School Reports 2013: Havas Media

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines

Score: 6  Last year: 6

The UK agency formerly known as MPG Media Contacts had a decent 2012. Since then, its 125-market network has rebranded to Havas Media, in line with the renaming of Euro RSCG to Havas Worldwide on the creative side. In an endorsement for the chief executive, Marc Mendoza, and his team, its global network plans to emulate its integrated digital and offline offer.

But back to 2012. At the beginning of the year, MPG Media Contacts (as it was) restructured its approach and the agency around the network’s ethos of "meaningful brands". The idea was to focus on the impact brands have on people’s lives and the agency was divided into three parts: the strategy unit, Catalyst; client leadership; and planning and delivery. This was followed by the appointment of the respected planner Hamid Habib, who was lured from ZenithOptimedia to run Catalyst.

MPG had a solid new-business year, fairing better than many and picking up 14 new accounts. Although the majority of new clients were at the smaller end of the spectrum, the agency did win the £8 million Carnival Cruise Lines business. Moreover, MPG started to make headway with big pitches and was shortlisted for Associated British Foods’ £21 million account, eventually losing out to WPP’s Maxus.

Overall, MPG Media Contacts’ solid 2012 provides a large enough launch pad for Havas Media to prosper. It’s hard to pinpoint whether or not Havas Media will ever enter the big league of UK media agencies, but perhaps that misses the point. With its strong digital capabilities and integrated offer, Havas Media will continue to be a good destination for smaller clients looking for interesting work and insightful planning.

Havas Media
Type of agency Media
Company ownership Havas
Key personnel Marc Mendoza chief executive
Paul Frampton managing director
David Goodall managing partner, international
Hamid Habib managing partner, strategy
Alan Brydon managing partner, investment
Nielsen billings 2012 £195m
Nielsen billings 2011 £182m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 85
Accounts won 14 (biggest: Carnival Cruise Lines)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest: TUI Travel)
TV 30%
Press 18%
Outdoor 9%
Radio 2%
Search 7%
Online 21%
Direct 1%
European hub 4%
Sponsorship 2%
Cinema 1%
Other 5%
Number of staff 241 (+4%)

Score key: 9 Outstanding 8 Excellent 7 Good 6 Satisfactory 5 Adequate 4 Below average 3 Poor 2 A year to forget 1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

How Havas Media rates itself: 7

"2012 saw MPG MC hard launch our Meaningful Brands proposition. This positioning has met with a universally positive reception and sets us apart from our peers. It has attracted a range of meaningful new clients including Penguin, Organix, Net a Porter, Paypal, NFL and the owner of Tia Maria & Disaronno (Illva Saronno).  Hamid Habib joined from Zenith and launched a fresh new communications planning framework delivering more connected paid, owned and earned communications solutions."