Conran Choleric Over Havas 'Hijack'

18 March 2008

LONDON: Cigar-chomping entrepreneur-design guru Sir Terence Conran (pictured) is more than slightly irked at Havas, the French-owned global marketing services holding company.

The design deity's displeasure was incurred when Havas recently decided to embark on the global expansion of its hitherto bijou Conran Design Group brand, acquired eight years ago during the designer's closure of his Storehouse Group.

Choking on his Bolivar Corona Gigante, Conran fulminated: "It's crazy and I think it is wrong. Clients are being sold something they believe to be 'Conran Design' that actually has nothing to do with me or the work of anyone I have worked with for the last decade and half.

"Havas and Euro RSCG are building a house on sand, and many of their clients will invest in a business that doesn't in fact have the brand equity they want. We have it.

"Their expansion plans are a cynical and outrageous attempt to use a legal technicality to hijack the Conran brand [which is] implicitly deceitful and the type of behaviour that a multinational media group like Havas would never recommend to its clients.

"It beggars belief... that a group of the scale and scope of Havas does not have a design brand of its own that it believes in."

However, Sir Terence - who is not famed for his naïveté - appears to have overlooked the fact that the only possible reason for Havas to acquire the brand sans its famed owner, was to exploit his name and reputation.

A detail presumably factored into the price agreed between the parties.

However, the testy knight may well have the last laugh. The 1990 deal gives Conran Holdings (chairman T Conran)  the right both to vet and veto all CDG work.

Your move, Vincent.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff