More than a decade after first selling an equity stake in Sharpe Blackmore to Euro RSCG, Bill Sharpe’s name is no longer on the door of the agency he co-founded with partner Tom Blackmore.
Formalizing a global rebranding effort first announced in March, French holding company Havas announced today that it has rechristened its 316 Euro RSCG offices in 75 countries as Havas Worldwide. The rebrand also includes the Euro RSCG Life, Euro RSCG 4D and Euro RSCG WW PR brands.
The Havas group will now consist of two primary brands: Havas Media will house global media agencies such as MPG and Media Contacts, while Havas Creative will house the Havas Worldwide network and the “micro-network” Arnold Worldwide – which is comprised of 16 agencies in 15 countries.
There are no leadership changes planned.
In Canada, the rebrand affects Toronto agency Sharpe Blackmore Euro RSCG (now Havas Worldwide Toronto) and pharmaceutical agency Euro RSGC Life (now Havas Life Toronto). The affiliated Palm + Havas, which has offices in Montreal and Toronto, is unaffected.
Speaking with Marketing this morning, Sharpe said the rebrand would be a “catalyst” for change while at the same crystallizing the name of an agency variously known as Euro Toronto, Sharpe Blackmore and Euro RSCG.
“When this was first announced, I welcomed it because it was an opportunity to tell a coherent story and to finally get behind one brand, one name and one strategic direction,” said the Havas Worldwide Toronto chairman.
No, he won’t miss seeing “Sharpe” in the agency name. “My name’s been on the door for a long time,” he said. “I’m actually happy to move forward. I think in advertising these days, if you’re not moving forward on all fronts, there’s difficulty.”
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Sharpe said that the rebranding and integration of its operating units would remove barriers – both real and perceived – between the various Havas entities. “There’s a lot of tollbooths and a lot of borders, and this is a starting pistol to really try and use this as a catalyst to be faster and more global and, to some extent, concentrate more on disciplines regardless of geography.”
“If we’re entering an era of big data, big collaboration has to go along with that if you’re a global communications company,” he said.
In addition to the new name, new company logo and positioning statement (“Future first”), the rebranding harmonizes all elements of the Havas operation, from IT to e-mails.
Sharpe said the streamlined branding differentiates the agency and its holding company from competing multinationals such as Omnicom and WPP, which own far more agency brands within their corporate umbrellas.
Clients can expect to see the gradual integration of new processes that will underscore the agency’s commitment to becoming more nimble, agile and collaborative, said Sharpe.
Havas Worldwide’s Canadian online presence currently piggybacks on the global website, but plans to launch a Canadian specific site – which will follow the framework of the global site – within the next month or two, said Sharpe.
Havas also announced the launch of its Havas Digital Group, an umbrella brand operating across both media and creative. It is not a new operating division, the company said, but a brand name reflecting the company’s commitment to its “digital at the core” model. The Havas Media brand will unveil a new visual identity in early 2013, the company said.