Clients, stories and events
Strictly speaking, the story of the agency begins two years before it was officially founded ...
Strictly speaking, the story of the agency begins two years before it was officially founded. On Colognes Ebertplatz, a small team run by journalist Oliver Schrott is working on PR projects for Opel and Mazda. For the vehicle manufactures, it generates press packs, releases and speeches, and for the Japanese importer, customer magazine Mazda News. Even then, the list of jobs includes the first events - vehicle launches, technical workshops and the annual press conference for Adam Opel AG, which the team will go on to organize in Frankfurts Old Opera House for nine years in succession.
Still not officially an agency, but the portfolio already boasts its first full-service customer - ABB Henschel. For the rail transportation systems supplier, as the railway technology providers new positioning put it, the team works together with a design agency from Wiesbaden to create a complete corporate identity - from a magazine-style image brochure, through testimonial advertising for trade magazines to PR programs for German low-floor city trains and Swedish tilting trains. The package also includes a TV commercial that, in early 1993, runs in the nighttime program during the formative days of new private TV station VOX.
The year in which Oliver Schrott Kommunikation GmbH is officially founded, and entered in the Cologne Companies Register on March 23rd. The team, which has now grown to six permanent and five freelance members, realizes its first international projects in Italy and France for Opel and American GM brands Cadillac and Chevrolet.
A move to new offices on Colognes Hohenstaufenring creates room for growth. By the time the agency makes its next move in 2005, it has expanded to occupy a total of three buildings at that location.
Following a successful pitch against several big-name agencies, the start of January sees the agency open a second office in Rüsselsheim. The client is Opel, and the task is comprehensive support for the Management Board function of Press and Public Relations. Just a stones throw away from the automakers head office, the months and years ahead see the creation of press texts, speeches and brochures, PR concepts and presentations, the Opel Annual Report and the Environment Report, as well as ideas and concepts for press conferences and vehicle launches in Germany and throughout the world. New clients include tire manufacturer Goodyear, home electronics company Galaxis and the Bitburger brewery, for which the editorial team develops the new Bit Magazin. In an old production hall, Oliver Schrott Kommunikation stages the premiere of the first tractor for the next millennium Agrotron, for tractor manufacturer Deutz-Fahr - with over 2,000 guests from 17 countries, it is the agencys largest single event to date.
With oeco capital, the agency introduces Germanys first ecological life insurance company; for Goodyear, the team develops an all-new PR format in support of its Formula 1 activities. Rockn Race, an open-air festival at the Hockenheimring featuring a live concert by Marius Müller-Westernhagen, brings more than 50,000 (paying) visitors. Parallel to this are the agencys two first PR events in the USA - the presentation of the Opel Sintra minivan in New York and the launch of the Galaxis brand.
In autumn, Oliver Schrott establishes the management team that still runs the agency to this day - Andre Kau-Gravert, with the company from the very start, takes over as Joint Managing Director with responsibility for Editorial and Graphics, Michael Kemme takes on Client Consultancy and Ulrich Linnenberg handles Administration and Finance, as well as Special Projects. The end of the year sees fee income exceed DM 5 million for the first time.
A call early in the year heralds perhaps the most unusual job the agency has ever had - the organization of a visit to the Opel factory in Eisenach by US President Bill Clinton. A whole two weeks are available for planning, organization, implementation and approval by the client, the German Chancellors office, the US Embassy, the White House and the Secret Service.
New clients such as Electrolux, Siemens VDO and Aventis subsidiary HiServ, see the team grow to 30 employees. The City of Cologne seeks our advice for the organization of the G8 Summit; for Chevrolet, an extraordinary journey of discovery through North America is created for journalists - from Detroit, via Dresden, London, New Hamburg, Baden and Bamberg to Toronto. Along the way - the first North American oil field, Uncle Toms Cabin and the site of the worlds second largest Oktoberfest.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Opel vehicle production, the agency develops a truly pioneering PR tool - a train. The Opel Millennium Express, an interactive experience based around the automobile and mobility, is not only the longest exhibition train of all time, but also the first ever pan-European railshow. By the end of the year, the 280 meter long rail track extravaganza has attracted over 360,000 visitors across six countries. This complex project also marks a significant step forward for Oliver Schrott as a company - the agency creates an in-house team for corporate architecture, which has since grown to be seven strong.
The first year of the new millennium puts agency fee income over DM 10 million for the first time, following growth of almost 30 percent. And with projects and events in 14 countries, the company is now definitely international. The agency launches Opels smallest car, the Agila, in Denmarks Legoland, and the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV in the deep snow of Norwegian Tromsö. As a unique PR format for European auto shows, the GM Art Night is established in Geneva and Paris, while the Detroit Auto Show is accompanied by a media seminar in Florida. And the Opel Millennium Express ends its European tour with a new visitor record for exhibition trains - almost 700,000 visitors in twelve countries have seen the view into the future since it began mid-1999.
On April 1, Oliver Schrott Kommunikation is appointed by DaimlerChrysler as new lead agency for Mercedes-Benz global communications. This major account means goodbye to Opel and GM after more than 10 years. The facility in Rüsselsheim is replaced by a new office in Stuttgart. The first project for the worlds oldest automotive brand is centered on an automotive icon - the world premiere of the new SL, starring Lionel Richie. In June, German PR-Magazins Qualitäts-Check certifies Oliver Schrott Kommunikation with the highest quality level of all German PR agencies, based on research carried out by Professor Klaus Merten from Münster. The agency is the only one to receive the top grade 1 in all four disciplines under consideration. In order to maintain this standard, the company launches a new training product in Cologne for its now 50 employees - the OSK Campus with three cornerstones of Basics, Know-How and Brainfood, complemented by a team of well-known external instructors.
2002 is the year of Maybach. Over nine months, the agency celebrates the renaissance of the almost forgotten luxury brand of the 1920s and 30s with a series of sensational PR events. The core of the campaign, the world premiere in New York City, is considered by media researchers to be the most successful vehicle launch of all time, based on global media coverage. New clients include ThyssenKrupp with decision-maker magazine evolution and internal media; while, for Siemens Automation Technology Unit, the agency puts a second exhibition train on the tracks, in the shape of the Siemens exider.
After luxury limousines, its the turn of luxury yachts to take their place in the agency portfolio. On behalf of Sunseeker, the team develops an integrated campaign for first-class pre-owned yachts with advertisements in all the major Sunday newspapers. In autumn, the mobile exhibition Siemens exider reaches China via the Trans-Siberian Railway. The timetable for the first international exhibition train to appear there includes stops at a total of 16 cities with over one million inhabitants each.
With fee income of EUR 8.6 million in 2003, Oliver Schrott Kommunikation enters the top ten German PR agencies, and becomes the first agency ever to receive a Top Job Award as one of the best 100 medium-sized employers in Germany. On behalf of Mercedes-Benz, the team realizes its first vehicle launch on the high seas for the new A-Class - on board club ship AIDAaura, the German 2004 Olympic Games Ship. Plus, the agency is appointed as Michelins new lead PR agency for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Alongside existing client contracts, new growth comes from packaging equipment group Tetra Pak, production equipment manufacturer GEA and medical technology specialists Wavelight. As a follow-up project to the exider exhibition train, the agencys architects develop the exiderdome for Siemens - a mobile, modular exhibition pavilion covering around 2,000 sq. meters. By the end of the year, the team is 72 strong and fee income reaches the EUR 10 million mark - a 100% increase in just five years. The move to an historic bank building directly next to Colognes Cathedral and Central Railway Station doesnt only bring more room, but also a state-of-the-art working environment, thanks to a new spatial concept.
With the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Experience Paris Beijing, the agency conceives and implements a spectacular long-distance drive across two continents, nine countries and six time zones, in order to demonstrate the features of the new-generation E-Class and the benefits of modern diesel technology. 406 participants from 36 countries contributed in delivering global media coverage.
The E-Class Experience Paris - Beijing is honored with a number of awards, including the pan-European SABRE PR award and the Logistics Service Award from the German Logistics Association, marking the first time ever that this honor is awarded to a communications agency. The team creates a press presentation for Panasonic at the IFA Consumer Electronics Trade Fair, a tire marathon for Michelin and the US press launch of the smart brand. A further notable media success within a challenging political environment is the Mercedes-Benz press conference at the IAA Auto Show in Frankfurt, where the agency creates an attention-grabbing presentation with strong imagery for the worlds oldest vehicle brands Road to the Future.
With an office in New York Oliver Schrott Kommunikation expands to America. During the start-up phase, five employees take care of the US projects of existing clients as well as assignments from the New World. The total number of employees at the three OSK locations rises to 85. After stays in Asia and Europe, the Siemens exiderdome continues its global B2B-tour in Middle and North America. Set up on a barge fit for the open sea the Siemens exiderome sparks furore as a swimming exhibition on the big lakes and the St. Lawrence River. The agency gains additional momentum by new clients such as Harman International and Vaillant.
The internationally-renowned industry magazine Holmes Report selects Oliver Schrott Kommunikation as German Consultancy of the Year. OSK receives the prestigious award in Stockholm. The agency obtains this desired distinction in the midst of the financial and economic crisis, which has also impacted the PR and communication industry. The fact that OSK manages to achieve satisfactory business results, in spite of the difficult circumstances, is not least due to reinforced activities of the agency in China, the next step of the internationalisation strategy. With Fresenius University Cologne OSK starts a university cooperation. The premium partnership is ratified in summer, and first joint projects are kicked off.
With a newly created team of motion designers at Cologne, OSK extends its portfolio of services by adding the instrument of motion graphics.
In the spring, OSK open their office in Beijing, after New York, the second office abroad. Through this, Oliver Schrott Kommunikation is the first network-independent German PR agency with offices in Asia and America.
For its international communication, Mercedes-Benz Lifestyle starts putting its trust in the expertise of OSK. As a first measure, the agency intensifies contacts between the brand and the worldwide blogger scene, also immediately offering tailor-made event conceptions specifically for this target group. As a new client, the New York Team wins over LAPP, the worldwide supplier of cables, wires and wiring accessories. For the first time agency staff tops the 100 mark: on 31 December 2010, Oliver Schrott Kommunikation has 102 fully-employed staff members, male and female.
In the newly-created Automotive Brand Contest, three projects from Oliver Schrott Kommunikation immediately receive the designation Winner. In May the agency controls the entire press and PR work for the Michelin Challenge Bibendum. At the large-scale event held in Berlin, over 5,000 international companies and research institutions present their technical solutions for the sustainable mobility of the future to some 500 journalists and media representatives.
For Bosch the agency plans, controls and co-ordinates the year-long press and PR work to celebrate 125 Years of Bosch. Following a pitch of several stages, OSK is also chosen to arrange the Tetra Pak presence at the Anuga FoodTech 2012 fair. In addition to the architecture and planning of the booth space of several thousand square metres, OSK was also commissioned with the conceptual contents of the exhibition presence, its overall development and the entire realization of the project. With fees totalling 16.56 million euro, the year ends on a new record high turnover.
For Tetra Pak, OSK designs and implements a trade show fair booth measuring 5,000 square meters for the companys appearance at the anuga FoodTech in Cologne - the largest booth in the history of the packaging specialist as well as the history of the agency. For several months, 20 employees develop topics, content, graphics, booth design and the construction for the complex major project.
In New York, OSK takes over communication for the motorsports involvement of TrueCar.com, the biggest American online service for consulting on everything surrounding a car purchase. In Beijing, the automotive joint-venture Fujian Benz is new on the list of customers.
With the BlogScorer, the OSK social media team develops a tool which allows objective statements on the quality of blogs for the first time. Its foundation is a database with several hundred blogs. These blogs are recorded and analyzed with the help of a comprehensive evaluation and weighting system using over 100 individual criteria.
For LG Electronics, OSK takes responsibility for the communication surrounding its summer fair appearance at gamescom, the biggest public fair worldwide for computer and video games. In addition, OSK becomes the lead agency for Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, the worldwide leading technology specialist for sealing solutions, for whom the agency develops a completely new brand model. Other new entries on the customer list are ThyssenKrupp and the software provider ETAS belonging to Bosch.
OSK becomes involved with the Berlin-based digital agency compuccino, a specialist for digital communications and content logistics. The acquisition of the majority interest creates one of the biggest German providers for multimedia storytelling on all channels - both on- and offline.
A new entry on the customer list is digitalSTROM, a provider of smart home solutions. For the airline airberlin, the OSK social media team develops and organizes customized offers for bloggers and influencers as well as by writing news and stories about the traffic in the sky which also creates quite a bit of traffic on the internet.
With its own communication, OSK emphasizes its digital capabilities and begins its own blog. Here the team of authors highlights current developments from the fields of PR, marketing communications and media as well as trends in technology, economy and industry. Another novelty is the weekly newsletter OSK Weekly with current information and backgrounds on the communications and digital sector.
In January, a short animated film by the OSK motion design team inspires the visitors of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The video featuring two robots discussing the strengths and weaknesses of human beings serves as an entertaining introduction to the keynote by Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche and delights first his guests and later the jury members of several industry awards. Among other prizes, this video is awarded with the prestigious Golden Award of Montreux, another CES film to win the Deutscher PR-Preis (German PR Award).
However, the OSK project of the year becomes the world premiere of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck on the legendary Hoover Dam in the desert of Nevada. For the spectacular maiden-voyage production of the first autonomously-driving truck with road approval, the agency wins eight international communication prizes in total, among them a Golden Apple of the FAMAB Award, the European Excellence Award as well as the Gold SABRE Award. The gigantic projection on the dam wall measuring 39,000 square meters was awarded a Guinness World Record while still on site.