Jim Edwards at Business Insider reported the real reason Euro RSCG is changing its name to Havas “is because the European economic crisis is tarnishing anything branded ‘Euro.’” Ironically, the holding company is probably in worse financial shape than the European economy. Guess now the only thing tarnishing Euro RSCG/Havas will be its abysmally awful leadership and painfully mediocre work. On the bright side, it’s much easier to say, “Havas sucks.”
But seriously, the move actually symbolizes the problem that holding companies have inflicted on the global industry. Specifically, advertising agencies have lost their brand identities—they are increasingly becoming generic. In many respects, agencies have historically done a lousy job of self-promotion, as evidenced by corporate websites and PR activities. Yet most shops have minimally been identified by the work produced for clients. No more.
Omnicom is arguably the leader in creating a lack of difference between sister agencies within a network. Simply view the Corporate Cultural Collusion that takes place for the PepsiCo client. Goodby Silverstein & Partners equals Juniper Park equals TBWA\Chiat\Day equals Element 79 equals Energy BBDO equals Fathom Communications. Take your pick, advertisers, they’re all the same.
In Euro RSCG’s/Havas’ case, the indistinctiveness is rooted in the blandness of the individual shops. So lumping them together under a single masthead kinda makes sense. Havas CEO David Jones (incidentally, is there a more ordinary name than his?) also claims he wants to simplify the client offerings to Havas Media and Havas Creative—the latter being a new oxymoron.
Thanks to the corporate nature of holding companies, the monotony of our industry goes well beyond the Whiteness.