School Reports 2015: Helia

Tarquin's Gin
Tarquin's Gin

Score: 6  Last year: 6

In the past few years, Havas EHS has lacked the creative punch that once gave it Campaign’s Direct Agency of the Year crown. But 2014 marked a turning point for the agency as it began to fight back and remind everyone what it is capable of.

The change in creative direction was thanks to a new executive creative director, Steven Bennett-Day, the former DraftFCB European digital creative director who joined at the beginning of the year, replacing Nigel Clifton.

Bennett-Day was quick to make his mark with the appointments of Mat Denney as a creative director and Richard Clarke as a creative technologist, and the promotion of the associate creative director, Aaron Howard, to creative director. By adding technology and innovation expertise to its core, the agency has already reaped some rewards in the form of awards, mostly for easyJet.

The world’s first FaceTime campaign for Tarquin’s Gin was evidence of innovation. The campaign used Apple’s chat app to give consumers the impression that they are having a one-to-one tasting session with the Southwestern Distillery founder, Tarquin Leadbetter, when they visited the Tarquin’s Gin website using an Apple device.

However, it wasn’t all roses, and the agency lost four accounts:, InterContinental Hotels, Odeon and Veetee Rice.

Its most notable win was for Viking River Cruises, which doesn’t look enough to fill the hole.

With Havas EHS being ditched as a brand this year in favour of Helia and the arrival of the redoubtable Tracey Barber as its chief marketing officer, we will have to wait and see if this is sufficient to make the new-business machine function a little better.

How the agency scores itself: 6

How the agency rates itself: 2014 has been a year of quiet revolution – focusing on expanding our global reputation and reaping the rewards with a 28 per cent growth in revenue, award wins and the launch of the world’s first FaceTime campaign. We have seen new wins from clients such as Graze, Viking River Cruises and organic growth from existing clients such as Unilever. The transformation continues  into 2015 with new offices opening globally and new product initiatives launching.

Type of agency Digital
Company ownership Havas
Declared income £28.2m
Total accounts at year end 40
Accounts won 5 (biggest: Viking River Cruises)
Accounts lost 4 (biggest:
Number of staff 314 (+11%)
Key personnel Tash Whitney group chief executive
Steven Bennett-Day executive creative director
Matt Fanshawe group chief creative officer
Tracey Barber group chief marketing officer
David Williams managing director, Cirencester

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.