NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Brands are constantly challenged to be at the pulse of what’s happening in the marketplace and are often caught on their heels trying to keep up. With digital allowing culture to move at the speed of light, big brands who move slowly get disrupted quickly by trends, influencers and artists who are at the forefront of trend and culture as opposed to responding to it. Havas has seen clearly the need for change, and has developed a new Millennial-led model which crushes the divide between brands and the emerging marketplace.
The Annex, with the tagline #NeverSleeps, is a cultural epicenter by design—a collective of leading creators who are curated and attracted by the Annex founders. The Annex acts as a heartbeat on trend and is a totally unique environment that puts Havas at the center of culture as it grows, acting as a voice for emerging markets. To be a part of it, advertising experience is not necessary, but relevance is. The Annex staff is a hand-selected group of some of the most influential creative voices in the U.S., with a collective of nearly 2M followers. Day to day, the Annex is a center for creators in art, music, video, fashion and social media. First and foremost, the Annex prioritizes not only being tapped into, but creating trend and culture firsthand in a completely organic way.
“In an industry that has been completely disrupted, we knew that we needed to come up with something brand new,” says Paul Marobella, Chairman and CEO of Havas Creative U.S. “The Annex is a response to a marketplace which demands to be engaged with differently and to brands constantly coming to us seeking insight into what is happening in the market. We knew that in order to be tapped into culture, we couldn’t fake it. We had to live immersed in it every day. The Annex acts as a living, breathing study in emerging markets and allows us and the brands that we work with to tap directly in these markets.”
The model has clearly struck a big cord, attracting some of the biggest brands in the world such as Coca-Cola and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. With its first location in Chicago, the Annex has expanded this year to New York, Atlanta and Singapore, with quick plans to expand to Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo.
Instagram influencer Jason Peterson is at the helm of how the Annex came to be. “I clearly saw a huge gap in the industry. The first campaign shot on the iPhone should have been a wake up call to agencies, but many weren’t listening. While other agencies observe emerging trend and culture and try to latch on, we knew we had to be creators of it. We hire through any emerging platform and get the voices of the moment inside our business, instead of standing outside trying to keep up. As we’ve seen many times, the cost of being tone-deaf is high. The pulse of the Annex tells us where to be and how to be there.”
The multiple locations of the Annex will have their own unique value. The acquisition of digital agency The 88 led to the creation of Annex88 in New York City, which has rising young talent in fashion, music and art. The Annex in Atlanta stems from the agency’s impactful social media work for Coca-Cola, where 45 employees currently reside full time in the brand’s headquarters. Opening in early 2018 is a Los Angeles location, which will serve as a hub for entertainment and music. With 70 percent of Singaporeans active on social media, Singapore will host the first international Annex, with award-winning creative personality Le Messie at the helm.
In each of these markets, the Annex will tailor to the needs of each region, attracting iconic leaders and the most relevant voices to each location, while maintaining the same core purpose. Locations will also serve as firsthand market research, offering an up-close look at how culture constantly evolves in each location, while having the ability to tap into a global network of creative voices.
About the Annex
Culture never sleeps. In order to be on the pulse of what’s happening, you have to be part of it and live it—every single day. That’s why we created the Annex. Launched in Chicago, the Annex is a cultural epicenter focused on emerging consumers, including Millennials and Centennials. The network of 200 people is comprised of creators, influencers and leaders who are not only fluent in contemporary conventions, but are also the architects and instigators of what’s cool and important. Visit us at annexneversleeps.com, or follow us on Twitter @The_Annex, Facebook and Instagram @The.Annex.