School Reports 2017: Havas Helia


Score: 5
Last year: 7

How the agency rates itself: 6

Helia’s year ended on a sour note when it lost out to MRM Meteorite in the pan-European easyJet CRM pitch, an account it had held for seven years.

The fact that the airline cited a desire for its work to be more creative and agile would have worsened the blow. Helia will continue to work with easyJet until the end of April but the decision may have dampened the team’s Christmas spirit.

Despite what the easyJet move might suggest, Helia did create some interesting work. For Adidas, which it won in December 2015, the agency gave football fans the chance to design and share a jersey for top players through its Creator Studio.

Helia also took data to the masses when it used artificial intelligence to help predict the outcome of the US presidential election. Although its suggestion that Donald Trump would win the race was not something a lot of people wanted to hear.

Louise Whitcombe joined as group managing director at the beginning of the year and Russell Marsh came on board as chief data officer in February, helping the agency expand one of its strengths.

By picking up the Heathrow and GlaxoSmithKline accounts alongside its sister ad agency, Helia made some strides towards achieving Havas boss Yannick Bolloré’s aim of making the group more integrated. The wins put it in a good position ahead of the move to the Havas Village in King’s Cross. Helia also won on its own, picking up the Saga and Flora ProActiv direct accounts.

Now Helia is under the same roof as all the other Havas agencies, it needs to deliver on the promise of a truly integrated group. Havas has made the bold decision to integrate all of its networks. It is going to be interesting to see whether this pays off.

How the agency describes its year in a tweet

Together towards the Village with an obsessive focus on data, creativity and innovation.

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

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