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‘Advertising is integrated communications strategy’

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Published : 2014-04-08 20:57
Updated : 2014-04-08 20:57

Advertisements should do more than just provide information, according to the chief executive of Europe’s largest independent advertising company.

“It has to be a two-way interaction between advertisers and the public,” said Florian Haller, CEO of Serviceplan, in an interview with The Korea Herald.

In fact, such integrated communication strategies are becoming the new global trend in the advertising industry, he said. Part of the reason is because there is a prevailing sense of fatigue in the public, which is exposed to a glut of information.

“More companies are starting to understand that consumers do not want to be confused by different messages delivered through different channels,” Haller said. 
Serviceplan group CEO Florian Haller poses for The Korea Herald at Serviceplan Korea’s office in Itaewon-dong, Seoul. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

Serviceplan, a Germany-based company established in 1970, has quickly adapted to such changes.

Serviceplan currently employs up to 1,800 people at 32 locations around the world, and its sales in the 2012-2013 fiscal year reached 218 million euros ($299.5 million).

This year, the figure is expected to hit 250 million euros.

The company’s list of clients includes BMW, Miele, Lego, Siemens, Google, Ikea, Thomas Cook and Lufthansa, among others.

Many have chosen Serviceplan as a communications partner for both domestic and international businesses. Over the years, it has won various awards, including two consecutive grand prizes at the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the AME Awards, the New York Festival and others.

The key to its success was the “House of Communication” system, under which the group is divided into four sectors: “Serviceplan,” “Mediaplus,” “Plan.net” and “Facit.”

Serviceplan handles traditional ad campaigns, while Mediaplus takes care of media research and planning. Plan.net is in charge of digital and media counterplanning, while Facit does market research and consulting.

These four divisions work intensively and extensively together for a single client.

“We have a crossover team that thinks about the demand in the market and what customers want,” Julie Kang, general manager of Serviceplan Korea, said.

“The team touches on different activities, even those beyond their designated scope of responsibility to enhance overall understanding.”

One of its most successful projects includes the “Self Scan Report” that Serviceplan devised for Auchan, a French supermarket chain.

In a bid to find a medium accessible to everyone but without creating waste, they came up with the idea of using receipts. The receipt has a barcode on it that when scanned with a smartphone presents an application containing the company’s sustainability report.

“It also provoked curiosity and an opportunity to experience new things among customers,” Haller said. Auchan later concluded that it was able to save extensively on paper by recycling the receipts.

Last but not least, Haller was very much concerned about sustainability.

Serviceplan developed a sustainability brand index to weigh brands’ efforts in the area.

“In the global market, people have changed. They want things from brands that seek ecological, economic and social sustainability. As an agency we need to reflect the demand,” Haller said.

By Bae Ji-sook (baejisook@heraldcorp.com)

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