Havas, Sloves Eye Network




French Holding Company to Build Creative Alternative
NEW YORK-Havas Advertising is making overtures to shops in the U.S. and abroad as it seeks to create a new global network of “creatively focused, entrepreneurial, independent-minded agencies,” according to sources.
In an interesting development, the Paris-based holding company has also enlisted Marvin Sloves to assist with U.S. contacts.
Havas’ fledgling Campus network will serve as the centerpiece of the new group. Campus is comprised of four smaller creative agencies in France, Italy, Germany and Britain. With the purchase in January of German agency Rempen & Partner, Havas relaunched Campus, which it dubbed a “creative partnership,” as an alternative network to Havas’ Euro RSCG.
Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman and CEO of Havas, confirmed the company has contacted U.S. agencies but declined to elaborate. Pouzilhac said Sloves is not involved. However, sources said Sloves has made initial overtures to some agencies, paving the way for more extensive conversations with Pouzilhac.
Also, Jean-Pierre Audour, the vice chairman at Havas who is charged with expanding Campus, is said to be close with Sloves.
Sloves did not return calls. Attorney Moses Silverman, who is representing Sloves in legal actions with former employer the Interpublic Group of Cos., declined comment.
Earlier, Havas made clear its intent to make Campus a global network by 2001, announcing plans to expand into Spain, the U.S., Brazil and Singapore. The aggressive acquisition strategy calls for buying shops in a dozen key countries that account for more than 80 percent of the world’s ad spending.
Some observers question the wisdom of the plan, citing the limited number of strong, independent shops in existence,
particularly in the U.S. In New York, where Havas appears to be focusing, the company is said to have approached several, including Berlin Cameron & Partners, Deutsch and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. Without commenting specifically on potential Havas overtures, agency CEO Donny Deutsch said, “We’re approached all the time. This is not something I’d be interested in.”
Richard Kirshenbaum, co-founder and chief creative officer, said, “Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners is constantly being approached by everybody about everything. That’s a nice compliment, but we’re currently not interested.”
Sloves left Lowe & Partners/SMS in December. He is currently enmeshed in a legal tussle with Lowe parent IPG stemming from Lowe’s loss of the $125 million Mercedes-Benz account. -with Noreen O’Leary