In the financial year 2021/2022, Europe's largest owner-managed agency group achieved a fee turnover of 623 million euros.
Munich, 28 July 2022 — In the financial year (2021/2022) ending June 2022, Serviceplan Group, Europe's largest owner-managed agency group, achieved a fee turnover of 623 million euros – representing an increase of 28% from the previous year’s 488 million euros. Therefore, it is by far the best result recorded since the company was founded in 1970.
Florian Haller, CEO Serviceplan Group, comments: "Even in a market that is characterized by uncertainty, volatility, and a shortage of skilled professionals, our 'House of Communication' concept has overwhelmingly proved its unique operational and creative potential. As a result, we are able to attract the sector’s most sought-after talent for our team."
Florian Haller emphasized that this result was only possible because the Group's ‘House of Communication’ culture has been just as successful in competing for the best talent as it has in keeping and gaining relevant clients. The Serviceplan Group defies the shortage of specialists in the agency sector, and currently employs more than 5,000 colleagues across 16 locations worldwide. These figures are also a good 13 per cent increase compared to the previous financial year.
Florian Haller: "The past financial year has also been the 'Year of Talent'. From a strong position, we have managed to offer in-house professional development to the senior management, while at the same time injecting some dynamism into key strategic job roles."
Serviceplan Group has reported notable new additions in nearly every area in the past twelve months: Jerry Buhlman, an agency executive with experience all over the world, is a new member of the Supervisory Board; Christian Schmitz, former management member of Accenture, is in charge of Plan.Net International; Birgit Baier, an executive with international experience, is taking over the management of Plan.Net Berlin; in the Strategy Division, Stefanie Kuhnhen is giving fresh impetus agency-wide; top agency manager, Stefan Schütte, is taking over the management of Saint Elmo’s Group; Karin Maria Schertler, an experienced Serviceplan Manager, is the new Chief People Officer, and within the Mediaplus Group, Andrea Koch has been promoted to the role of Managing Director at Mediaplus Hamburg.
Till Diestel, most recently Creative Director of BBDO, returns as Chief Creative Officer of Serviceplan Germany. Furthermore, in Maximilian Schöngen, the Mediaplus Group has its own global Creative Director for the first time.
Florian Haller comments: "In being able to attract or further develop many talented people for our team with expertise in different disciplines, we have established a decisive success factor for further growth. I look forward to developing the 'House of Communication’ concept further as a team.”
Grand Prix marks the most successful creative year in Serviceplan's history
From a creative perspective, the financial year 2021/22 has been the most successful since Serviceplan was founded in 1970. Serviceplan Group was named ‘Independent Network of the Year’ and Serviceplan Germany named ’Craft Agency of the Year’ at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022.
And at New York Festival Serviceplan Germany won a triple whammy of accolades, being named Independent Agency of the Year, Agency of the Year & Regional Agency of the Year for Europe.
The group currently leads both the Horizont and W&V creative rankings in Germany and is celebrating a historic success with a Grand Prix (PENNY, ‘The Wish’), and one Titanium (Dot Inc., Dot Pad), four gold, three silver, and three bronze Lions.
For Alexander Schill, Global CCO of Serviceplan Group, however, one award is particularly indicative of the Group’s strong development: "Being named Independent Network of the Year in Cannes is of immense significance to us. It is an expression of everything that is important to us and what makes us who we are: independence, internationality, and an uncompromisingly creative approach to every single task. This prize from the most important festival of creativity in the world is the crowning moment for the work of all our colleagues, and will bring us long-term international visibility.”
Additionally, other divisions of the Group have shone in major awards and rankings:
For the third successive year, the Mediaplus Group was named Media Agency of the Year at the W&V German Media Award (‘Deutscher Mediapreis’). With 52 trophies to its name, Mediaplus once more defended the top spot as the most successful agency in the history of German Media Award In the current ‘RECMA Qualipack Report’, with the maximum rating of ‘Dominant’ and ‘A’, Mediaplus not only ranks first among German agencies, but also sits at the top of the international quality rankings for the 75 most important independents.
In the current BVDW Internet Agency Ranking, the Plan.Net Group occupies second place, thanks to a considerable jump in turnover. According to a study by the market research company Lünendonk, the group also ranks among the leading digital experience service providers. In the BVDW sub-ranking ‘Digital Transformation and Strategy’, Plan.Net has likewise moved up three places from the previous year, and now ranks among the top three. Together with the Serviceplan agencies, the Plan.Net Group has once again been selected as the most creative digital agency.
In focus: Customized solutions and integration
Creative & Content, Experience & Commerce, and Media & Data – these modules are designed as an integral part of the Houses of Communication. They are implemented individually and in an agile manner, in accordance with client requirements. During the past financial year, the customised agency concepts of ‘Serviceplan Bubble’ (O2 Telefónica), ‘The Marcom Engine’ (BMW) and ‘Serviceplan Docks’ (Tchibo) have continued to be established and provide remarkable proof of the Serviceplan Group’s innovative strength as an integrated communication services provider.
Florian Haller is convinced that customised agency concepts will determine the future relationship between the agency and its clients:
“Our clients have to survive in ever more complex markets. As their agency partner, we must be the 'facilitator' and create a tailor-made but scalable customised solution for every client, not only designed for the client’s requirements and targets, but also for the volatility and uncertainty of the markets. In the coming financial year, we will refine our Group's pioneering range of services.”
Consistent internationalisation in uncertain times
With a fee turnover of 148 million euros and 22 per cent growth, Serviceplan International makes a considerable contribution to the overall success of the Group. In this area, the Mediaplus Group has provided strong impetus for growth. In addition to the new set up of Mediaplus US, the Group have laid the foundations for sustainable growth in Scandinavia with the opening of the new Stockholm office. The launch of Mediaplus Realtime has given a further push in the direction of internationalisation. With this integrated, data-centred consultancy, knowledge, and realisation hub, the agency group brings together all resources worldwide for globally scalable campaign planning and execution in real-time. In addition, with Medianest, Mediaplus has established a nearshore hub, operating out of Warsaw and taking care of cross-market search, performance, and social operations. Even in times of war in Ukraine, the ongoing pandemic situation, and uncertainty in world politics, the desire is to hold fast to the internationalisation strategy in the major core markets in the future.
Serviceplan Group CEO Florian Haller says: "This is not the end of globalisation; it is merely being modified and driven ever more powerfully by digitalisation. Therefore, we adhere consistently, but flexibly, to our strategy of maintaining our presence in all key markets worldwide. As the agency partner alongside our clients, we see our core tasks for the future as reducing complexity, and setting standards in the metaverse and in real-time. In so doing, we will ensure that our unique Serviceplan culture can be experienced by the next generation of communications talent. We have taken a significant step with our new House of Communications in the Munich Werksviertel. Here we are giving a very clear picture of what the future of integrated agency work looks like."
Creative & Content
The Serviceplan agencies have plenty to celebrate: in terms of creative work, the financial year 2021/2022 has been the most successful to date.
Serviceplan has won many major awards and currently leads both the Horizont and W&V half-yearly creativity rankings in Germany by a wide margin. At Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022, the Serviceplan Group also experienced the most successful year in its history, winning one Grand Prix, and one titanium, four gold, three silver, and three bronze Lions, as well as the title of ‘Independent Network of the Year’ across the entire network. In addition, Serviceplan Germany was awarded the title ‘Craft Agency of the Year’ and took second place as ‘Independent Agency of the Year’.
Moreover, Serviceplan swept the board at the New York Festival with a triumvirate of awards; Serviceplan Germany was named ‘Agency of the Year’, ‘Independent Agency of the Year’, and ‘Regional Agency of the Year Europe’. As well as the three special industry NYF awards, Serviceplan won three Grand Prix, ten gold, twelve silver, and eight bronze awards.
At ADC Germany, Serviceplan Group was the most successful agency group, winning two Grand Prix, twelve gold, fifteen silver, and seventeen bronze awards, as well as one gold, two silver, and one bronze commendation at the Young Talents Awards. Meanwhile, at the ANDY Awards, Serviceplan won more awards than any other owner-managed agency.
Serviceplan Campaign's PENNY Christmas film, ‘Der Wunsch’ (‘The Wish’) has been the star award-winner overall. As well as more than 17 million views on YouTube and overwhelming acclaim in the media, it has picked up over 70 awards, including a Grand Prix, three gold, and one silver Lion at Cannes Lions, and a Grand Prix at ADC.
Also singled out for major awards were the Dot Pad and Dot Go projects, designed in cooperation with Dot Inc. and Serviceplan Innovation to advocate for greater inclusion of the blind and visually impaired communities. ‘Dot Pad’ won one titanium and one bronze Lion in Cannes, whereas ‘Dot Go’ was awarded silver at Cannes Lions, won a Grand Prix and one silver award at Eurobest, and received a gold and three silver at the Epica awards.
AROYA’s ‘Freedom Grams’, a cannabis brand, with its eye-catching design and an attention-grabbing open source strategy, supports the release of those imprisoned for cannabis offences, winning a bronze Lion in Cannes.
The Serviceplan agencies were also successful at Comprix, the most prestigious award event for healthcare communication. Four awards went to campaigns by Serviceplan Health & Life, and Serviceplan Berlin's music project, ‘The Dark Side of Sugar’ won three awards. Aside from top positions in the creativity rankings, Serviceplan’s special agencies also enjoyed major success in other rankings, with the Serviceplan Content Group reaching third place in this year's Pfeffer Ranking, and Serviceplan Campaign in Nuremberg winning silver for the Employer Branding category at the German Marketing Association's BoB Awards for ‘Good question. Good answer!’, produced for DATEV.
New customer acquisition and successful projects for existing customers have seen a rise in fee revenue
This year’s standout creative success is reflected in the financial figures. Over the past financial year, Serviceplan agencies (including Serviceplan Solutions) have earned a fee volume of 124 million Euro, thereby achieving an increase of almost 28 per cent.
The secret of this success is rooted in winning major new client accounts, in combination with successful projects for existing clients. Integrated projects within Serviceplan Group with Serviceplan agencies in the lead have been completed, such as a comprehensive new campaign to secure the market position of new client Caparol.
The team from Serviceplan Cologne were able to win mandates from DASH, Galeria and DKMS, amongst others. For DASH, the agency implemented a marketing campaign which was awarded with an award by “Clio Health". Moreover, Serviceplan Campaign in Munich worked for DB Regio, Serviceplan Berlin now supports the international site promotion for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Serviceplan Health became the new global lead agency for Weleda.
Since 2014, Serviceplan Campaign in Munich has provided communications support to WMF, a company with a long tradition, and in 2021, once more defended the account as international lead agency for brand communication. The team convinced WMF with a rebranding concept which was rolled out throughout Germany as part of the new brand positioning in autumn 2021.
In addition the Kiezmusical, staged for the BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe – Berlin transport services) by Serviceplan Campaign Berlin, and the campaigns by Serviceplan Bubble, a fully integrated agency model for O2 Telefónica, were definite sensations. ‘The Visible Net’ represented a stunning visualization of O₂'s 5G network, and ‘Jedes-Zuhause’ (‘Every Home’) was created for O2's Internet@Home fixed line range, bringing together a cross-section of German homes in a spectacular building. ‘Jedes-Zuhause’ was also shown in Minecraft live on Twitch.
On 22 February 2022, Serviceplan Campaign in Munich transformed the PENNY market in the Berlin district of Wedding into a Las Vegas-style wedding chapel, and staged express weddings as the ultimate discount store product.
Newly launched agencies and top hires show that Serviceplan is in excellent shape for the future
In late 2021, Serviceplan and the Centricity Group entered into a strategic collaboration to pool their skills. Under the name Serviceplan Activation the new unit offers a fully integrated range across all channels in the trade marketing and shopper activation sector. The Serviceplan Consulting Group has positioned itself anew. In the new four-person leadership team structure, headed by Stefanie Kuhnhen, the unit offers integral consulting services and new service ranges in the areas of employer branding, eco-innovation, and sustainability.
The Serviceplan agencies holding led by Spokesperson and Managing Partner Vincent Schmidlin, and CFO Holger Scharnofske, was further strengthened by the appointment of Stefanie Kuhnhen as Chief Strategic Officer Germany, and Managing Partner of the Serviceplan Consulting Group.
Till Diestel has been appointed as the new CCO Germany, replacing Matthias Harbeck, who moved to the Saint Elmo Group as CCO.
Andy Wyeth and Heiner Twenhävel took up their posts as new Creative Managing Directors on 1st July 2022 at Serviceplan Cologne and Serviceplan Campaign in Munich respectively.
Jakob Eckstein and Patrick Hammer have been appointed as the management duo for Serviceplan Hamburg, with Patrick Hammer starting on 1st August 2022.
Media & Data
With a fee turnover of 179 million Euros and an increase of 26 per cent, the Mediaplus Group is growing in tandem with its wide-ranging spheres of responsibility. In order to meet the ever-increasing challenges of the coming years in the areas of internationalisation, data, integration and research, the Mediaplus Group has adopted a new and powerful structure.
The Mediaplus Board, appointed in January, takes care of central strategy and the guiding decisions of the entire agency group. The Board is made up of Esther Busch, Barbara Evans, Oliver Hey, Andrea Malgara, Julian Simons and Dominik Terruhn. The overall head of the Mediaplus Group is CEO Matthias Brüll. There have also been some staffing changes at Mediaplus Hamburg. Here, Andrea Koch took over the helm in April as the new Managing Director. Elke Reibetanz, a Managing Partner at Mediaplus Berlin, was also promoted to the management at House of Communication Berlin.
International expansion is right at the top of the agenda. With its new dual leadership Mediaplus is accelerating in the North American market. Since January, CCO Tamara Alesi and CSO Jasmine Presson from Mediaplus New York have been driving further expansion and development of the agency’s activities in the USA and Canada. A strategic alliance with the US Stagwell Agency Group has given this added impetus. The focal point of their cooperation is reciprocal support in the design, planning, and implementation of media strategies for global accounts. Both independent holdings wish to jointly open up the markets in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, and to expand their activities.
Likewise, in Scandinavia, the Mediaplus Group has embarked on the next stage of its international expansion with Mediaplus Nordics. The CEO of the newly established Stockholm site is Eva Bodecker Thunborg. As well as Sweden, the new Nordics CEO is responsible for Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Additionally, there is also news from Switzerland: the merger of Mediakanzlei and Mediaplus has launched a creative, data-centred media range using local expertise, under the name of Mediaplus Suisse.
The challenges of integrated, cross-border, seamless campaign supervision are increasing. The Mediaplus Group brings together under one roof more than 300 tools and technologies related to insights, strategy, planning, and implementation. In order for these and the departments and teams involved to dovetail perfectly, the agency group has set up Mediaplus Realtime. In this integrated, data-centred consulting, knowledge, and realisation hub of the Mediaplus Group, the agency brings together all resources worldwide for globally scalable campaign planning and execution in real time. Additionally, through Medianest, Mediaplus has established a nearshore hub that operates out of Warsaw, taking care of cross-market search, performance, and social operations.
These resources are decisive, for example facilitating the supervision of BMW Group’s digital mandate in Europe, won by Mediaplus to cover 23 countries.
And by implementing the international De’Longhi campaign across 30 countries, Mediaplus has created another major global footprint. The international account of the Italian automatic coffee machine supplier has been with Mediaplus since early 2020.
In addition to the Asia-Pacific Region, Mediaplus also won the pitch for North America last year. Other major international client accounts include; Lenovo, Eckes-Granini, Dr. Hauschka, Triumph/Sloggi, Hansgrohe, Crypto.com and Lynx.
Similarly, there has been movement on the national market. In autumn 2021 Mediaplus secured one of the most sought-after accounts in the market: the media account of the German Federal Government.
Further new business came from Motatos, Caparol, DKMS, and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Major accounts were successfully defended including; Carglass, Deichmann, and Rügenwalder Mühle.
These successes were also reflected in the rankings, with Mediaplus achieving ‘Dominant’ and ‘A’, the highest ratings, which means Mediaplus ranks top of the RECMA Qualipack Report Germany. The "Qualipack Report" assesses agencies not only according to the amount of billings managed, but above all according to qualitative aspects such as pitch activities, qualification of the employees as well as the positioning and resources of the agency and the type of clients. With a score of 28, having increased once more by 2 points from the previous year, Mediaplus leads the quality rankings of all media agencies, occupying first place in the international quality rankings of 75 independents investigated by RECMA.
For the third successive year, Mediaplus has also been named, ‘Media Agency of the Year’ for the German Media Award (Deutscher Mediapreis). According to the jury, the company's economic strategy coupled with criteria such as innovative strength, employer branding, staff development and further qualitative development, were taken into account. With 52 trophies and four additional prizes this year alone for the best media idea, Mediaplus once more defends the top position as the most successful agency in the history of the German Media Award.
Furthermore, the company was showered with medals at the Festival of Media Global, winning two gold, two silver, and one bronze award.
Moreover, two gold medals and three silver medals were awarded to Mediaplus by the "Internationalist Awards for Innovation in Media". The 2022 awards season was crowned by a bronze Lion for Media at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, jointly secured by Mediaplus and Serviceplan.
Media and creation are inextricably linked at the House of Communication: this was emphasised by Mediaplus with the appointment of Maximilian Schöngen as Global Creative Lead. The task of the new Global Creative Lead within Mediaplus will be to supervise global pitches and campaigns in creative and strategic ways, and to elevate the media to a new level of innovation.
Experience and Commerce
As one of the leading digital service providers in the experience and commerce sectors, the Plan.Net Group is ending the financial year successfully, with a fee volume of more than 151 million Euros. This considerable jump in turnover pushes the group into second place in the current BVDW Internet Agency Ranking.
Plan.Net Group has recorded strong growth in turnover, especially in the areas of commerce, transformation consultancy, and strategy. With its e-commerce subsidiary – hmmh – the Plan.Net Group is offering exactly the right range of services to benefit from the growth in the e-commerce market affected by the pandemic. The Plan.Net Group has brought together the whole commerce range, from Amazon marketing to social selling, under one roof in its ‘House of Commerce’.
Additionally, with The Marcom Engine for BMW, competences in transformation consultancy and strategy have been further expanded. Furthermore, these competences have been extended and strengthened by shareholdings in the consultancy firms, Future Marketing and thaltegos.
This has enabled the Plan.Net Group to climb three places to 3rd position in the BVDW sub-ranking for Digital Transformation and Strategy, up from its ranking last year. Moreover, according to the market research company, Lünendonk, this broadly compiled portfolio positions the group among the leading service providers in digital experience services. The real time orchestration of customer journeys is central to the range. The aim is to make the entire customer experience coherent and relevant across all touch points.
Aside from the above, together with the Serviceplan agencies, the Plan.Net Group has once more been selected as the most creative digital agency in the current BVDW creativity ranking.
Plan.Net Group is looking back on a successful financial year in terms of winning new clients. Account wins during the last fiscal year include: DFB GmbH & Co. KG, Holy Fashion Group (both hmmh); Varta (Plan.Net NEO); Wagener Verpackung GmbH (Plan.Net Cologne, Plan.Net Performance, and hmmh); as well as the Otto Group (Future Marketing).
Milestones have similarly been reached in internationalisation, not least through the creation and expansion of capacities as part of The Marcom Engine for BMW. In parallel, nearshore and offshore activities have been considerably expanded. Since October 2021, as Head of Plan.Net International, Christian Schmitz has been in charge of the Plan.Net Group's internationalisation strategy.
Awards & Rankings
In terms of awards, the past financial year has been the most successful in the history of Serviceplan Group, which was founded in 1970. The Serviceplan Group won several distinctions as ‘Independent Agency of the Year’ and topped the rankings in the most diverse range of communication disciplines: creativity (‘Independent Network of the Year’ at Cannes Lions, as well as 1st place in ADC Germany); craft (‘Craft Agency of the Year’ at Cannes Lions), digital (1st place in the BVDW-Kreativranking); design (1st place in the PAGE Top-50 Ranking for the most creative German agencies and design studios); media (‘Media Agency of the Year’ at the German Media Awards); health care (1st place at Comprix); and PR (3rd place in the PR-Journal's Pfeffer Ranking).
Serviceplan Middle East deserves special mention, as the Dubai-based agency received its first award as ‘Independent Agency of the Year’ at Dubai Lynx, the leading festival of creativity in the MENA region.
Please find below a selection of the awards and results in the rankings.
Under their new CEO, Stefan Schütte, the Saint Elmo´s Group ended the financial year 2021/2022 successfully with a fee turnover of 18 million Euros. Schütte takes over the management from Thomas Knauer, who was previously Managing Director and Spokesperson for Saint Elmo’s Holding.
Schütte comes from the Serviceplan Group, where he was most recently CEO of the House of Communication New York, in charge of the market launch, construction, and integration of new offices into the Group.
Initial successes since joining Saint Elmo’s include winning international accounts for the brand communication of Duravit and the electric car manufacturer, e.GO. In the first year as a lead agency under his management, Saint Elmo’s has already implemented three cross-media creative campaigns for Duravit. For e.GO, the agency supported the international market launch of the new German electric vehicle, e.wave X with a large scale, integrated launch campaign, a world premier event with brand ambassador, Neymar Jr., and an e.GO brand and experience store in Berlin.
In Christoph Kahlert, Saint Elmo’s Munich also gains a new partner and business management consultant. The expert in corporate marketing and business communication manages the agency alongside its Creative Director, Arwed Berendts, and is expanding the Corporate Communications and Business Communication Division. Furthermore, he is in charge of business development in the Saint Elmo’s Group.
With the establishment of Saint Elmo’s Brandspace, Arnd Feuerbaum and Dennis Pfisterer – who have been partners and Managing Directors for many years at Saint Elmo’s – are expanding the Group's portfolio by marketing representative real estate property, site promotion, and international tourism communication. The focus is on customers from the real estate, construction, and tourism industries who are seeking to build brands with a strong identity. The range in this area goes from brand building through brand content to brand reach. The customers supported include Euroboden GmbH and Deutsche Fonds Holding GmbH.
Saint Elmo’s subsidiary tourism marketing agency has won the bid for the ‘Albania Infrastructure and Tourism-Enabling’ project, funded by the European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Furthermore, within the Serviceplan Group and together with PROJECT M and the European Tourism Institute (ETI), the agency has produced an integrated range for tourism customers, as well as founding the ‘House of Tourism’ (HoT). With its approach of offering integrated industry-specific analyses, consultancy, and communications services, HoT is unique in the German-speaking world. This cooperation also includes representative study surveys, which examine tourism trends such as coworkation, active sports, health tourism, and success factors in the tourism sector, as well as offering tourism professionals a base for working towards targeted development and the marketing of tourist products.