Jacques Seguela, chief creative officer and vice-chairman of the Havas Group, has several plans for Euro RSCG, the flagship agency brand of the marketing communications conglomerate, but the most significant of these turns conventional wisdom on its head. He says, “We will bring media inside and totally integrate it with the agency. We want to be the first group to put both in the same place, at the same office, under the same management.” This will mean the integration of Euro RSCG with MPG or Media Planning Group, its independent media unit.
Seguela told ET that media is simply too important and integral a function for it to be thought of in isolation. He says, “Media is in the same position now that creativity was in the last century. All the new technological advances have been in the media space.” He outlined efforts within the network in order to make this work, especially since after nearly a decade of operating as independent power centres, advertising and media agencies have got out of the habit of working in such close association.
Over the past six months, there have been intensive meetings of key personnel at both MPG and Euro RSCG with Havas' new chairman Vincent Bollore. Mr Seguela asserts that the clients who are exclusively associated with MPG will have a separate division within it, catering to their needs. It's not just media but also PR, direct marketing and interactive services that will be brought under a single roof. While most agencies have been speaking of a more integrated offering, physical integration has been unheard of ever since the mid 1990s, when independent units were set up by most agencies to handle media planning and buying.
At 70, Seguela shows no signs of slowing down, is still actively involved in work on brands such as Citroen and Airbus, and recently completed his latest book on Charles Havas, the founder of Havas. India is something of a favourite destination for him, and he intends visiting frequently to implement his creative vision for the country. His most memorable visit was way back in 1958, when he worked as an extra in a movie made in the South. “I never got to see it though, and don't know its name,” he says.
Seguela also has a specific agenda for the Indian operations of Euro RSCG - to raise the bar on creativity. He cites the Gunn Report, which tracks global creative performance of advertising agencies, and says “Euro RSCG has five agencies in the Top 50 which is 10%. But where is India? It's nowhere in the Top 50 ranking.
It has never been there for the last seven years.” He believes that while India has successfully managed to shake off the yoke of British and American advertising, work created here has is too sharply localised. His ambition for the local operations of Euro RSCG is to invent a new way of advertising.