It Takes A Village: Havas Drives Off With Avis Budget Group’s Media & Earned PR

It Takes A Village: Havas Drives Off With Avis Budget Group’s Media & Earned PR

The Havas Media Network and Havas Red have driven off with Avis Budget Group’s (ABG) media and earned PR accounts, respectively, following competitive pitches for both accounts.

The two agencies were the incumbents on the account but, with ABG wanting to assess the value it was receiving, the accounts went out to pitch. ABG looked at both holdco and independent agencies but chose to stick with Havas. When the client last pitched in 2018, it only looked at global agencies.

Under the new remit, Havas Media will provide integrated digital performance, partnership activation and media amplification while Havas Red will lead earned PR in Australia.

These 2023 pitches ran separately but saw the two Havas agencies talk up the value of the holdco’s Village model, as Havas Media Network CEO Virginia Hyland explained.

“The point of the Havas Village is that we can help brands understand consumers better and how to attract and how to engage them. We can offer insights around audiences and how they’re making decisions, who the competition is and what are they spending,” Hyland explained.

Havas/Host, the holdco’s creative arm, will continue to pick up project work for ABG, as it has done with some success this year. The creative account was not out for pitch.

In the pitches for both the media and the PR accounts, the Havas team made some song and dance about the power of its cooperative Village model.

“In the case of Avis Budget, they have two account managers, one in media because they do a lot of work in digital performance, ecommerce, right through to paid and then they have their PR account manager.

“When we receive a brief, we get together internally to unpack the insights we have around the audiences, how are they searching, who the audiences are that genuinely have buying signals and then we share that information with Havas Red. When they’re organising their PR, the thinking is aligned because it’s the same consumer we’re going after at the end of the day,” said Hyland.

Virginia Hyland, CEO, Havas Media Network

She even said that the sluggishness often associated with big holdco agencies is not present with the Havas Village model, simply because the Havas Red and Media Network teams are all based in Sydney — as is the client.

“We physically fit together in the Village. It’s not about different agencies within a holdco model, it’s one agency and we physically work together. The collaboration between the teams is greater,” said Hyland.

“There’s something to be said for actually sitting side-by-side, catching up regularly week-by-week and having discussions on the floor.

“We don’t want to be the biggest [holdco] but we want to be respected for the work that we deliver for our clients and the most integrated. We’re not clunky. We’re a challenger agency in the market and that makes us work differently and see the opportunity.”

With that being said, however, Havas’ New Zealand team covers Avis’ Auckland team — demonstrating that there is some level of globalisation in the team.

“ABG is an established market leader paving the next wave of innovation in the travel and transportation spaces. With that comes a tremendous opportunity for our team to craft evolving narratives and connect each brand to customers and partners through earned media activities”, explained Havas Red CEO Shane Russell.

Shane Russell, CEO, Havas Red

It’s also quite a good time for Havas to be retaining the services of a travel- and tourism-based client. Aussie consumer spend is dropping as the cost of living crisis bites but, data has shown that we are still choosing to spend on travel.

“Tourism is booming”, said Hyland, “whether you’ve got less money in your pocket or note. The fact is, after COVID and the lockdowns, the one thing people are doing is travelling the world”.

The Havas agencies will hold the accounts for the next three years.

“It’s a good one to end the year on,” beamed Hyland.

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Avis Avis Budget Group Havas Media Network Havas Red

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