Havas Media Group’s new global content head Damien Marchi: ‘Agencies are the matchmakers’ | M&M Global

Havas Media Group’s new global content head Damien Marchi: ‘Agencies are the matchmakers’

Media agencies should learn from the idea sharing and implementation capabilities of global TV production companies, according to Havas Media Group’s new global head of content.

Damien Marchi

Speaking exclusively to M&M Global, Damien Marchi argues that agencies should be “inspired” by some of his former employers, including Big Brother-creator Endemol.

Emmy Award-winner Marchi joins Havas Media Group from Euronews, where he was a member of the executive committee, responsible for innovation and the digital transformation of the broadcaster’s newsroom.

He has also held EMEA and global-level roles with FreemantleMedia, the maker of global TV franchises The X Factor, Got Talent and Idols.

Marchi said he hopes to introduce some of the structures which enabled global ideas sharing to Havas over the coming months: “My background is in content production, where the strength is the creative network. Everyone creating TV shows all over the world are connected and sharing and exchanging ideas for shows.

“That is an area for us as a company to get into. Not to mimic Freemantle and go against them, but to understand what has made them so strong and to be inspired by this organisation.”

Year of content

Havas Media Group’s global managing director Dominique Delport has made it clear that he views 2015 as the “year of content”.

Following 12 months of investments in data services, the agency has signed content partnerships with NewsCred and Universal Music, with more such deals understood to be “in the pipline”.

Marchi’s aim is to make Havas the “best agency on the market” when it comes to brand content. He plans to do that by simplifying the topic for clients and ensuring the interests and passions of consumers are put first.

“The key is to put the consumer at the start, to talk about aspects and information that the consumer is interested in rather than what the brand is interested in,” he said.

“Content can be complex for clients, because there is a lot of people involved and there is a lot happening in the market. It is a big buzz word but, on a day-to-day basis, it is complex for CMOs and their teams. We want to make that simple for them.”

Content philosophy

While admitting it will be challenging to create a single, global content philosophy, given the breadth of clients and communication channels involved, Marchi believes there is a vital role for agencies in this new era.

He argues agencies must make themselves the “matchmaker” at the heart of the content creation process, using an organisational structure to ensure the fastest possible delivery. Content “champions” will be established in each agency across all territories, to put content “at the heart of the company”.

“The agency is good at the strategic rationale to really make sure the brand will be working with the best talent for the best possible opportunity,” said Marchi.

“The role of the media agency has evolved a lot in the past five years. It is at its best when it is in the middle of the stream. In content we want to be in the middle of the stream as the matchmaker between brands, platforms, publishers, producers, content creators and talent.

“For this to work you have to get organised, and Havas is pretty organised on a global and local level. Then you make sure you organise yourself to be as quick as possible, because velocity is extremely important.”

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