Inside: Havas Village Phnom Penh

Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” Cambodia’s capital city is home to Havas Village Phnom Penh. This 15th-century city is laden with French architecture from its colonial days and is teeming with more than 1.5 million people who live and work at the center of Cambodia’s economic, political, and cultural scenes. Here, a sense of community is embedded in society. In fact much of the team at Havas Village Phnom Penh are from Southeast Asia, so, naturally, that sense of camaraderie and desire to make an impact in the community is infused into the work culture—and even reverberates outside the Havas Village walls. Bright in color and warm in nature, this Village is truly reflective of its surrounding metropolis. Take the tour.
Phnom Penh group shot
The Mag: What does being a Village mean to you?

Phnom Penh: Being a Village—a Havas Village—is something of which we are incredibly proud. We only joined the Havas family a year ago, and we were attracted to Havas most of all because of the way the company works. A year ago it was a dream—now it’s a reality.

Phnom Pehn awards How has the collaborative nature of your Village influenced your city and community?

Villages are where most of us in Indochina come from—quite literally. And the village way in Cambodian society—of sharing resource, caring for the needy, looking after parents, celebrating festivals together—is one which makes up our own DNA. For us collaboration is not the best way we know. Truthfully, it’s the only way we know.

Also, Phnom Penh’s population is young, optimistic and hungry to learn. That’s how we like to be.

Phnom Pehn localsPhnom Pehn villager
So how do people in the Village collaborate across teams and projects?

We have a single client facing servicing structure representing creative, activation, media, digital, PR, and research. And behind that we have one P&L— it’s an administrative detail, but it really makes a difference.


What, specifically, makes your Village a great place to work?

The people. You may have heard it before but it’s true. The people working together, instead of apart or against each other, that’s crucial. And people playing together, not just working together. One our company trips, for example, is a create way to collaborate outside of our Village.

And just as important, people contributing to the community together makes this a great place to work. For example, taking our time or putting our resources—together—for a needy school for orphans, which we are proud to support.

Phnom Pehn more villagers

What’s the place that people like to come together?

Our bar—in the creative department of course. This is also where we formally declared our office to be a Havas Village.

Our rooftop restaurant—a favourite for lunch, as well as a great place to conduct market research in central location tests. They say an army marches on its stomach, and when it comes to any team in Cambodia, nothing could be truer.Phnom Pehn group pic

Phnom Pehn

Tell us about some of the most recent work that’s creating a buzz right now?

We recently ran a social media campaign for Caltex. It generated about three million views on Facebook, YouTube and other social platforms—that’s about half the people in Cambodia who have Internet access. With more than a million views in just the first 16 hours, it broke all records. The idea is simple: People pull into a Caltex station to fill their tanks, and the person who serves them is one of the country’s best known celebrities. Hidden cameras record what follows. Let’s just say it’s pretty interesting.

We also created a talent show for Fanta—yes a talent show, where we searched for music bands across Phnom Penh to feature in the Fanta music video contest. We got more than 300 aspiring musical groups to register online and in person. We then auditioned each and every one of the 300 plus groups and selected 20 to go through to the next round. We got them to record a two-minute song and video, and then we posted these on Facebook. Teens in Cambodia voted, shared and liked. The top four were chosen, and we produced a two-hour live talent show on primetime television with MYTV. The eventual winner starred in their own Fanta music video. Lots of Fanta was sold, consumed and liked (Cambodian Idol eat your heart out.)Phnom Penh peace signs