Watch: Yannick Bolloré on connecting Havas’ expertise in one place

Watch: Yannick Bolloré on connecting Havas’ expertise in one place
Cannes Lions 2024

Havas’ new operating system, Converged, will “connect the entire expertise of our ecosystem” and aims to provide clients with “better outcomes” when it comes to creativity, business results and cost efficiency.

Yannick Bolloré, chairman and CEO of Havas, spoke to The Media Leader after the announcement of Converged on Tuesday at Cannes Lions. He also discussed the anticipated flotation of Havas and his experience of the 2024 edition of the festival.

Watch the interview below.

Bolloré also spoke more widely with The Media Leader France editorial director François Quairel — you can watch the interview, conducted in French, or read a transcript in English.

Translated transcript

The Media Leader: It’s been a big year for Havas this year with the announcement about Havas Converged. Tell me, how would you define Havas Converged? Is it an agency? A software? A solution?

Bolloré: We just announced the new plan, the new strategy, half an hour ago, called Converged. It’s a plan we’ve worked on for a number of months to follow our “Together” plan, which has proved a great success over the last 10 years.

It is a strategic plan but, above all, an operating system for our agencies so they can use one tool together. We have always promoted collaboration — for instance, with our creative and media teams working together with production, customer experience, PR, etc, but each team had their own tools.

But now, thanks to technology, data and AI, we were able to create a proprietary operating system that allows everyone to be connected via a tool, so we can create even more creative and effective campaigns at unbeatable prices.

Before launching it today, we used it with several of our clients including Harman, JBL, Sanofi’s Beyfortus, KFC France (which won two bronze Lions yesterday) and Canal+ — and the results are spectacular.

The Media Leader: What does this change for the everyday work at Havas?

Bolloré: It changes a lot. There is a lot of work going into training for everyone to use, master and understand these new tools.

It’s going to bring a lot more efficiency to everyone’s job day to day.

The Media Leader: It’s also a huge investment for Havas. You announced you had invested €600m in AI, the big subject at Cannes this year. Will you be using AI in this tool as well? 

Bolloré: Yes, of course.

Over the last 10 years, we have invested €600m, or €60m per year on average, and over the next four years we are going to invest €400m, or about €100m per year, so nearly a doubling of our investment, including 2024, as we’ve already started investing.

I think this investment is going to be very profitable for us as it will allow us to be more productive and bring more results to our clients.

The Media Leader: What is Havas’ objective when it comes to positioning itself among the other big networks?

Bolloré: Our objective, or our mission, is to “make a meaningful difference to brands, businesses and people”.

We believe the network agencies, outside of simply driving business results and market share growth, have an influence on the world. And, at Havas, we want to use this influence to make the world a better place.

We saw this in our study, Meaningful Brands, which found the more brands have a better impact on society as a whole, the better their business results. It’s this kind of conversation we try to have with brands. And to get there, we need to use all of the tools in our arsenal, including creativity, because we are convinced it is creativity that is the major differentiation for a brand compared with its competitors.

The Media Leader: The next step for Havas and also Canal+ is to be split from Vivendi. How is the preparation for that progressing? 

Bolloré: It is a work in progress. The Vivendi group is continuing to work on this and before we go ahead, we need to get a two-thirds or majority of two-thirds vote to proceed from shareholders on this, as well as get the point of view from our employee representatives. So it’s not just a decision from Bolloré group.

The idea is to do a partial split of Vivendi with Havas, Canal+ and our publishing arm with Lagardère and Prisma. If this all materialises, Havas would become a company on the stock exchange like it was before 2017.

The Media Leader: What’s your perspective on Cannes Lions this year? 

Bolloré: It has changed a lot in 10 years. When I started coming, about 10 years ago, it was a festival purely focused on creativity. And, little by little, bigger business, industry and tech have started to come to Cannes. It has become a very important business event.

It is still a festival of creativity — that’s still important for us. But on top of that, it is truly a week of business with people from all over the world, particularly from the US.

Havas unveils group-wide Converged proposition

Media Jobs