Yannick Bollore

Holding Company Chiefs

'We must be better than AI': Yannick Bolloré on Tech, Agency M&As and Measurement

Ahead of Cannes Lions, the Havas chief addressed a few of the potential trends that will be discussed at the festival of creativity this year

By Stephen Lepitak

We are just days away from yet another year of Cannes Lions taking place, where most of the world's advertising leadership will gather to discuss industry trends, review the output from the sector and discuss where things are going in the short term. In advance, we spoke with the holding company chiefs from the Big Six agency networks for their take on a few of the potential industry discussion points.

First up is the chairman and CEO of Havas, Yannick Bolloré.

In the age of AI - how have M&A deals changed when it comes to creative agencies? Does the rise of that tech alter their value at all?  

The mass adoption of generative AI has created an increase in content production, which has both made mediocre creative obsolete and increased the value of standout creative. Last July, Havas acquired a majority stake in Uncommon Creative Studio, the UK’s most awarded and fastest-growing independent creative company, a testament to our belief that creativity is, and always has been, the difference in developing meaningful brands. Our philosophy is that we can be better with AI, but we must be better than AI, so we’ll continue to invest in original creativity alongside technology.   


What is your advice to anyone who doesn’t want to adopt the use of AI into their work and believes they are capable without? 

Engage responsibly or be left behind.  

We’re currently at an extraordinary inflection point for our industry with an unprecedented rate of expansion of Gen AI tech and tools that accelerate our existing capabilities. It helps us amplify not only our productivity, but also our creativity. That is why 100% of our talents around the world are now trained and equipped to embrace the best of this transformative evolution. 


What are the main challenges marketers now face when it comes to measurement and how is business supporting them to overcome it? 

The digital landscape is set to change rapidly with the phase-out of third-party cookies, which has created uncertainty over a fragmented landscape for marketers, while promising opportunities for innovation and the creation of more personalized and privacy-centric experiences. Our teams are working to help our clients find ways to test in cookieless environments now to prepare for the future.

The good news is that through the right mix of alternatives, we can produce similar or even better results most of the time by implementing a holistic data strategy, creating meaningful media experiences. 

The thoughts of further network CEOs will run throughout this week.


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