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Agency Life

Creative Culturalist

Creative Culturalist

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

December 3, 2019

How did BETC become an international powerhouse? “We believe in the power of creativity. It has the power to transform brands, cities, and society,” says agency head Bertille Toledano.

"What makes BETC different is its creative culture."

From Disneyland to Lego to Lacoste to Pornhub, it’s been an incredibly productive year for BETC Paris, which was capped of this week with the French creative powerhouse being named Adweek’s “International Agency of the Year.” 

Bertille Toledano, who serves as co-president of BETC France and has been with the agency for nearly 10 years, shares how creativity powers the agency’s culture and why she sees the agency’s headquarters as integral to its current transformation.  

 

Congratulations on being named Adweek’s International Agency of the Year. That’s quite an honor—though over the years BETC has distinguished itself as a creative hot shop. So, what makes BETC, well, BETC?

What makes BETC different is its creative culture. Creativity is everywhere—in strategy, the ideas developed, the creative products, of course, and also in production, video, print, sound and our level of commitment. We believe in the power of creativity. It has the power to transform brands, cities, and society. 

You join last year’s winners Rosapark, a French agency that is part of the Havas Group, and BETC Group networks. What is in the water in France that brings out so much creativity?

Rosapark is our cousin agency and is part of the BETC Group. I believe that creativity is a type of culture­—the more talents you bring together, the more individuals share this culture and the more it grows; it becomes powerful and bold. France has a special relationship with culture—it is extremely vibrant and diverse, we are sustained by it, we forge links between business and culture. 

You joined BETC in 2012, how has it changed over the years?

Our industry is undergoing a serious transformation. Digitalization is impacting our industry— the data, of course, but also production, the number of objects we produce, and the experiences we produce. This technological revolution has forced us to rethink our organization and to work differently. At the same time, this agency has also experienced an acceleration in its internationalization. Thanks to our clients and talents, BETC is today an international creative powerhouse spread across London, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai, and run out of our landmark headquarters in Greater Paris.

"We believe in the power of culture and creativity as a positive means of change."

You played a key role in the transformation and development of the agency during the move from Paris to its current headquarters in Pantin in 2016. What was that experience like?

We have more room to move! 

We chose Greater Paris for a reason. Now, we are all together and as a result, we are much more aware of being a large, dynamic group. It is crazy, the change has accelerated our mutation. It’s not just a move, it’s a mutation; a transformation. 

Can you tell us about the BETC office and how it embodies the agency’s mission?

We believe in the power of culture and creativity as a positive means of change. Our offices are built on an open hot-desking principle, they are accessible, and the ground floor is open to the public. They are designed for collaboration and serendipity. We have an entire floor dedicated to production. 

You recently were named president of BETC France. What are your goals for the new role and how do you plan to achieve them?

I still have the same ambition for BETC: to make it a world-class agency. Our clients are less and less willing to pay for the services of a network. They are looking for strong, powerful agencies capable of supporting them in their international development, wherever they are located. We want to be one of the few agencies to which the major brands entrust their creation and the deployment of their customer experience. 

How did you get your start in advertising and what drew you to this career?

I started in the European Parliament. I was a converted European! But I was disappointed by the way Parliament worked. 

I was told about a trade that came from England called “strategic planning.” It was about understanding people’s aspirations, identifying new trends, and listening to signs in order to better create meaning for the brands and institutions we support. This obsession with meaning and people has always guided what I do. 

What has been your favorite campaign to work on?

I am very lucky as I am still working on campaigns that I love for some of the brands I support. This has happened a few years in a row with Lacoste, so it’s safe to say I have a small crocodile inside.

"What makes BETC different is its creative culture."

From Disneyland to Lego to Lacoste to Pornhub, it’s been an incredibly productive year for BETC Paris, which was capped of this week with the French creative powerhouse being named Adweek’s “International Agency of the Year.” 

Bertille Toledano, who serves as co-president of BETC France and has been with the agency for nearly 10 years, shares how creativity powers the agency’s culture and why she sees the agency’s headquarters as integral to its current transformation.  

 

Congratulations on being named Adweek’s International Agency of the Year. That’s quite an honor—though over the years BETC has distinguished itself as a creative hot shop. So, what makes BETC, well, BETC?

What makes BETC different is its creative culture. Creativity is everywhere—in strategy, the ideas developed, the creative products, of course, and also in production, video, print, sound and our level of commitment. We believe in the power of creativity. It has the power to transform brands, cities, and society. 

You join last year’s winners Rosapark, a French agency that is part of the Havas Group, and BETC Group networks. What is in the water in France that brings out so much creativity?

Rosapark is our cousin agency and is part of the BETC Group. I believe that creativity is a type of culture­—the more talents you bring together, the more individuals share this culture and the more it grows; it becomes powerful and bold. France has a special relationship with culture—it is extremely vibrant and diverse, we are sustained by it, we forge links between business and culture. 

You joined BETC in 2012, how has it changed over the years?

Our industry is undergoing a serious transformation. Digitalization is impacting our industry— the data, of course, but also production, the number of objects we produce, and the experiences we produce. This technological revolution has forced us to rethink our organization and to work differently. At the same time, this agency has also experienced an acceleration in its internationalization. Thanks to our clients and talents, BETC is today an international creative powerhouse spread across London, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai, and run out of our landmark headquarters in Greater Paris.

"We believe in the power of culture and creativity as a positive means of change."

You played a key role in the transformation and development of the agency during the move from Paris to its current headquarters in Pantin in 2016. What was that experience like?

We have more room to move! 

We chose Greater Paris for a reason. Now, we are all together and as a result, we are much more aware of being a large, dynamic group. It is crazy, the change has accelerated our mutation. It’s not just a move, it’s a mutation; a transformation. 

Can you tell us about the BETC office and how it embodies the agency’s mission?

We believe in the power of culture and creativity as a positive means of change. Our offices are built on an open hot-desking principle, they are accessible, and the ground floor is open to the public. They are designed for collaboration and serendipity. We have an entire floor dedicated to production. 

You recently were named president of BETC France. What are your goals for the new role and how do you plan to achieve them?

I still have the same ambition for BETC: to make it a world-class agency. Our clients are less and less willing to pay for the services of a network. They are looking for strong, powerful agencies capable of supporting them in their international development, wherever they are located. We want to be one of the few agencies to which the major brands entrust their creation and the deployment of their customer experience. 

How did you get your start in advertising and what drew you to this career?

I started in the European Parliament. I was a converted European! But I was disappointed by the way Parliament worked. 

I was told about a trade that came from England called “strategic planning.” It was about understanding people’s aspirations, identifying new trends, and listening to signs in order to better create meaning for the brands and institutions we support. This obsession with meaning and people has always guided what I do. 

What has been your favorite campaign to work on?

I am very lucky as I am still working on campaigns that I love for some of the brands I support. This has happened a few years in a row with Lacoste, so it’s safe to say I have a small crocodile inside.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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