Havas acquires Mr Smith, rebrands it Havas New Zealand

  • Advertising
  • March 15, 2017
  • Erin McKenzie
Havas acquires Mr Smith, rebrands it Havas New Zealand
Ben Handy and John O’Leary

Auckland advertising agency Mr Smith is no more after it was acquired by global network Havas in a deal which has seen the agency's founding partners John O’Leary and Ben Handy head the local operation and a rebrand to Havas New Zealand.

Havas New Zealand offers full programmatic digital media and offline media planning and implementation, brand/channel strategy, content creation and production across all platforms.

Leading it all as CEO is former MR Smith owner O’Leary, while Hardy, the former Mr Smith director, has stepped into the chief creative officer role.

The existing client base will take full advantage of Havas’ offering, which includes a global network of expertise and access to some of the world's biggest media and entertainment companies through strategic global partnerships. Key partners include Vivendi, Universal Music, Studio Canal, Vevo and Daily Motion.

The clients include Emirates, Firth, Flooring Xtra, GBC Winstone, JDE (including Moccona, L’Or Espresso, Bell Tea, Jed’s and Hummingbird Coffee, TiOra), Les Mills International, 100% Appliances, Philips Lighting, Simx, Southern Cross Hospitals and Studio Canal.

Commenting on the acquisition, O’Leary says Havas’ beliefs are strongly aligned with those of Mr Smith.

"In Europe and the US, Havas clients are having conversations with agency heads, asking for a better agency/client model where all services are provided within a single office, with content at the core. Clients have worked through a decade of the segregated agency supplier model, which can often create brand disjointedness and consumer disconnection and they want something to fix their brand issue."

Handy agrees, saying that throughout a number of global markets, Havas is creating “Havas Villages”, which are offices that house all the talent a modern brand needs.

"This includes teams of strategists, media and content producers truly collaborating, with no agendas, across multiple channels. We have seen Havas' clients successfully get connected and cohesive brand collusion using this model rather than the fractured process and work that you see across multiple platforms now."

Handy adds consumers are turning away from the bombardment of bland advertising and gravitating towards content that delivers a strong, connected and cohesive brand message across multiple channels, particularly through mobile. The challenge now is to appeal to each consumer's own quirks and keep them engaged.

Havas New Zealand will continue to be based on High Street in Auckland.

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