The Serviceplan Group has had a spectacular 2017/2018 financial year, its 47th financial year in business. Sales increased by 7%. This means that Europe’s largest independent communications agency was well above that of the majority of other German advertising and communications agencies, with their GWA Spring Monitor increase in sales of 1%.
Gross income (fees and commission) was EUR 415 million, an increase of EUR 27 million from last year’s EUR 388 million. Staff grew to around 4,000 employees nationally and internationally, a year on year increase of 600, that is principally the result of the expansion of international offices. Per capita sales were just under EUR 104,000 (2016/2017: EUR 114,000). In the past financial year, international sales amounted to EUR 91 million, up almost 10% on 2016/2017’s EUR 83 million.
All divisions within the agency Group recorded significant growth rates – even in the past year’s difficult market environment. The strongest pillar in the past financial year was the digital communication arm, Plan.Net. It contributed EUR 103 million, or 25%, of the Group’s total sales.
To a large extent, the successful growth of the Group is the result of the expansion of existing customer business, as well as gaining more than 400 new German and international clients and accounts. The following brands were won or won back in Germany: Becks, BSH, Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall, Clever fit, Nürnberger Versicherung, Dr. Beckmann, Telekom T-Systems, MAN, Almdudler, BMW Aftersales and KraussMaffei. The most significant new clients were gained by The Group’s House of Communications – Tencent in China, Auchan in France, Ferrero in Italy and Netflix in Spain.
The Group also grew internationally, opening a House of Communication in New York. The Group’s locations outside Germany made a substantial contribution to its success, with their 21.9% share of overall sales and revenue of EUR91 million (2016/2017: 83 million; 21.4%).
Florian Haller, chief executive officer of the Serviceplan Group, commented, “One of the Serviceplan Group’s most exciting and most important business years has now come to an end – and a very successful one at that. We are now represented in all of the world’s most important markets: Europe, Asia and North America. With the opening in New York where we have introduced our unique “House of Communication” concept, we have made an important step into the US market. I am also particularly proud of our first entry in the Ad Age Agency Report Global rankings, where we achieved 22nd place in our very first year.”
The Serviceplan Group has agencies in Munich, Hamburg, Bremen, Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne in Germany, and now Houses of Communication established in Vienna, Zurich, Milan, Brussels, Dubai, Paris, Lyon, Moscow, Madrid and New York, along with branches in Delhi, Beijing, Shanghai and Seoul. The goal is to develop all branches into Houses of Communication, which bring all communication disciplines together in one place.
In May 2018, the Serviceplan Group entered the US advertising industry’s Ad Age rankings for the first time, and in 22nd place in the global sales rankings of the US advertising industry’s Advertising Age (Ad Age), with annual sales of US$602m in the 2017 financial year.
At the same time, the House of Communication opened on Madison Avenue in New York. The three familiar pillars of the Serviceplan agency group are represented in NYC under one roof: Serviceplan, MODCo/Mediaplus and the digital agency, T3. Serviceplan New York currently consists of 65 staff and is managed jointly by Stefan Schütte, Nick Johnson, Jay Benjamin and Nick Chapman, while MODCo/Mediaplus is led by Erik Dochtermann and Eileidh Bamford. The digital agency T3 is a partner agency run by Ben Gaddis.
The Group’s media agency, Mediaplus, contributed around 23% of the Group’s total sales, and an increase of 6.8% to EUR 94 million, including the results of the Facit Group. Mediaplus is the top-ranking media agency in Germany in the international RECMA rankings.
Saint Elmo’s posted sales of EUR 19 million this year. Serviceplan generated agency fees of EUR 92 million, compensating for a large client loss in the past financial year. Serviceplan Solutions generated agency fees of EUR 12 million – a growth of 9%. The Serviceplan Group established Solutions as its fifth pillar this year. The Serviceplan Consulting Group, which was founded in spring 2016 is moving towards 5 million in sales.
[Cover image: Florian Haller, chief executive officer, Serviceplan Group]