Inside Serviceplan Group's US Expansion Plans With Pereira O’Dell and L&C
Serviceplan Group, Europe’s largest independent agency network, is bulking up its U.S offering by naming Pereira O’Dell (POD) founders Andrew O’Dell and PJ Pereira leaders of the newly-minted Serviceplan Americas. As part of its U.S. expansion, Serviceplan also acquired a minority stake in up-and-coming creative agency L&C. O’Dell will become CEO of Serviceplan America, and Pereira CCO. Nancy Daum, POD’s CFO, will take on the COO role. All three will remain in their current leadership roles at POD.
Just over two years since Peruvian immigrants Gian Carlo Lanfranco and Rolando Cordova founded L&C and opened its doors in New York, the creative shop is now one of the most-awarded independent agencies. Adweek shortlisted the creative agency for its 2022 Multicultural Agency of the Year award. The shop’s client roster includes General Electric, Diageo, Dole, P&G and Spectrum. “All of a sudden, we have a two-year-old company on the table, a 15-year-old company and a 50-year-old company—three generations of independence, getting together to try to do something special,” Pereira said of L&C, POD and Serviceplan joining forces.
Launching Serviceplan Americas is one step on the path to cultivating a fully-integrated service offering. This means that network aims to offer its clients creative, technology, media and more. “The first thing that happens with this is that we can immediately broaden our scope of services,” Pereira said.
The Americas network is simultaneously developing a U.S. presence for another subsidiary—the end-to-end digital agency Plan.Net. It’s one of Serviceplan Groups’ three network brands and is particularly successful in Europe. Now that Plan.Net is opening shop in the U.S., POD can now introduce its clients to Plan.Net’s comprehensive digital services. It’s an “incredible opportunity” for all parties involved, Pereira said. With the breadth of a network, independent agencies like POD and L&C can approach work in an integrated way that might otherwise be challenging. Plus, they can reap the benefits of international expansion via their association with Serviceplan Group. “From the U.S. standpoint, it allows us to take the work that we’re doing here and expand the depth of what we’re doing, the breadth of services that we’re offering—but also expand to other countries,” said Pereira.
Lanfranco and Cordova met Periera 20 years ago, when he awarded them their first Cannes Lion. Now, with Pereira as creative leader in the Americas, Lanfranco and Cordova’s relationship with the POD founder has come full circle. Pereira’s relationship with the L&C co-founders mirrored his relationship with Serviceplan Group leaders. He recalled meeting with Florian Haller, global CEO of Serviceplan International, before the pandemic struck. “We sat down to talk for like 30 minutes, and those 30 minutes became three hours,” he told Adweek.
After the meeting with Haller, POD began working on global projects in partnership with Serviceplan, like one for Crypto.com. By October 2020, Serviceplan acquired a 30% share in POD, and last year, the two went in together for the Cannes Awards. The culmination of that combined effort was Serviceplan receiving last year’s Independent Network of the Year award.
While at Cannes awaiting word of the win, Pereira ran into Lanfranco and his L&C co-founder Rolando Cordova. Much like Pereira’s initial conversation with Haller, the group wound up talking for hours and brainstorming collaboration avenues. Lanfranco founded L&C with Cordova after living and building careers at agencies across many countries. Now having lived in the U.S. for eight years, the co-founders are creating a diverse, global creative boutique and touting their ability to connect with various global audiences.
The L&C leaders are enthusiastic about Serviceplan’s global purview and considering expanding existing client relationships into the Europe and South American markets. One L&C client with a global purview is already considering scaling its creative footprint, Lanfranco said. “We fundamentally believe that we can put together teams from different backgrounds, from different cultures, from different languages,” said Haller. “This is an enormous advantage,” he added.
Despite Serviceplan acquiring a minority stake in the agency, L&C will retain its independence under Lanfranco and Cordova’s leadership. Haller and Pereira recognize this as a benefit—another indication that L&C is a good match for a network that prides itself on independence.
“It’s not only the passion for creativity, but this mentality of being entrepreneurs, and being ambitious and really going for the big swings without ever being irresponsible,” said Pereira of what attracted him to L&C. “When we look at [L&C], it feels so like us 15 years ago, 13 years ago—that it’s uncanny,” Pereira told Adweek.