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Havas puts first flag in the ground in New Zealand following Mr Smith acquisition

Havas has launched in New Zealand for the first time, putting its stake in the ground via the acquisition of Auckland advertising agency Mr Smith.

The move will see Mr Smith's founding partners John O’Leary and Ben Handy leading a rebranded NZ operation, Havas New Zealand with immediate effect.

Havas recently announced that it was rolling its media and creative businesses into one globally, in response to the increased need from clients to intensify integration.

According to O’Leary, now CEO of the Auckland office: "Havas is a forward thinking, content-inspired company whose beliefs align strongly with ours. In Europe and the US, Havas clients are having conversations with agency heads, asking for a better agency/client model where all services are provided within a single office, with content at the core. Clients have worked through a decade of the segregated agency supplier model, which can often create brand disjointedness and consumer disconnection and they want something to fix their brand issue."

According to O’Leary, Mr Smith already offered a full-service slate of services for clients, including full programmatic, digital media and offline media planning and implementation, brand and channel strategy, content creation and production across all platforms.

Handy, who has now been appointed Havas New Zealand's chief creative officer, said that he too bought into the Havas model globally:" Throughout a number of global markets, Havas is creating 'Havas Villages', offices that house all the talent a modern brand needs. This includes teams of strategists, media and content producers truly collaborating, with no agendas, across multiple channels. We have seen Havas clients successfully get connected and cohesive brand collusion using this model, rather than the fractured process and work that you see across multiple platforms now."

Havas New Zealand clients include Emirates, Firth, Flooring Xtra, GBC Winstone, JDE (including Moccona, L’Or Espresso, Bell Tea, Jed’s and Hummingbird Coffee, TiOra), Les Mills International, 100% Appliances and Philips Lighting. The announcement also stressed a key part of the deal to match these clients with the with media and entertainment firms Havas has partnerships with, such as Universal Music, Studio Canal, Vevo and Daily Motion.

In 2015, Havas launched a partnership with Universal Music in which the two companies started using data to better leverage opportunities between talent and brands.