PARIS: French advertising conglomerate Havas has reported robust full year organic sales growth of 7.1% and 9.8% in the fourth quarter.

Sales in 2007 rose 4.1% from the previous year to reach €1.53 billion ($2.23bn; £1.13bn), above analysts' expectations and at the top range of Havas' own guidance.

Ceo Fernando Rodes Vila says the overall performance "is above our expectations and confirms the turnaround successfully undertaken by the group over the past two years".

Meantime, UK-based consultant Umair Haque says he is to lead a Havas research and development unit, to be known as Media Lab

According to Haque's blog, the new venture will launch in March, with the purpose of experimenting with financiers, start-ups and clients to find new ways of reaching consumers in digital channels.

Says Haque: "We all have a deeply felt interest in reinventing media, marketing and brand. The Lab happened because I don't think any of the standard models - venture funds, corporates, firms, etc - can really make it happen."

Havas has not commented.

  • Meantime, at rival French-headquartered PublicisGroupe full-year revenue rose 6.5% to more than €4.65bn ($6.8bn; £3.4bn), an organic gain of slightly over 3%. In Q4, organic growth was 4.2% at €1.3bn.

    Net income for 2007 was €451 million, an increase of 2% from the previous year.

    Chairman/ceo Maurice Levy, described the overall numbers as "excellent," but added: "The only somber note has been our insufficient organic growth number (3.1%) essentially due to the particular situation of the pharmaceutical sector."

    In addition, Publicis USA and its media unit Optimedia have launched Optimedia Inside, a New-York-based venture that promises clients "media-neutral strategic solutions" for their marketing plans.
  • It also aims to get media involved earlier in the development process.

    Avers Mark Hider, evp of Publicis USA: "We see media not as a way of distributing an engaging idea but as an integral part of the expression of that idea. We are looking for really differential insights and ideas from the media realm, right from the outset of the development process."

    Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff