December 6, 2023

Avis Budget Group retains Havas Red and Havas Media Network

by Ellen Barnes in News

Originally published on

Avis Budget Group has retained Havas Media Network and Havas Red, following a competitive pitch, as it prepares for a 15% surge in growth as restrictions ease and higher numbers of international tourists return to Australia. 

Havas Media Network CEO Virginia Hyland told Mediaweek it was “a significant win” for both agencies, adding that Avis Budget is a top seven client for Havas in terms of billings and revenue. The agency has signed a three-year contract with the vehicle rental brand. 

The Avis account, which includes brands such as Avis, Budget and Apex, was up for grabs after the agency held it for five years. The pitch, which included media and PR, involved a mix of indie and global agencies. 

Hyland said Avis called the pitch in a bid to understand other market opportunities. “The client recognised having an integrated approach and being able to access specialists across all different agencies of the Village is critical to their success moving forward.”

To better service the account, Havas has bolstered its e-commerce capabilities and skills, paid media, and content engagement services, in addition to staff changes. 

“Some new faces and some old faces just to give it a real revamp as to how we transition into the future and support them much better.”

Next year is shaping into an interesting year in the vehicle rental industry in Australia, which has shrunk as a result of rising competition and the continuing impact of COVID-19, dropping 0.7% over the past five years, according to data from IBIS World. 

Avis, which competes with Thrifty, Hertz and German-owned Sixt, will be looking to capitalise on a predicted 15% growth surge next year as restrictions ease and the return of international tourists to Australia increases with the market expected to reach $1.5 billion next year.

Hyland said: “We’re looking very closely at what they’re doing and how we ensure that the experience the Avis brand is giving consumers right from the time they pick up their car, when they’re online, deciding which car to rent is really special. 

“I think the experiential part of working with Avis Budget will help elevate how they engage with audiences and consumers versus just running advertising campaigns,” she added.

Shane Russell, Havas Red CEO, also celebrated winning Avis Budget, noting that the brand is paving the next wave of innovation in the travel and transportation spaces.

He said: “With that comes a tremendous opportunity for our team to craft evolving narratives and connect each brand to customers and partners through earned media activities.”

Hyland said that the industry can expect to see Havas take on the economic challenges ahead.

“We love to challenge the market, and we’ve invested heavily in tools and data from a global perspective in the past year. We’ve also invested in our team and talent; we’ve got some of the best team members now working at us.

“Havas always acquires agencies that have been indies previously, so we’re very much entrepreneurial at our heart, giving us the freedom to be more creative.”

For Hyland, she revealed that she has been given a green light to begin acquiring other businesses in the Australian market to fuel Havas’ growth further.

“It’s exciting for us that we’re on the acquisition trail,” she said.

Although Hyland kept mum on 2024 acquisition plans, she highlighted her journey as a blueprint for the future.

“Some indies out there have seen what I’ve done and how I’ve moved into Havas, and I feel very comfortable trusting that it’s a great environment to foster that entrepreneurial spirit. But being backed by and supported by the investment from globals, particularly with tools, technology, and data, costs so much more than ever.”