Publicis stresses that the action was not an acquisition but rather that Havoc's employees are now Publicis employees. The now 200-strong workforce, the agency claims, offers a complete range of digital capabilities including strategy, social-media, mobile, e-commerce and analytics.
To help steer the new entity, Raul Villegas has joined as managing director from BBDO Beijing. He returns to the Philippines after more than 10 years abroad and reports to Matec Villanueva, chairman and CEO.
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Mike Palacios, former CEO of Havoc, will lead the large-scale digital operations of Publicis Manila as chief digital officer.
“With more than 38 million internet users in the Philippines and about two-thirds of those people under 30 years old, the importance and effectiveness of digital communications is obvious in the world of marketing,” said Palacios in a statement.
The decision to join Publicis, he continued, was to help a "bunch of technologists" scale with "Publicis' ability to build and nurture iconic brands [in the Philippines] and around the world".
“Our Manila operations have been transformed into a totally future-facing business," said Loris Nold, CEO for Publicis Worldwide Asia-Pacific. "Having Havoc fully integrated into Publicis Manila with Mike leading the team is great news. It is our strategic priority to build best in class digital communication capabilities in the region for the benefit of our clients. And with Raul, we are adding a world class senior talent in this important market.”
Publicis Worldwide has been working hard at upscaling it digital offerings in Asia-Pacific. Earlier this month, it launched digital consultancy Nurun in Singapore which has been described as "embedded and working closely with" Publicis Singapore.