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Havas Play global launch: Havas Sports and Entertainment, Havas Content, Cake India merge in India

The worldwide launch of Havas Play consolidates the network’s expertise in music, sports, gaming, and other areas of fan activation, following the introduction of the ‘Play’ brand in France in 2021

Havas Group unveils Havas Play, a new global network, with the aim to create meaningful experiences at the intersection of entertainment, sports, technology, and fandom.

Havas Play is founded on the belief that activating where consumer passions are at play drives more meaningful engagement and increased purchases.

Havas Group said that this global network will empower all brands to activate consumer passion points– from the arts and tech to healthcare and consumer goods.

“As a dedicated network within the Havas ecosystem, Havas Play will unify existing agency brands and expertise within the organisation, scaling across all of Havas' major markets and retiring the Havas Sports, and Havas Sports & Entertainment brands in markets where they currently exist,” it said.

In India, three entities, Havas Sports and Entertainment and Havas Content, both of which are part of Havas Media Group India, and Cake India, which is part of Havas Creative India, will combine and rebrand as Havas Play.

R Venkatasubramanian, President and National Head of Investments, Havas Media Group India, has been given the additional responsibility to lead Havas Play in India.

Havas Play will be part of the Havas Media Group India network, which is led by Mohit Joshi as its Chief Executive Officer.

Under the new structure, Arun Kumar Rao, Senior VP, Prachi Narayan, Vice-President and Rajika Mittra, Managing Partner, will report to Venkat and will manage Sports, Content and Entertainment mandates, respectively.

The agency further said, “The launch simplifies existing services the network offers to clients under various marques today. Havas Play leverages, upskills, and expands upon existing talent to provide strategy, ideation, creative, production, project management, and distribution across a range of core services: partnerships, influencer marketing, experiential & live events, sponsorships, social media activation & amplification, and branded entertainment.”

Harman International – having appointed Havas as the global agency of record across media and creative at the end of 2022 – now also becomes Havas Play’s first global client, with an expanded remit that appoints Havas Play as a global gaming agency of record.

Havas Play builds on agency experience across local markets in sports, gaming, music and entertainment for Puma, Jameson, Axa, L’Enfant Blue, and more.

“Only Havas can maximise the real opportunity of Play for brands. The launch of this global network to activate consumer passions is something we are truly best positioned to do through our Villages in bringing together the range of skills, tools and services needed to succeed in activating brands in meaningful ways, and our completely unique position within Vivendi as a global leader in entertainment. Clients of Havas Play will have unparalleled access to create meaningful experiences in collaboration with the cultural influencers that command their consumers’ attention and passion,” Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and CEO of Havas Group, comments.

The agency said, “Havas Play, already established in Havas’ HQ market, France will continue to differentiate in three ways: optimising activation through a deep understanding of what makes brands ‘Meaningful’ based on over 12 years of research; a unique commitment to ethics, sustainability and inclusivity through the Institute for Advertising Ethics; and a bespoke approach to measuring brand experience powered by Havas’ global data platform, Converged.

“Havas Play will enable brands around the world to Play like never before, creating moments that break through to consumers in booming concert halls, cheering sports crowds, the bustle of Paris Fashion Week, and the virtual Sandbox. The connection between Havas Play and Vivendi is a true symbiotic relationship, and a shining example of how our organization works cohesively as an integrated network to generate greater value,” Bolloré added.

Rana Barua, Group CEO, Havas Group India, said, “At Havas, we are constantly striving to assist clients in navigating the ever-changing and dynamic advertising and marketing industry by breaking down silos and creating more integrated solutions. The launch of Havas Play is a significant step in that direction. Havas Play will leverage Vivendi and Havas Group resources and has a distinct advantage that shapes core components of the planning process, such as custom data and insight from across Vivendi on fan behaviour, global music, film, gaming, and publisher IP access, and collaboration with top talent from the culture and media sphere. We saw a huge opportunity in sports, culture, and entertainment in India over the years and launched Havas Sports and Entertainment, Havas Content, and Cake India.

I am confident that by joining the forces of these three entities, Havas Play becomes a first-ever and one-of-a-kind offering in India.”

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