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Successfully leveraging its relationship with Vivendi, Havas Media was appointed global media agency for TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel platform. The new partnership will give TripAdvisor access to talent found at the likes of Universal Music Group, a model similarly embraced by Puma, to strengthen the brand with its current base of travelers around the world. 

“TripAdvisor has ambitious plans for growth and we will work to help them better engage new audiences of increasingly mobile and millennial travelers through innovative and integrated sponsorship experiences, content offerings, and membership opportunities,” said Havas Media Global CEO, Peter Mears, in announcing the win. 

Lindsay Nelson, President of Core Experience for TripAdvisor, added: “We spent the last 20 years becoming the world’s largest travel platform, and we will spend the next 20 years driving the same disruption for a new generation of travelers. We need a partner like Havas capable of helping us drive that transformation and deliver on our ambitious agenda to redefine the future of travel.” 

We spoke with Bre Rossetti, Havas Media’s SVP of Strategy & Innovation, about the win, how the Meaningful Media strategy and Mx process helped shaped the agency’s pitch, and what goes into a global pitch.

Our partnership with Vivendi highlights the uniqueness of our position in the market. What is it about our Vivendi offering that excites clients and how can other new business teams in the network leverage it in pitches? 

The assets that Vivendi has—from UMG, to See Tickets, to Vivendi Live—allowed us to have a very different conversation with TripAdvisor. Instead of talking about only media, we were able to enter into a much broader conversation about new revenue streams for their business—things like new types of experiences that they can offer travelers, rewards for members, and content to power their publishing business. 

What excites you about working with TripAdvisor? 

There is so much potential with this brand. I think the thing I am most excited about is being involved from the ground up—there is a refreshed brand strategy, a new product roadmap, and they deliberately selected a new media and creative agency at the same time to ensure integration from the start. Everything has been designed to overcome silos and reinvent the way that they go to market. 

How did the Meaningful Media philosophy play a role in the pitch process? 

It’s interesting because TripAdvisor is a meaningful media brand itself—and one that was written about on our Meaningful Media site, in fact—so the philosophy really resonated from the start! This actually helped shape their narrative internally to their most senior stakeholders about how they need to reset their media strategy. It was also a big part of how they crafted their brief for the creative pitch. 

How do you see Havas Media’s data-driven ability to demonstrate ROI impacting TripAdvisor’s shift to more meaningful digital and integrated marketing? 

This was a great pitch because it allowed us to show how data can unlock creativity. As part of the pitch we onboarded TripAdvisor’s 1st-party data and used that to understand their current customer base and make decisions about future opportunities. 

That in itself was illuminating, but I think what really made the difference was that we presented fully integrated ideas that were rooted in segment insights and capitalized on cultural moments, but also included the granular details about digital investment strategy. We didn’t just say, “Here are our creative ideas” and “Here is our hard-working media” as two separate tranches.  We made it all work hard, and we took them on a journey about why we made the decisions we did.  

What role does media play in modern travel?

Media and travel are inextricably linked—one of the questions we posed during the pitch was who are TripAdvisor’s competitors? Is it Trivago, or Google, or Instagram? The answer is all of them, of course.

Recent studies have found that 79% of Gen Z first traveled overseas before the age of 15, and more often than not turn to social media for their travel inspirations. What opportunities do you see in bringing the TripAdvisor brand story to a younger generation of travelers? 

Lots to come here! It’s really exciting to introduce this brand to a whole new generation.  TripAdvisor’s impact on the world of travel really is massive—it goes well beyond planning when you think about their impact on tourism and the travel industry as a whole. That’s a really fantastic story to tell. 

For those of us who may never experience something like this, what goes into a global pitch? 

Global pitches are on a larger scale, but the same principles apply. It’s a team effort and everyone helps, whether it’s the people in the room, the people doing research, the people submitting ideas, or the people taking on day-to-day work so others can stay locked in a room working on the deck. 

Ultimately, I think that global or local pitches are won because of the conviction in the strategy and our work and our ability to demonstrate that Havas will be a great business partner, regardless of how their brief changes. 

I will say that it’s unbelievably helpful in global pitches to have a consistent global process like Mx. It’s important to clients who want to work across markets and it’s critical to internal, cross-market collaboration. 

Anything else you’d like to add? 

I know that Mx is a relatively new process—but I can say firsthand that it’s a hugely compelling proposition. It opens up a different kind of dialogue with clients about the value we can add to their business and about the type of work we want to do together—something that all new business pitches should seek to do!

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