Marketing Report
Havas acquires social marketing agency Wilderness  

Havas acquires social marketing agency Wilderness  

Havas has announced the acquisition of Wilderness, bringing deep social marketing expertise to Havas globally and enhancing the existing social media services offered within Havas Village London, its PR agencies, and Havas Play, Havas’ global network dedicated to connecting brands to consumer passions through experiences that put brands at the crossroads of culture, entertainment, and sports.

The acquisition is the latest strategic move by Havas to evolve its operating model to accelerate clients’ transition to become more customer-centric organisations. Wilderness will join Havas Play gaining access to the network’s global scale and client base and contributing to its growth story.     

Founded by Tom Jarvis in 2015, Wilderness rose to prominence working as an in-house partner to major entertainment brands including Sony Pictures, 20th Century, and Universal Pictures where the firm built deep specialism in strategic and creative excellence through its services including branded content, shoppable experiences, always-on production and more.

Wilderness has quickly scaled this entertainment-led approach to social to new verticals such as food and drink, FMCG, travel, fashion, and technology, among other consumer sectors and, today, counts the likes of Disney+, BBC Studios, Ticketmaster and NOW, among its clients. In 2023, Wilderness also added projects for Sky Mobile, Sykes Holidays, Heineken, and Dolby, among others, to its work portfolio.   

In under a decade, Wilderness has been recognised at Digiday Europe Awards, Marketing Week Awards, Digital Impact Awards, The Drum DADI and the Promax awards. It was also named as a top 50 agency by The Drum (2021) and nominated for a Webby (2021) for Best Social in the Lifestyle, Health, and Wellness category for its work with Fresh Fitness Food. Among Wilderness’ most iconic work is its campaign supporting HBO across the final season of Game of Thrones, for which it won Best of Twitter (now X) at the Drum Social Media Awards.    

Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and Global CEO, Havas: "We are delighted to welcome Wilderness to our Havas family. Wilderness is a forward-thinking business that perfectly aligns with Havas’ unique positioning at the crossroads of entertainment and advertising, helping clients reach their customers in innovative and meaningful ways. We are excited to see how the addition of Wilderness will enhance complementary specialisms provided by Havas Play and others across Havas globally.”

Wilderness’ London-based staff will move to Havas Village London in March 2024 and form over 30 strong dedicated social media team as part of the Havas Play Network which was launched globally by Havas in 2023.

Nick Wright, Chief Growth Officer of Havas Media Network UK, will be responsible for the strategic integration of Wilderness into Havas, putting in place a rapid growth plan for the agency. Wright will work closely with Rosie Holden, President of Havas Play UK, to ensure that Tom Jarvis, Managing Director of Wilderness and his team quickly hit the ground running.    

Tom Jarvis, Managing Director, Wilderness: "We have a long-term vision to become the leading social media agency for clients looking to transform how they approach social within their organisation. The scale and opportunity being part of Havas affords us will allow us to realise that mission. I can't wait for us to get started!.”

Rosie Holden, President, Havas Play UK: "Wilderness is the perfect blend of servicing brands in culture and entertainment, as well as bringing culture and entertainment to brands wanting to activate in those areas. They are experts in driving awareness, consideration, engagement, and conversion through social and will be an invaluable asset to the Havas Play Network.”