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Digital Transformation IAB Rising Stars Singapore

IAB Singapore Rising Stars: Havas trader Florent Davach de Theze says the fast pace of programmatic keeps him humble

By Gregory Pichot | Director of client advisory

IAB Singapore


Opinion article

August 20, 2018 | 6 min read

The IAB Singapore Programmatic Committee continues its hunt for the industry’s brightest talents behind the technology. Find out how these passionate practitioners got started, the secrets behind their success and what they are doing to drive the industry forward.

Florent Havas

Florent Davach de Theze

“He breathes, eats and sleeps programmatic, and works across two time zones,” revealed Lawrence Taylor, global managing director of Havas. Second to his love for boxing and soccer, Florent Davach de Theze has a huge appetite for digital trends and all things programmatic. Starting his digital career as a junior programmatic trader in Havas, Paris, Florent now leads the organization’s programmatic hub for social, mobile and display in APAC.

As part of the global Affiperf Strategic Committee, Florent actively contributes to the growth of programmatic expertise. Leading a team of 15 across six offices in the region, he invests his time in “educating markets to develop a local programmatic expertise and on-site trading desk, bringing them to standards on par with some of the most advanced markets in the world,” shared Taylor.

Being at the vanguard of innovation, Florent constantly challenges his vendors to share new technology for testing, according to Marta Barrera, senior sales manager, SEA, MediaMath. “Flo has a deep understanding of the programmatic landscape and utilizes his knowledge and experience in the field to deliver real business solutions for his clients,” she added. If not on the soccer field, you will definitely be seeing more of this rising star in the industry.

What did you think the word programmatic meant before you started your job?

Prior to joining Havas, I held two internships in Banking and worked a year as a strategy consultant. I graduated with a Master Degree in Corporate Finance and to be honest, I had no idea what CPM meant on my first day. All I knew was that I wanted to ride the digital wave. Havas provided me with the opportunity to do so and the wave has been amazing ever since.

What do you love the most about programmatic?

It’s a disruptive industry; AdTech is exactly based on the Schumpeter trilogy of “invention, innovation, diffusion”. Nothing beats learning every day - Today, we are investing in Smart TV and Digital Audio for our clients; what will happen tomorrow?

How do you predict programmatic will change the future/evolve?

Audio and smart connected screens will change our lives. Having a smart screen in your fridge reminding you that you are short of Corona – then simply ask Alexa or Google Home to fix it.

Programmatic will be the norm as the word “programmatic” will disappear as ads will be more targeted, shorter and audio-video content driven in these new mediums. Standard display ads will disappear.

Share an anecdote or any funny story from your work experience?

Three years ago, I participated in a boxing fight with our former head of out-of-home (OOH). More than a fight, it was a brawl between OOH and digital. While the results of the fight I would prefer not to share, I am happy to announce that we are now working closely together and connecting the dots of digital OOH with data/geofencing targeting.

Any advice for new entrants to get into the industry?

Be humble and play smart with numbers. The industry is changing every day; the norm three years ago is now obsolete. To be relevant, we need to show the added value of programmatic to our clients through returns on ad spend and set KPIs. The ability to juggle with numbers is much appreciated in this industry. Being malleable goes a long way.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Like every French kid, I wanted to be a footballer and play with Mbappé in the World Cup. Digital spend and innovation is outstanding during this World Cup, meeting my “goal” halfway.

Gregory Pichot is director of client advisory at AppNexus and co-chair of the Programmatic Committee at IAB Singapore.

Digital Transformation IAB Rising Stars Singapore

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