Inside: Havas Village Portugal

There’s no doubt. Havas Village Portugal has curb appeal. The team in capital city Lisbon recently put the finishing touches on a months-long renovation. And Village Portugal is home to five agencies—Havas, Havas Design+, Fuel, Arena, and Havas Media. In fact, it’s now a site that draws the attention of tourists and locals as a must-see attraction.

Take the tour.

How would you describe your culture?

The Village model is all about collaboration, which means that the Portuguese creative and media agencies share the same space, always raising the bar on creativity, strategy, and effectiveness. It’s a mix of talent, collaboration, and hard work. This model makes it exciting to continuously push each other to be the best in our market.

What makes your space a great place to work?

It’s all about the people and the place. Having everyone gathered under the same roof allows us to learn and excel together. It opens the doors to endless possibilities and meaningful connections, increasing Villagers’ engagement and empowerment. These are all key points that make our Village a great place to work.

To top it off, our Village is right in the center of Lisbon, so everyone feels like they are steps away from transportation, clients, restaurants, and several city landmarks.

Havas Portugal Talk

What are the biggest changes that you’ve seen in your Village in recent years?

Closeness. That’s the change everyone can feel immediately in the Village. The creative and media business used to be in different parts of the city. Now they’re just floors away from each other. With this physical closeness comes greater integration, and collaboration to come up with better-unified campaigns.

How does the city that you work in effect the culture of your Village?

Year after year, Lisbon has been listed as one of the trendiest cities in the world. It’s always a pleasure to live here. The Village is in the heart of the city, situated along the iconic Avenida da Liberdade, the main boulevard that runs through the city. Its shops, sights, restaurants draw a vibrant crowd that has a positive effect on the energy of Havas Villagers in Portugal. It’s the best place in the best city.

Funny story: Since there are a lot of tourists walking down our street every day, some are mesmerized by the entrance and enter the building thinking our Village is a must-see landmark.

Havas Portugal Outside

How does the actual physical environment contribute to the morale and mood of Villagers?

Greater proximity between agencies was essential to bringing people together, not only to improve the campaigns’ end results but, more importantly, to create a good vibe between everyone working. When we add the Village’s central location into the equation, the physical environment assumes a great importance as a morale and mood booster for the Havas Villagers.

Where does everyone like to gather?

Definitely, the Havas Café. It’s not only the best place to watch the river and the castle, but it’s also where creatives, designers, planners, programmers, and everyone else can get together and exchange experiences. The Village lobby is also a good place to hang out, having three architectural structures, called follies, where people can join and meet. And there’s always a park in front of the building where people like to hang out and enjoy the street vibe.

Follies Havas Portugal

Tell us about something that likely can’t be found at any other Havas Village?

Besides the central location, I would say the three follies in the lobby of the Village. They are special architectural structures in which is nice to sit in for having a chat with colleagues, while also being quite eye-catching and quirky. And, we don’t have one—we have two. One in the Havas Café and another on the 8th floor, next to the meeting rooms.

What’s some of the recent work that your team is talking about most?

Some of the recent work that we’re most is for Amnesty International and a spot called, “Restart Your Speech,” which speaks out against hate speech. Some of the other work include Animalife which calls attention to the struggles of the homeless. Also a campaign for the Associação de Mulheres Contra a Violência (AMCV), which tackles ongoing violence against women.

All of them were shortlisted at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

What specific steps is your team taking to advance the Together ethos at Havas?

All the teams are taking significant steps to promote the Together ethos as an essential differentiator from other agencies in our market. The integration between creativity, media, and innovation is something that our Villagers defend and promote each day with colleagues and clients. No matter how different we are as individuals—from a planner who studied sociology to a creative with a background in physics—the Together ethos reminds us that we are all part of one big team. A highly creative, innovative, and smart team.

What might people be surprised to know about the culture in your Village?

Even though our Village is only one year old, media, creative, digital, and design departments have always worked closely together. They kept the dialogue open even when they were physically apart. The new physical environment and Village culture made it possible to amplify the already-existing connections. Another surprising fact is that we have the two leading Portuguese creative agencies located in the same place—which raises the bar on a daily basis.

What unique steps are you implementing to promote collaboration?

Villagers realize the benefit of seeing the whole picture, meaning that our work should be connected to our people. We have already been connected for years. The difference now is that we can personally talk with everyone in a matter of seconds. Why dial a number or send an email if we can discuss a campaign while having a coffee in the Havas Café? In order to promote collaboration and a sense of belonging, we launched Havas Happy Hour. Once a week, there’s an event with free beer and snacks at the Havas Café, which brings everyone together to have a chat and enjoy the sunset.

What do you wish that you could have in your space that you feel is missing?

Since we work in one collaborative space, it’s still common to meet new people each day. We have the perfect physical environment for achieving the Together vision. We want to implement even more team-building initiatives between all the agencies. This would help reinforce that idea that Villagers make the Village, not a building.