Lucien Boyer - President and CEO, Havas Sports & Entertainment Share PDF Print E-mail
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Lucien Boyer is the President and CEO of Havas Sports & Entertainment.

A graduate of ESSEC Business School, Boyer founded Lifestyle Marketing Group (LMG), a Saatchi & Saatchi sports marketing subsidiary in France, in 1991. Prior to LMG, Boyer was Director of Sponsoring for the Larrousse – Lola – Lamborghini Formula 1 racing team, where he developed a highly innovative marketing approach inspired by his earlier sports marketing work with the America’s Cup.

By Martin Laurence

Having graduated from ESSEC Business School, was it always a conscious decision and ambition of yours to work in the sports business industry?

My time spent at ESSEC was enriching and gave me the right business basics to succeed, whether that be in the general business world or specifically in the sports industry. Sport has always been a passion for me, but besides my personal interest I knew that it had the potential to be an integral part of the developing and changing advertising and communications world. At the time I graduated I could definitely be considered a “pioneer”. While all of my classmates were focused on marketing, or banking, I was heading in a different direction, a bit out of the blue, to start something very new.

Ten years later when ESSEC realized that sports business or communications/marketing through sport was a real business that could be taught, they came to me for ideas and feedback on their project to start the Sports Marketing chair which exists today. Throughout my career I have always left the door open to trainees and interns; it was my way to give back. I still work today with many of those people I met throughout those years of training.

You have expertise in a variety of industry sectors including marketing, communications and also sponsorship from your time with Lamborghini F1, how did all these skills help you in founding Lifestyle Marketing Group (LMG) in 1991?

Back when I founded LMG, the sports industry was just beginning to come into its own and to be considered as another path for brands and their communication efforts. My time with the America’s Cup and Formula 1 allowed me to get hands on experience and really showed me how sponsorship can shape a brand’s messaging and can be an integral part of any event or company strategy.

1991 was a special year, as it proceeded the Olympic year of ’92 when both the summer and winter Games were held in Europe. Albertville ’92 really opened up sports marketing in France and helped brands to develop themselves as well around these major events. They realized they could learn from the already high standards being set by international brands and Olympic sponsors such as Coca-Cola, and they had great examples to aspire to. These major events also showed brands that they needed us- the agencies- to guide them, highlight opportunities, and show them the do’s and don’ts.

Really our business’ growth, particularly in France and Europe, has been anchored in major events- ’92 was the start, ’98 was the confirmation, then followed by the Track World Championships in 2003, and finally the Rugby World Cup in 2007.

Havas Sports & Entertainment (HS&E) has recently become a backer of the 2018 Annecy Winter Games bid. How will the company offer its expertise in assuring the bid has a real chance of success having been touted as an underdog in the running for some time now?

The agency has had a service contract with the Annecy bid since 11 December 2009, when it was chosen following an open, Europe wide tender. Since the change of management in early 2011, we were asked to get more involved both by working within a broader scope and by participating at the international level.

Havas Sports & Entertainment is currently committing all the necessary resources in France and internationally, through our network, to help bring the Annecy bid back as a real contender, fully prepared and reaching out to the right stakeholders and influencers. Our agency has long been recognized as a professional in the field, working for many years with various brands and institutions, and takes that same approach to the Annecy 2018 bid. On that note, I am thrilled about the recent announcement of the Ryder Cup 2018 coming to France, as we worked alongside the French Golf Federation for years preparing this bid.

What is the Annecy bid doing to ensure that it learns from the mistakes of the likes of the Paris 2012 Olympics bid, an effort which was also supported by yourselves?

We, as well as the country of France as a whole and the bidding entities behind the Annecy push have learned a great deal since the 2012 effort- the UK’s success and how they went about their campaign has helped us understand that a bid takes a real international effort. No nation has every expertise on its own, and France has come to realize they need to consider many different stakeholders and look outside their borders for support. The Annecy bid is listening to people, understanding what’s expected and working towards reaching their objectives in the right way. We are proud to be not only a supporter of this bid, but committed to making it as successful as possible through lending it our experience and expertise.

Toward the end of 2010 HS&E opened Sao Paulo office, expanding its reach with 25 offices in 20 countries. How important is it that HS&E ensures a leading presence in such emerging markets considering the major sporting events coming to Brazil in the coming years?

Brazil is a country with a strong history in sport and music, supported by a very passionate people. Our presence in this market is a key step for our global network to fully service our clients and help brands leverage their presence in a place where celebration will clearly become the heart of brand experience. It is clear that the Brazilian market is growing in every sense of the word. Major sporting events, concerts, festivals and international celebrations are coming to this country at an accelerated rate. Havas Sports & Entertainment is truly well positioned to continue delivering strong, creative ideas to brands and federations looking to stand out in Brazil, and connect with consumers around these big events.

The company’s offices are well represented in Europe and the Americas in particular, does the company hope to expand its reach in the likes of Africa and the Middle East in the future and if so, how far down the line?

As a part of the Havas Group, we benefit from a great reach in over 140 countries around the world. We have the support and insight of our brother and sister agencies no matter where we turn, and already look to work closely with them in the territories you mentioned. It’s clear that our specialist network still has some gaps to fill- as you mentioned, the Middle East is a key target for us, looking towards Qatar 2022, and more immediately as well to service clients in this region where sports business and entertainment is booming. We look to move into these markets within the coming years.

As for Africa, we also have a greater support through the Bolloré group, which has a strong footprint on the continent. Havas Sports & Entertainment is already present through our agency in Johannesburg, South Africa, which has quickly established itself, doing some great projects around the World Cup, cricket and tourism among others, and which we count on as well in reaching out to other English speaking African nations for collaborative efforts. Our French agency also works quite often with North Africa including Morocco, Egypt and Angola, and Gabon ahead of the African Cup of Nations in 2012.

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