"Our ambition is to be the premier agency in Scandinavia. We'll offer clients a new kind of pan-Scandinavian solution." These are high-flying words, indeed, from Tomas Tobiasson, president of the newly created, Stockholm-based ad agency.
The Swedish agency's track record in high-impact creativity and recent restructuring promise to bring a dramatic new element to European advertising.
"As recently as five years ago, every agency had offices in each of the different Nordic countries," said Scott Goodson, Welinder Ammirati's executive creative director. "We'll be the first network to look at Scandinavia as one region-from Stockholm."
Welinder Ammirati was launched in March by merging Welinder with the Stockholm office of Interpublic Group subsidiary Ammirati Puris Lintas. The new partnership-now the No. 4 Swedish agency, with combined revenues of more than $11.94 million-ended Welinder's international affiliation with Bozell Worldwide. Welinder Ammirati also opened an Amsterdam office, linked online to the Stockholm shop, to coordinate client services.
Welinder's clients include London-based pharmaceutical group Pharmacia & Upjohn, Radisson SAS Hotels Worldwide and Canada's Moosehead Breweries.
"We're bringing a new way of looking at the world," Mr. Goodson said. He cited campaigns for Moosehead and Pharmacia to exemplify the "humanistic, fresh and multicultural" values found in Welinder's creative style.
The multimedia campaign for Moosehead used the headline "Warning-The moose is loose" to remind the targeted young beer drinker that a mysterious, unseen but ubiquitous moose is always nearby. The campaign helped boost the brand to sixth place in some Scandinavian countries within a year.
"For Pharmacia, we were trying to break the bureaucratic image associated with laboratories," Mr. Goodson said. "The goal was to create a reaction among the audience and yet bring a humane face to the company."
Ammirati brings to Welinder major international clients that include consumer goods groups Unilever and Nestle, soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Co. and toiletries and cosmetics maker Johnson & Johnson.
BE A TAXI, NOT A BUS
Mr. Goodson said European networks must stop functioning as buses that pick up passengers (clients), tell them where to sit and take a pre-destined route. Rather, networks have to operate like taxis. Welinder Ammirati is "unlimited by route or national boundaries. The clients say where they want to go to, and we take them there as fast or as slow as they want to," Mr. Goodson said.
"Some will are going to be happy with this approach, some will say it's baloney. I say `Innovate and be damned."'