Havas Group today announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Singapore-based creative agency BLKJ. The agency will join forces with the Havas Creative network and will strengthen the Group’s creative operations in South East Asia.
BLKJ, founded at the end of 2016 by Rowena Bhagchandani (CEO) and Creative Partners Joji Jacob, Lester Lee and Khalid Osman, quickly became the fastest growing independent agency in Singapore. Today, the agency handles a strong portfolio of local and regional clients including StarHub, Scoot, Great Eastern, Republic of Singapore Air Force, the Singapore Tourism Board, the Economic Development Board and several government authorities.
The agency has a strong reputation and proven track record of creating work that challenges industry norms in both effectiveness and creativity. Within two years of its creation, BLKJ was voted both Creative Agency of the Year, and Independent Agency of the Year at the Creative Circle Awards, beating the bigger and more established agencies to it.
Yannick Bolloré, Chairman & CEO, Havas Group commented: “South East Asia is home to more than 650 million people and is an increasingly important growth region. Singapore is set to become the centre for driving excellence across SEA in various disciplines including the creative industry. Welcoming such an influential and well-known agency in the region to the Havas Family is an exciting move for the Group. With the BLKJ team we share the belief that advertising is a very powerful force in making the world a better place by helping brands create meaningful work that improves people’s lives. We look forward to BLKJ reinforcing our creative profile and our Village offering in Singapore.”
Rowena Bhagchandani, CEO, BLKJ, said: “What we have in common with Havas Group is not just a vision of what advertising should be like, but also what makes for a contemporary organisation. The independent creative powerhouses like BETC, Host, and Buzzman that are now a part of Havas continue to retain their DNA and culture. And what has made and kept BLKJ successful is a culture that helps us create work that is relevant, meaningful, and impactful. This partnership also gives us access to the Group’s partnerships with culturally influential companies like Universal Music, Gameloft, and Canal+. These are relationships that will enable us to offer brands under our care work that doesn’t look or feel like mere advertising. Equally important is the fact that the alliance with Havas Group offers us and our people an opportunity to grow and impact regional and global brands. This lays the foundation for our ambition of taking work created in Singapore to the world.”
Chris Hirst, CEO Havas Creative, added: “BLKJ has such great creative pedigree and has already achieved so much while still in its youth. With Alberto now overseeing the integration of all of our expertise across SEA, BLKJ will help us to strive and thrive in the region at a pivotal time. Welcome to the whole team.”
The BLKJ management team will run BLKJ Havas Singapore and will work closely with the local Havas Media teams to offer integrated solutions to brands. Alberto Canteli, Regional CEO, SEA, Havas Group, will oversee the operation.