The True Meaning of Integration.

December 27, 2007

These are my holiday words to the agency. Friends, believe the good news!

While it’s Christmastime, when I look at the brief history of Euro RSCG Chicago, I think about the story of Easter. After all, three years ago, were we not all but dead and buried, even labeled a “corpse?” Bereft of clients. Stoned by our critics. Crucified for and by the sins of our predecessors.

But look at us now. We are reborn, rejuvenated, resurrected. You heard the numbers. But you can see it in each other’s faces, more and more of us everyday. And you can feel it in your bones. We are, indeed, reborn. All of us together, against all odds, a Phoenix rising.

Integration. Unification. Call it what you will. As many of you know I’ve likened it to being on a submarine: We’re at sea. We’re at battle. We’re in this thing together. Because that’s what it’s all about: Working Together. That’s what the word “integration” originally meant before all these holding companies got a hold of it.

Therefore, I’d like to give you my holiday spin on integration…in the form of a parable.

It seems a long time ago, in a great distant valley, the farmers and loggers and hunters gathered under this ancient and leafless tree, everyday at noon, when the sun was most high and the heat was unbearable.

The farmers threw down their bags of apples, giving a snort to the fruitless limbs towering over their heads. “Without any fruit, what good is this tree, anyway?” The loggers shook their heads in agreement. “The old wood from this tree isn’t fit to burn.” The hunters among them also agreed. “Without fruit or places to nest, there are no birds to kill.” They were all unanimous: the tree was worthless. And so it went, for days and years, hundreds of hunters and farmers and loggers, bitching about this lifeless, barren tree.

It never dawned on them that without this great tree they would have had no place to rest their feet or shade their heads. And without this great tree they would never have formed a community, and been able to share their experience, strength and hope…or find out where the fruits were…and the firewood for winter…to learn the tricks of their various trades…

And so here we are, art directors, writers, planners and suits. Working more and more together, more and more everyday. Sharing our experience, strength and hope. And while I’m sure we’re too busy to sit around and complain, do any of us realize how rare community like this is? And how blessed we all are to have it? I know I’m blessed. And I have you and Euro RSCG to thank for it. A few years ago this place was like the island of misfit toys. And now look at us! It’s Christmas and we’ve this great big tree to celebrate it under!

For more tangible proof of our integration we have only to look at one of our very finest creative business ideas in 2007. It was a piece of advertising copy written by an art director who usually works on direct. Effen is a five-letter word, created by Bernardo Gomez.

For more tangible proof that what we have is indeed special, we need only look at out most recent hire…or should I say, rehire: Simon Kao. Having been swept away by the siren song of Leo Burnett, after three tortuous months over there, he is rejoining us on January 3rd.

For more tangible proof of our unified model, we need only to look at all our new business. Are you aware we are working with the University of Illinois? Here’s an ad we did, which ran in yesterday’s paper.

For more tangible proof that what we have is only the beginning, maybe you’ve caught some of our newest work for the Michelob family of beers on national TV…

FYI: Closing remarks intended for internal ears only -SP

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