Host/Havas makes redundancies after losing Defence recruiting account

Advertising agency Host/Havas has made a large number of redundancies following the loss of its biggest account, Australian Defence Force Recruiting, Mumbrella understands. Mumbrella has heard industry speculation that the number of affected staff could be upwards of 70, but so far, Host/Havas has declined to comment or confirm the number.

The Department of Defence started the tender process of seeking a pitch consultant in late 2017. In April last year, the DFR then rolled over its current contract with Host/Havas for an additional year.

Mumbrella understands the winner of the DFR digital and creative contract has not yet been notified

Host/Havas’ contract with the DFR is expected to end at the end of March.

Mumbrella understands Host/Havas has since learned it will not be retaining the account for the DFR, and, as a result, the agency has had to make the redundancies.

Mumbrella understands four agencies made the final shortlist, including VMLY&R, TBWA Melbourne, Host/Havas and Clemenger BBDO Sydney.

Havas Worldwide first won the government Defence Force Recruiting account in December 2013, scoring the account from what was George Patterson Y&R’s biggest client at the time.

In 2013 it was announced that Havas Worldwide Sydney had won the account for a three-year period, with the option to roll over the contract for an additional year.

Host/Havas declined to comment.

A spokesperson from the Department of Defence said: “The successful CADS provider will have responsibility for delivering Defence Force Recruiting’s attraction requirements, which includes the development of advertising materials for television, cinema, magazines and newspapers, and digital advertising, as well as other content for the Defence Jobs website and for use in various social media channels.

“The tender process is still underway. Details of any contract awarded will be published on AusTender at after the contract has been executed.”

Host/Havas’ clients include the National Heart Foundation, Oroton, Air New Zealand and Chatime.

UPDATE 15/1/19:

Laura Aldington, CEO at Host/Havas, said in a statement to Mumbrella: “Whilst this is obviously a disappointing outcome for us, we wish the Defence Force Recruiting team all the best.

“I want to thank the incredibly talented, dedicated team at Host/Havas, who helped deliver DFR the two most successful years in their history, guiding them through a period of significant digital transformation.

“They should feel justly proud of the last five years and the amazing contribution they have made, in particular the recent awarding of the Australian Grand Effie.

“Our first priority now is obviously our staff, and out of respect for them, we will not be disclosing any specific details on changes we are making as a result of this news. We can confirm that there will be a number of redundancies and the leadership team has now met with every single member of the agency and informed them of the impact on their individual roles.

“While we confirm there will be a number of redundancies, the number being speculated is incorrect.

“They have all, without exception, behaved with absolute grace and class and we couldn’t be prouder of them for that. We would also like to thank our amazing clients for all of their support over the last few days and all of our friends and partners in the industry for theirs. We will now take some time to recalibrate, adjust and set ourselves up to continue delivering great work for our clients in 2019 and beyond.”


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