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Serviceplan (Germany)

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Serviceplan is Germany's biggest independent marketing group, owned and run by the Haller family. In recent years, the agency has also developed a growing reputation as one of the country's most creative agencies, following the appointment of group creative director Alex Schill. In 2013, it was named the local #1 for creativity by trade magazine HorizonT, and has remained among the top three since then.


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Brands & Activities

The group offers a broad range of integrated services from classic above-the-line advertising to PR, point-of-sale, public affairs, CRM and media. Different services are supplied from separate units within the group, with offices in six cities across Germany. Above-the-line advertising is managed by the main Serviceplan agency, or one of several Campaign creative hubs, kept separate to avoid client conflicts. Campaign 1, Campaign 2 and Campaign 3 were joined in 2015 by Campaign X. Digital is channeled through separately branded Plan.net, a full-service shop that is now Germany's largest interactive agency. It got even bigger in 2014 with the acquisition of German ecommerce specialist hmmh.

For many years, Plan.net enjoyed a partnership with British digital media network Profero. However that was terminated following the acquisition in 2014 of Profero by Lowe.

The group's media operations are housed within Mediaplus, one of the country's top 10 media agencies. The agency has for several years pooled its media buying with partner agencies. For several years it was Carat's partner in HCCS Plus. That relationship was terminated in 2003 and replaced by a joint venture with Interpublic's Initiative and Universal McCann. In 2005, Mediaplus absorbed the Mediamind unit of rival independent Jung von Matt, and is now a joint venture between the two agencies. Mediaplus is also loosely affiliated with independent media shops in other markets. In 2006, it joined forces with New York-based Horizon Media, Canada's Cossette Communications and others to form Columbus Media International, a global network of independent media shops, jointly owned by its constituent agencies.

An fifth pillar was added to the group alongside the main creative agency, Plan.net, Mediaplus and Facit, with the integration of Serviceplan Solutions, previously a separate entity. This unit offers IT-based marketing services, consultancy and production.

There is also a collection of other satellite units including healthcare agency Serviceplan Health & Life, Serviceplan One (direct marketing), Serviceplan PR (public relations) and market research agency Facit. The group also manages a collection of print, video and digital production houses under the umbrella name of Serviceplan Realisation.

Saint Elmo's was a standalone agency with offices in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, operating separately from the main Serviceplan business. In 2017, it merged with struggling Berlin-based creative boutique Aimaq von Lobenstein to form Aimaq von Lobenstein / Saint Elmo's, or AvL/SE for short.

The group also has an extensive international network, comprising its own offices, as well as affiliates including Publips in Spain, Ariadna in Latin America and the Creston group in the UK and US. New offices were opened in Korea, India and Russia during 2013. In 2015, the group acquired a majority holding in Russian agency Louder. Serviceplan also has a minority holding in French marketing group La Maison de la Communication, which owns a number of diversified marketing services agencies including ad agency Dufresne Corrigan Scarlett.

For the year to June 2018, group revenues hit a new record level of €415m, up 7% year on year. The majority of revenues are still generated in Germany, but international sales rose 10% in the latest year to €91m. The main Serviceplan business accounted for 22% of revenues (or €92m), but it was overtaken for the first time in 2015 by digital agency Plan.net, with gross income of €103m in ye 2018; and then by Mediaplus, which contributed €94m in ye 2018, with billings of over €2bn.

The group was founded in Munich in 1970 by Swiss-born marketing executive Peter Haller. The business is still controlled by him, together with his son Florian Haller as group CEO and Ronald Focken as managing director. Other senior officers include Fabian Prueschenk (CFO), Alexander Schill (chief creative officer), Andrea Malgara (managing director, Mediaplus), Markus Noder (managing director, international), Manfred Klaus & Klaus Schwab (managing directors, Plan.Net) and Markus Maczey (chief creative officer, Plan.net). Till Hohmann joined as managing director, creation for Serviceplan Campaign in 2016. Florian Strauss is managing director, consulting.

Last full revision 27th September 2016

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