Havas Worldwide Lands a Content and Production Chief

Taps R/GA's Vin Farrell for new role

New Havas Worldwide president Andrew Benett is continuing to build his global team. Two months after Matt Weiss joined as global chief marketing officer, R/GA’s Vin Farrell has signed on as global chief content officer, a new position.

Farrell, who starts next week, will lead the development of branded content and steer the agency’s production ranks. Accordingly, he’s expected to build a team of content specialists and develop a production facility to produce “quick-moving, always-on content,” Benett said. The facility won’t handle big jobs like commercial shoots, but would take on, for example, the creation of Web videos or webisodes.

In making the hire, Benett cited Farrell’s diverse experience, which includes six years at digital specialist R/GA, the production of independent films like 2012’s Me @ The Zoo and a content/production role at SpikeTV.com. His last position at R/GA was svp of creative operations.

“It’s a really interesting background,” Benett told Adweek. “It’s someone that gets production, gets creation, gets narrative and storytelling, gets digital and social media. There’s no one like him in the industry. I mean, I looked. I looked for six months to find someone like this.”

As marketers increasingly demand more than traditional ads, Benett is angling to capture a greater share of content creation assignments in whatever form they take. In other words, why go to a production company or media agency for content, if Havas can do it for you? The agency's clients include Reckitt-Benckiser, Merck, Volvo, Pernod Ricard and Citi.

“Almost every single client meeting I go into, they’re asking about content. And I don’t think content is a fad,” Benett said. “Social media, content and mobile and location [marketing] are and will be for the next three to five years the three biggest platform areas within digital.”

Benett joined Havas in January from sister agency Arnold, where he was global CEO. In his three years at Arnold, Benett installed quite a few new leaders, and at Havas, he’s nowhere near finished. Sources expect another top hire—in the digital realm—within the next few weeks.