Havas New York Acquires Digital Agency The 88

By Erik Oster 

Today in digital agency acquisitions, Havas New York is expanding its digital capabilities with the acquisition of the New York digital agency The 88.

The 88 has grown from a team of three to around 50 employees. It has worked with clients including Coca-Cola, adidas Originals, L’Oreal, Mars, Bacardi and Bloomingdale’s and personalities such as A$AP RockyAlexander WangCasey NeistatJeremy Scott and Phillip Lim.

The agency will be rebranded Annex 88 as part of Havas’ Annex cultural network and The 88 founder and chief creative officer Harry Bernstein (pictured, left) will serve as a chief creative officer of Havas New York.

Bernstein founded The 88 in February of 2010, following a year with Rockstar Games’ marketing department. Prior to that he spent five years as a creative director with Berlin Cameron, working with clients including Coca-Cola, vitaminwater, Lincoln, Ford, Heineken and Belvedere. He began his career as an art director with Ogilvy & Mather New York, where he worked with clients including IBM, Sprite and Kodak.

“My vision has always been to change advertising forever, even before advertising realized it needed to be changed,” Bernstein said in a statement. “But at this pivotal moment when the modern CMO is beginning to question traditional means, there’s no better time than now to join forces with Havas. I’m excited to combine my understanding of contemporary culture and innovation with Havas’ capabilities to help our clients break the traditions of their categories as the CCO of Havas New York.”

“Havas New York is a creative agency breaking tradition to build brands of the future, which is why it is imperative to have someone like Harry at the creative helm,” Havas New York CEO Laura Maness said in a statement. “As a partner to the modern CMO, we offer a valuable mix of capabilities that aren’t what you’d expect to find in a creative agency, such as experience design, cognitive, data and technology. With Harry leading the way, we’re poised to create the most relevant, unconventional model while rapidly scaling our growth platforms in New York.”

“I love advertising, but the entire vocabulary of our business has changed. We have an opportunity to be at the forefront of this change and offer clients modern capabilities that drive real results. Harry is the perfect person to help Havas New York stay ahead of the game by disrupting the status quo,”added Havas Creative U.S. chairman and chief creative officer Jason Peterson. “As a thought leader and true innovator, his storytelling embraces the modern language of advertising and will take our offering to the next level.”