During Dimitri Guerassimov and Fabien Teichner’s time as head creatives at Marcel Paris, they transformed the business into the most awarded French agency at Cannes for two years running. In their own words, it became “a creative jewel” in the Publicis network. But they needed a new challenge – and that challenge lies in the hands of Serviceplan, the German-founded agency group. Dimitri and Fabien are joining the French office as both creative heads and partners, with the entrepreneurial side of their new roles particularly exciting them.
LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with them to find out why now was the right time to move and why Serviceplan is such an exciting business right now.
There was no shortage of great work or awards from your time at Marcel - so why did you decide to leave?
We’re proud of the accomplishments we contributed to at Marcel. But after helping the agency become the most awarded French agency in Cannes for two consecutive years (2015-2016), and staying in the top five of the most awarded French agencies in The Gunn Report for five years, a period which culminated with Marcel becoming a creative jewel of the Publicis network, we felt like it was time to take on a new, more personal challenge. We wanted a place where we had more entrepreneurial possibilities, creative leadership and the possibility to be more than hired hands.
And more specifically, why was Serviceplan the right fit for you both?
Serviceplan is a totally different model. It’s independent, with no shareholders, and with a very interesting and empowering entrepreneurial model: the managers are the owners. And as Serviceplan’s international reputation is growing stronger and stronger, we felt like this is the perfect moment to jump in and be at the forefront of a new decade in the history of Serviceplan, in which will see an even bigger global footprint and the growth of its creative reputation.
Serviceplan is a force to be reckoned with at the moment, with growth in numerous markets around the world. Why do you think the business is succeeding?
Because the model is good. The entrepreneurial spirit is what drives the change today. The business landscape has rarely been as creative as now. And companies like Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat are setting the pace. So no wonder that Serviceplan, with its flat management and short hierarchy structure, dedicated to innovation and steered by partners owning the business, is keeping up well with this fast-paced global environment.
In terms of the whole Serviceplan family, how will you feed into the German base and the wider offices?
Serviceplan is very decentralised. There’s a lot of respect for local partners. It’s all about collaboration on mutually profitable projects to create great work for clients, building together the business and the reputation of the group. We totally share the vision of Florian [Haller, Group CEO] and Alex [Schill, Group CCO], and will work hand in hand with them to accomplish their big plan.
With Serviceplan Group CCO Alexander Schill (centre)
How is the agency’s reputation in France currently?
Serviceplan was launched in France at the end of 2015. Since then, its awareness never stopped growing, nourished by several major wins such as the BMW account. Its image in France is in the making but the agency already counts among the most dynamic in the market. Its reputation is also associated with the brands it holds such as famous French patrimonial food brands Bonne Maman and Andros, beers of the Heineken group (Desperados), health products and public services such as The Parisian Road Safety. Its membership in the first European independent communication group Serviceplan, which is creatively and internationally recognised, makes it very distinctive and promising in the French market. So this is the beginning of a new era, and our mission is to help the group grow and shine in France.
How are you finding the culture within the agency now that you’re working there? And from a broader perspective, how is it going from the Publicis Group to Serviceplan?
We’re starting our adventure in May. So it’s too soon to compare yet.
What are your goals for the agency for the next year or so?
Build a high profile creative reputation by producing strategical and bold work for big brands, such as BMW.
As part of your vision for the future of Serviceplan France, what sort of talent and skillsets are you looking for at the moment?
Free spirited creative entrepreneurs, open to any form of creativity, open to any innovation, media or tech approach. We’re looking for people who believe that today, anything and everything can be marketing.
Of all Serviceplan’s clients, which are you most excited about?
Serviceplan in France has built strong relationships with great national and international brands such as BMW, Heineken and Danone, and we’re really excited to help them continue building these brands and partnerships.
Any parting thoughts?
We believe that we live in exciting times for our industry. Times of movement, evolution and transformation. And in this industry moving forward, Serviceplan is an exciting place to be right now. So we feel like we’re at the right place at the right time.