Havas Has Big AI Plans Of Its Own

Lest you think that Publicis Groupe is the be-all and end-all of French agency holding companies innovating in the AI space, Havas Group wants to set you straight.

On the same day that Publicis unveiled its AI-driven Marcel platform, Havas announced it is forming its own AI innovation center that will explore the technology and its applications to the customer experience.

The Havas announcement came at the C2 marketing and tech conference in Montreal, where the new center will be housed within Havas Montreal. A joint effort among the Montreal agency and sibling agencies BETC and Havas New York, the AI center is part of Havas X, a broader innovation unit focused on honing the Group’s expertise in new technologies.

The development of the innovation center will be supervised by Havas Montreal CEO Jan-Nicolas Vanderveken and Pierre-Benoît Lemieux, vice president, customer experience, Havas.



The plan is to have an operation with a staff of 60 specialists in AI, data science, customer experience design and programming by the end of 2020. An augmented-reality studio is also part of the planned offering. The ultimate goal is to develop brand and customer experiences powered by artificial intelligence for clients in Europe and North America.

Paul Marobella, Chairman-CEO, Havas Creative, North America, stated: “The center is an extension of existing AI capabilities critical to our business. It will allow us to scale capabilities to meet client needs by leveraging a critical mass of talent, including both creatives and technologists.”

It will be interesting to see how the center is branded, once it’s up. Marcel is named after the founder of Publicis Groupe Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet.

Havas started as a press agency in the 1800s founded by Charles-Louis Havas. That’s a regal sounding name, but it doesn’t trip off the tongue as easily as Marcel, does it?

Maybe Havas should go with a name that’s a little more top of mind in recent annals of the company. 

How about Vincent?

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