Andrew, what was the attraction between two agencies from different sides of the Atlantic – I imagine that the fact Serviceplan Group is an independent agency with a global footprint was an attraction for you, because Pereira O’Dell is also an independent?
Andrew O’Dell: “Pereira O'Dell always had global ambitions, just as Serviceplan Group does. So that was definitely attractive, however it's very rare to find an equally fiercely independent partner that shares the same values and similar culture and that made a huge difference for us. It's like looking at a bigger version of yourself. Lastly and most importantly, I just really liked the team and felt we could easily work together and create a significant and meaningful partnership.”
You are quoted as saying: “From our very first meeting, it was clear to see that we shared a common vision of creative excellence, independent spirit and desire to create a unique global offering. This was not only exactly what we wanted for Pereira O'Dell as an agency, but for our clients too.” How does the culture of an award-winning North American creative shop compare with the culture of a North European-headquartered, integrated communications agency? And how do you see this merging of cultures translating into creativity and the offering for clients in Europe, the USA and the rest of the world?
Andrew O’Dell: “I'm hopeful our unique cultures and offerings can influence each other and ultimately be a great benefit to our clients. Additionally, the goal of a fully operationalized House of Communication in the US is incredibly exciting for both companies. Although Pereira O'Dell is US based, we've created several successful global campaigns for Timberland, Skype, Corona and most notably The Intel "Inside" Social Film series, a love story that transcended cultural borders, won 3 Grand Prix at Cannes, an Emmy for original programming, and was made into Feature Film and TV series in South Korea. Sony Pictures acquired the global film rights in October 2020. Before our partnership with Serviceplan Group, we would engage multiple partners to deliver global campaigns, now of course, we just need one.”
This new partnership was brokered during a time of uncertainty for the world and the advertising industry arising from this unprecedented pandemic. How did you navigate the deal through the pandemic, and has the uncertainty of the past few months forced you to reassess ways of working and revaluate the future of advertising? For example, the continued productivity and ability to work from home effectively during lockdown is proof that we can continue to do business virtually – do you think virtual working makes the world smaller and easier to navigate for brands and agencies?
Andrew O’Dell: “The challenge of the pandemic only reinforced the strength of the partnership. We all pushed forward because we knew how rare, like a needle in a haystack, these kinds of opportunities are, so it was like "let's get this done!". We are always evaluating our business and capabilities ...How competitive is our offering? What can we improve? What do we need? etc. The deal with Serviceplan Group checked a lot of those boxes. From a virtual work standpoint, I believe we've learned volumes about the benefits and challenges and ultimately we can apply them to create a more productive and positive working environment.”
Pereira O’Dell’s US operations are rooted in New York and San Francisco, while Serviceplan Group is headquartered in Munich with a worldwide network spanning 35 countries. So, both parties will benefit from this new alliance and it will enable the global integration of key clients of Serviceplan and Pereira O’Dell, enhance Serviceplan Groups´ status in the US, and give Pereira O'Dell an international offering for clients in the US. How do you see this concept rolling out with your existing clients?
Andrew O’Dell: “Our clients with global reach are eager to understand how this will work for them, so we are in the planning and mapping stage of how we roll out a truly global offering. We need to make it powerful, effective and easy. I believe 2021 is going to be an adventurous year.”