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Havas becomes next major advertising group to jump on blockchain bandwagon

Havas Group has become the latest major player in ad land to invest in the blockchain industry after signing a partnership with a French crypto-consulting firm.

The Paris-headquartered holding company has followed in the footsteps of other global networks jumping on the crypto-currency bandwagon by founding a communications agency dedicated to helping companies reach Initial Coin Offerings.

The move comes as part of a deal with French company Blockchain Partner, which will provide strategic, technical and legal advice to the new operation.

Led out of Paris, the Havas Blockchain division will work with AMO, the group’s collective of corporate and financial consultancies, which have stronger reaches in markets such as Korea, Japan and Singapore.

Havas Paris consultant Fabien Aufrechter will oversee the blockchain arm. According to Havas Group, the body already has its first ICO earmarked for spring this year with freelancer network Talao.

The company also said Havas Blockchain’s commitment will be in the form of tokens acquired by the Havas Group.

Aufrechter said: “As leader of record in financial communications, Havas Paris is the natural go-to agency for ICOs, which are set for significant growth. This new field of financial communications, aimed at both traditional investors and the cryptocurrency community, will rely more specifically on community engagement, social media and public relations.”

Havas’ move forms part of a larger race by traditional advertising and media companies to enter the blockchain sphere.

The technology, traditionally used in banking, employs a visible digital ledger of economic transactions in a decentralised network.

In Asia, Mindshare has become one of the first media agencies to start adopting the technology into programmatic trading. The Marketing Group’s newly formed programmatic trade desk Truth is also expected to start rolling out in Asia in due course. 

According to Digiday, Droga5 is also understood to be investing in the sphere, though further details remain scant.

Some have thrown cold water on the the idea of using blockchain to solve the advertising industry’s transparency issues.

Earlier this year, Iponweb’s APAC marketing director Gabe Ingalls told Mumbrella that: “The bigger issue blockchain will address is trust and transparency between advertiser and agency.

“But it’s still insufficient to the challenge and needs of the real-time ad ecosystem, which currently processes several million transactions in milliseconds. Recording every impression traded is unlikely to get global adoption given the limitations of the technology.”

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