Paul Ward, Global CEO of Havas Studios, introduces the Group’s newly launched global creative production business.
The global micro network, developed in partnership with Wellcom Worldwide, will serve as a creative boutique and span the full range of content production capabilities.
Here, Paul explains the development of Havas Studios, and what the venture will bring to our wider network.
Tell us about Havas Studios and what it offers the Havas network.
Havas Studios is an accelerator for the ongoing transformation of our global agencies. Our industry has long been conditioned to operate in a big budget ‘everything’s going in the Super Bowl ad break’ kind of way, meanwhile the world has moved on to something very different. The pandemic has only turbo boosted that change – our business now needs to make far more of the content that it previously only managed. Havas Studios is the enabler to this new approach.
The global production business is in partnership with Wellcom Worldwide. Why was this the right partner for this endeavour?
We needed a technology-first partner. We are great at making content; we just need to connect it up and align our processes so that we act seamlessly as one. To do this, we need cutting-edge technology and will then have to continually invest in it each year to stay relevant. We were very clear we needed a global partner who did this for a living; a business that lies awake at night worrying if they’ve invested in the right connectivity, or content automation tech, or AI driven transcreation platform.
It might not feel life changing to you right now, but your client will ask you about it at some point! We subsequently pulled together a multi-discipline, senior leadership pitch team from across the world and ran a global pitch process during the initial lock down period. Wellcom came out on top.
You’ve said what Havas Studios is going to try and do is “create a business that gives the creatives and the clients everything they need”. What did you mean by this?
That’s the challenge! Our creatives want to work with the very best production partners and rightly won’t accept anything getting in the way of creating their masterpiece. Meanwhile, driven by procurement, our clients are slashing budgets and demanding more, more, more for less, less, less. Our biggest challenge is to build a business which creatives want to work with and that clients are happy to pay for.
For me the creative bit (improving our creative origination creds) is something we can’t/won’t do alone – the creatives need to work with us to build what they want; it will then be our job to simply work really hard to ensure clients get what they want.
Tell us about the global network and how it will work across the world and in a number of diverse markets.
We will go live at first in London, New York and Chicago, backed up by additional Wellcom studios in Kuala Lumpur, Florida, Sydney and Melbourne. Later this year we’ll bring Prague into the group and start scoping out Germany. 2022 will be all about the US West Coast, India, China and LATAM. And during all of this we will be working with Francois Barral and his crew on how everything connects with Paris.
What makes Havas Studios different than other offerings?
Ah, that bit’s easy; we are building a business which has creative production at the heart. It would have been easy (ish) to try to replicate a Hogarth, or Prodigious, but we’re very clear that decoupled production is not what the world wants. We’re hiring talent from some of the world’s best, most creative production businesses to help build that utopian studio offering which keeps creative agencies AND clients AND procurement happy, all at the same time.
And finally, a reminder that this is not a nice to have, rather a have to have. This is not solely about capturing more revenue. The truth is that if we really want to win globally, then our creative and media businesses must start making far more than we manage.