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Serviceplan and Stagwell have announced a transatlantic team-up for media buying and planning

Stagwell Group and Serviceplan Group have teamed up across the Atlantic for a strategic media buying partnership. What’s behind this transatlantic team-up?

Stagwell Group, the American ’challenger’ agency network led by former Microsoft executive Mark Penn, and Serviceplan Group, the largest independent agency network in Europe, have struck a strategic partnership across their media operations.

The alliance between the two agency groups will see Serviceplan’s Mediaplus Group work ’hand-in-hand’ with Stagwell Media Network, with the aim of expanding their respective footholds in the US and western Europe. Clients of either group will be offered services derived from the other, the groups said.

Chairman and Stagwell chief executive officer Penn said: “This strategic alliance creates a solid alternative to the legacy holding companies that until now have been a marketer’s only option when they want global scale. Collaborating with Serviceplan enhances our ability to deliver integrated customer experiences and targeted media strategies tailored to local markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific.”

Serviceplan boss Florian Heller said: ”Stagwell’s technology-first approach and deep expertise in media, creative and digital transformation are well matched to our capabilities and pave the way for rapid growth, scaled solutions and deeper local market expertise. This strategic alliance positions both companies to deliver unmatched business results for our clients.”

Why have the two groups teamed up?

The partnership will oversee some $10bn in media. Stagwell will gain access to Serviceplan’s extensive media network and its AI-based buying systems – it’s the largest indie media buyer in Europe – while the Munich-headquartered group will in turn be able to access its New York counterpart’s suite of SAAS platforms, such as Koalifyed, CUE, PRophet and Harris Brand Platform. The recently-established Stagwell Media Network includes Assembly, MMI Agency, Media Kitchen, Grason, Gale, Multiview and Locaria.

Speaking to The Drum, Deirdre McGlashan, chief media officer, Stagwell, said that the alliance will help multiply the strengths of each partner. “With Serviceplan’s strong capabilities in local markets and the cross-border approach we both take, our globally combined 15,000 team members have exactly the right mix of digital and traditional media capabilities to drive greater results for our clients.”

“Today, companies operate transcontinental, so we also have to set up the strategy, planning and buying of media across all borders. With Stagwell, we have found our counterpart as an independent yet internationally active agency network on the other side of the Atlantic,“ added Matthias Brüll, chief executive officer at Mediaplus International.

How did the partnership come together?

According to Brüll, the alliance has been in the works for the last six months, aided by the shared history of several Serviceplan and Stagwell executives, who all worked together at WPP’s Mediacom earlier in their careers.

”As independent players, we share some similarities. We talked about how we approach the market. What is the strength in being independent? What does the market really need? What questions do clients have today? And what were the barriers when we were on the other side?” said Brüll.

According to McGlashan, the move is about both companies gaining scale ”in the modern way.”

”Quite frankly, as integrated and complex as media has gotten, it really is about having the right skill set, leveraging the right knowledge across the markets. That’s why this coming together of these two independents – with each of our capabilities and additional ancillary capabilities – is more that we bring each other.”

Can it make Stagwell and Serviceplan more competitive?

McGlashan argues the alliance gives each group an edge over the dominant holding companies. ”With their strong capabilities, our strong capabilities in the market, and the fact that both of us take a cross-border approach … we are going after business that would normally have gone to the traditional holding companies. We are in quite a few pitches with them,” she said.

”If you rewind … five years ago, we were small independents that were growing. [Now] we are outpacing them in terms of growth.”

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Adweek

by Kyle O’Brien

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Beth Sidhu

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Stagwell is expanding its creative, content, media and marketing communications capabilities throughout Latin America with a new partnership between Stagwell agency Allison+Partners and Latin American heritage agency Grupo Garnier.

The partnership will see Grupo Garnier rebranding offices in eight markets as Allison+Partners, including in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. In addition, the agencies will field a joint team in Miami, led by Allison+Partners general manager David Baum and business development director Tomas Saiz to counsel North American brands entering Latin America. Together, the agencies will bring enhanced capabilities across public relations, digital and content marketing to the region.

Mark Penn, chairman and CEO, said in a statement that he has long known Latin America as a “doorway for businesses eyeing global expansion. With more than 600 million people across South America, representing 8% of the population, this collaboration creates an advantage for brands looking to engage the growing market.”

Grupo Garnier, a Stagwell global affiliate, was founded in 1921 and is one of the leading marketing groups in Latin America.

Growing around the globe

Stagwell has been on a growth spurt lately, especially after its merger with MDC Partners was finalized several months ago. In addition to Grupo Garnier, Stagwell added Anchor Worldwide and The Lab to its Global Affiliate network this year, and Allison+Partners entered a strategic partnership with Orient Planet Group to grow in the Middle East. It opened its Miami office in June 2021.

“We began our global expansion through the affiliate partnerships with strategic partners earlier this year, where we have gone into 11 strategic regions. We now have 34 partners in the strategic regions, overseeing almost 96 cities in almost 50 countries,” Anas Ghazi, chief strategy officer for Stagwell, told Adweek.

Ghazi added that the rapid expansion lets the network go deeper in areas of traditional and digital media, ecommerce and content creation. In Latin America, thanks to Grupo Garni, Stagwell inherits strategic partnerships that will help it compete and collaborate in the region’s key markets, especially when it comes to data-driven public relations, which is a key focus for Allison+Partners.

For Grupo Garnier, the partnership gives the storied agency group an infusion of investment into the region, with new PR technologies and training, and the ability for scalable growth. “The brands need a different type of approach with consumers. They’re more concerned about wealth and about intimate relationships,” Arnaldo Garnier, CEO of Grupo Garnier, told Adweek, adding that Allison+Partners and Stagwell brings an “entrepreneurial spirit” to the region.

For Allison+Partners, it immediately adds 100 people in markets throughout Central and South America, which gives the agency a big reach for its existing clients and for new business opportunities. “We’ve been sorely underrepresented in Latin America…to have Allison+Partners team members in those pitches and working for clients just gives us a lot more consistency across the network from a global perspective,” Jonathan Heit, COO, Allison+Partners, told Adweek.

The U.S. and Latin American markets will be centralized through the Miami office of Allison+Partners, which will include support of the Hispanic and Latin markets in the U.S. It will allow the agency to bring its global clients to Latin America, like Toyota, and bring Latin American clients to a global stage.

Allison+Partners and Grupo Garnier join a growing roster of Stagwell peers in Latin America, including creative, localization and content agencies Locaria, Ink and CPB Brazil in Brazil and digital design agency Code and Theory in Argentina.

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