He was flattered, of course. Then he kind of chuckled and went through the "Why do they want me?" process.
And then his curiosity was aroused by the possibilities.
At the time, Mr. Berg was president of the New York office of Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, but was intrigued by the agency's interest and started doing his homework on the agency.
"I found that they were one of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing agencies in the last 15 years," he said. "Then I felt like it was my challenge to make sure it's the fastest-growing agency for the next 15 years."
That's exactly what Euro RSCG MVBMS President Ron Berger wanted to hear. "John is smart, dedicated and has the unique ability to inspire people to achieve greatness," Mr. Berger said. "He's had an immediate impact on the agency, our clients and new business."
When the initial appointment was announced in early June, many wondered why Mr. Berg would move to a smaller agency. But while Omnicom and DDB Worldwide are certainly larger in revenues and offices and employees than Havas and Euro RSCG MVBMS, the respective New York offices are exactly the opposite.
DDB's premiere accounts are in offices outside New York, such as Anheuser-Busch and several PepsiCo products that are handled out of Chicago. At Euro, Mr. Berg will work with New York office clients such as Volvo Cars of North America, Intel Corp., Evian and Subway Restaurants.
Prior to his stint at DDB Worldwide, Mr. Berg worked for Wenner Media, parent of Rolling Stone, and was a 13-year employee at DDB sibling BBDO Worldwide. Much of his thinking and approach about the industry was shaped at BBDO.
"One of the things I believe in, and it really comes out of having worked at BBDO for so long, is I believe in the work," he said, referring to BBDO's mantra of "The Work, The Work, The Work." "I believe in what the power of the work can do. ... That kind of discipline around the product is valuable in any agency situation."
At Euro, the agency works around the concept of "The Power of One," which dictates bringing together the various marketing services and disciplines under one umbrella. Mr. Berg said that approach only enhances client service.
"As long as you have separate [profit and loss statements], the truth is that you're not going to get a well-thought-out plan or program," he said. "That's just the nature of it."
And the nature of client service is what drew him to Euro in the first place. "The idea that I could actually manage clients and client business was very attractive to me," he said.
Name: John Berg
Position: Partner-president, Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, New York
Challenge: To spend as much time as possible on client service.