Christian de La Villehuchet, President of EACA: “We Play a Pivotal Role in Transforming the World”
In an exclusive interview for Tendances – Trends at the Havas Belgium offices, Christian de La Villehuchet, the President of the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), discussed the sector’s evolving role and its impact on the world. De La Villehuchet, who also serves as the Global Chief Integration Officer of the Havas Group, emphasised the advertising industry’s potential to drive positive change on both the advertiser and consumer fronts.
“We are an industry at the heart of the positive transformation of the world, but we are not seen that way. People think we are following advertisers to increase consumption, but that is not the reality,” de La Villehuchet asserted.
He elaborated on the dual impact of advertising agencies, highlighting their work in shaping advertisers’ agendas, value propositions, and actions while influencing consumer behaviour towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainable development.
De La Villehuchet shared a compelling example of Havas’ work with Adidas in the Middle East, where they helped promote women’s emancipation through a campaign called “Liquid Billboard.” This campaign, featuring women diving freely in a public, transparent pool, symbolised Adidas’ support for free women, effectively impacting Middle Eastern society.
Despite the industry’s transformative power, De La Villehuchet acknowledged a common oversight within the advertising sector, stating, “We serve advertisers so much that we forget to defend our industry. And we play a pivotal role in transforming the world.”
Regarding tech giants and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in advertising, De La Villehuchet welcomed innovation but emphasised that AI replicates existing content, while true creativity involves creating something entirely new. He maintained that human imagination would always play a crucial role in maintaining excellence in creativity.
Addressing concerns about AI potentially replacing advertising agencies, De La Villehuchet argued for the necessity of agencies to raise the bar in creativity. He cited Havas’ acquisition of the creative agency Uncommon as an example of their commitment to excellence.
In closing, De La Villehuchet discussed the evolving landscape of the advertising industry, emphasising that it has moved beyond traditional advertising and into the realm of connection. He noted the proliferation of brands, services, and channels worldwide, leading to a vibrant and evolving market.