Born digital: 20 years of Plan.Net

The Plan.Net Group is turning 20 and celebrates its anniversary with a tribute to two decades of Internet. Plan.Net was founded in 1997 and today is one of the largest independent digital agencies in Europe and in more than 25 locations worldwide.

Munich, May 23rd 2017 — Plan.Net Concept and Plan.Net Media were the first agencies of the Plan.Net Group, which were founded in 1997. According to the first website “Plan.Net are two new companies of the ServicePlan Group, offering you a professional full service for interactive applications of any kind.” At that time, not even seven percent of the over fourteen-year-olds of the German population had been using online services. In absolute figures, this was just 4.11 million. Google was founded a year later and social media channels like Facebook (since 2004), YouTube (since 2005) or Twitter (since 2006) were not even in their infancy stages. The first online banner advertising was already around, but due to the low bandwidth, advertising with moving images was far out of reach.

“When Plan.Net was founded in 1997, the online world was completely different from how it is today. However, the marketing industry especially had been very euphoric from the beginning. Everybody at Serviceplan knew that this was not just a short-lived fad, which would soon disappear again. Today, 20 years later, digitization is one of our key growth drivers and Plan.Net was our strongest pillar in the past fiscal year 2015/16 and contributed 26.2 percent of our total sales. In addition, with its range of services as the only digital agency, it provides the entire customer journey from campaign planning and implementation over performance and content marketing up to the development of platforms and e-CRM strategies”, says Florian Haller, CEO of the Serviceplan Group. Furthermore, the service portfolio reaches from consulting, business intelligence and marketing automation over the design and implementation of digital platforms, products and integrated campaigns up to media purchasing and planning. Currently more than 950 employees are working at more than 25 locations for customers such as BSH Hausgeräte, BMW, IKEA, Media Markt, Consorsbank, Reckitt Benckiser and ZDF.

“The Plan.Net Group has continuously expanded their performance portfolio since its founding, so that we can offer our customers the entire spectrum of digital marketing today. Our entrepreneurial organisation structure, comprising independently acting units, has been a guarantee for success since day one. It allows us to flexibly and quickly respond to changes in the market”, says Manfred Klaus, Spokesman of the Management of the Plan.Net Group. “At Serviceplan we consider ourselves a part of the oldest incubator in Germany. People with good ideas, who want to accept responsibility, have always been getting the necessary support”, adds Klaus Schwab, Managing Director at the Plan.Net Group. “Our partner model, which allows committed colleagues the establishment of their own agency, is the best proof. This way we ensure that we remain future-proof as a company in the coming years.” New business areas are first created under the umbrella of the agency group, and when they are successful, they become a stand-alone unit. In this way, Plan.Net Performance emerged from Plan.Net Media in 2011, and in 2012 the E-CRM specialised agency Plan.Net Connect followed. Plan.Net Content Marketing and Plan.Net Business Intelligence were founded in 2015 from existing profit centres in the same fashion. In 2016 PREX Programmatic Exchange launched – like Plan.Net Business Intelligence it is a joint venture of the Plan.Net and Mediaplus Group.

Since then, PREX is responsible for the purchasing, accounting and optimization of all automated campaign components within the Serviceplan Group. With the acquisition of 12snap in 2013, the agency also expanded its expertise around mobile marketing. Furthermore, hmmh, one of Germany’s leading agencies for Connected Commerce, has been part of the Plan.Net Group since 2014.

Also, the Plan.Net Group has not only continually expanded their range of services at the head office in Munich. In addition to other locations in Germany, for example in Cologne, Hamburg or Bremen, Plan.Net has been building its international presence since 2005 on a continuous basis. After founding Plan.Net France in 2005, Plan.Net Suisse followed in 2008, Plan.Net Benelux, Middle East and Austria in 2010, and Plan.Net Italia in 2011 as well as Plan.Net Korea in 2017. Thanks to buying a share in Liquid Campaign in 2011, the group is also present in Moscow, Delhi and Beijing and further cooperations with partner agencies represent it in New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney.

Pioneers of digital innovations

During the past two decades, the Plan.Net Group got many innovations off the ground and have received multiple awards for their work. The digital agency has won more than 300 national and international awards. One of the most successful works include, among other things, the WhatsApp-based language course WhatsGerman (2015), the campaign “HeadsUp!” for AOK (2015), Instagram’s first real sales campaign “Swiss Instagram Takeover” (2013), or “Troy Davis – I am alive“, which was realised in collaboration with Serviceplan Campaign for the non-profit association Alive (2013). Together with BMW Motorrad, Plan.Net Campaign developed “Eye-Ride” in 2014, the first virtual test drive with the help of VR-glasses.  In addition, there are many innovations from the media field: This way Plan.Net Media has developed and implemented countless new advertising means in the past years, like the first three-dimensional online campaign (2004), the first interactive wallpaper (2005), the Dynamic Sitebar (2008) or the Sticky Billboard (2016). In 1998, the agency implemented the first animated advertising medium for the BMW Group. Plan.Net received the first New Media Award in 1999 for their campaign “Herr Metz”.

A look back – Born Digital

To celebrate the 20th birthday, the Plan.Net Group is looking back. Under the theme “Born Digital”, Plan.Net Campaign’s film looks at milestones from two decades of Internet history: the development of novel technologies, emerging and fading trends, the best virals and much more. You can watch the video, along with additional exciting and somewhat curious facts about the history of the Internet at (German only).

“The digital world is changing so fast, even trends, which had kept us busy only a few years ago, are no longer up to date. That’s why we wanted to use the occasion of our anniversary to review this development,” says Markus Maczey, Chief Creative Officer of the Plan.Net Group. “We not only want to celebrate ourselves, but especially all the highlights from the last 20 years. And even if you wouldn’t do a lot of those things any more today, or if you would do them completely differently, it’s the willingness to experiment and the enthusiasm that characterize this entire industry.”

20 years of Plan.Net – Timeline

  • 1997

    Founding of Germany’s first integrated digital agency, bringing together the areas of creation and media: Plan.Net Media, the agency for online media planning and media purchasing, and Plan.Net Concept (later Plan.Net Campaign), agency for online creation and design, are launched.

  • 2002

    mediascale, the agency for integrated data-driven brand and distribution communications, is founded.

  • 2005

    Founding of Plan.Net France.

    Founding of Plan.Net Mobile, a skills area for mobile marketing.

  • 2006

    Serviceplan opens a new office in Hamburg. The new agency is the second location for the group in Germany. In addition to Serviceplan, Mediaplus and Plan.Net Hamburg are also launched.

  • 2007

    Founding of Plan.Net Performance, an agency for search engine optimisation, keyword advertising and affiliate marketing.

  • 2008

    Founding of Plan.Net Suisse in Zurich.

    Founding of Plan.Net Solutions. In addition to design, development and creation, the specialist agency also offers IT and technology services for the implementation of website portals.

  • 2010

    Founding of Plan.Net Benelux in Liège (now moved to Brussels), Plan.Net Middle East in Dubai and Plan.Net Austria in Vienna.

  • 2011

    Founding of Plan.Net Italia in Milan.

    Through its participation in the Liquid Campaign agency group, Plan.Net is now represented in Moscow, Delhi, Beijing and Seoul, as well as being present in New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney through further cooperation with partner agencies.

  • 2012

    The Plan.Net Group founds Plan.Net Connect, a new specialist agency focusing on innovative e-dialogue solutions.

  • 2013

    Manfred Klaus becomes the spokesman for the Plan.Net Group’s management board.

    The Plan.Net Group acquires the mobile marketing agency 12snap and thereby increases in size by a total of 40 employees and the locations Helsinki and Timisoara.

  • 2014

    Net takes over hmmh multimediahaus AG, one of the leading agencies for connected commerce in Germany.

    The Plan.Net Group centralises its technology expertise in the newly founded agency Plan.Net Technology.

  • 2015

    With the newly founded agency Plan.Net Content Marketing, the agency group expands its range of services in the area of ​​content marketing.

    Plan.Net Business Intelligence, a joint venture of Plan.Net and Mediaplus, is launched.

  • 2016

    The Munich digital agencies Plan.Net Solutions and Aquarius Digital join forces: The merged agency Plan.Net Pulse offers a comprehensive range of services for digital solutions. Furthermore Plan.Net Suisse AG joins up with ING AG.

    Mediaplus and Plan.Net bundle together their skills in the area of ​​programmatic advertising and found the joint venture PREX Programmatic Exchange.

    Klaus Schwab becomes Managing Director and Partner and Markus Maczey new Chief Creative Officer of the Plan.Net Group.

  • 2017

    Internationalisation is proceeding: Plan.Net Korea is launched and Plan.Net Italia joins up with Develon Digital.

20 years of Plan.Net – Innovations

  • 1998

    Net creates the first moving picture advertising – at a time when modems still beeped and one had to “target” onto ISDN broadband in order to be able to deliver streaming campaigns. In 1999, the agency won the first New Media Award for the campaign “Mr. Metz” for the BMW Group.

  • 2001

    To launch the Mini in Germany, Plan.Net implements an interstitial ad for the BMW Group for the first time.

  • 2002

    The first website-to-campaign morphing for Weightwatchers goes online.

  • 2003

    Today this is quite normal, at that time it was almost a revolution: At, Plan.Net is now colouring in the background for its customer O2 with the O2 design.

  • 2004

    For its customer BMW, Plan.Net launches the first three-dimensional online campaign and the first expandable advertising media.

  • 2007

    mediascale develops the “N.E.R.O” targeting system for the design and implementation of profile-based campaigns

  • 2008

    Plan.Net Media develops the Dynamic Sitebar as a new advertising format and implements it for Tabasco, including moving images for the first time.

    With the ScreenPlanning model, Plan.Net Media has developed a system for the integrated planning of the two moving picture media – TV and Online, which makes the potentials of both channels practically accessible

  • 2010

    Plan.Net Mobile develops LEGO Duplo’s first touch-sensitive advertising solution for smartphones.The flash technology on smartphones allows the LEGO Duplo giraffe to be “stroked”.

  • 2012

    Plan.Net Media and Mediaplus launch a new planning approach “PagePlanning”, a system for integrated planning of print and online display advertising.

    Plan.Net Media develops the “Brand.Impact Report,” an analysis program that quickly and efficiently demonstrates the cognitive impact of online campaigns – beyond clicks and orders.

  • 2013

    Net Connect develops a tool for easy, fast and efficient development of newsletters and emails.

    This tool has been rolled out internationally by customers within a few months, and is used by more than ten customers in the meantime.

  • 2016

    PREX allows programmatic addressable TV campaigns for the first time.

    With the “Sticky Billboard”, Plan.Net Media develops a new visibility-optimised advertising format standard.

Successful works from 1997 until today

WhatsGerman (2015)

SWISS – Instagram Takeover (2013)

Serviceplan & Plan.Net

Alive e. V. – Troy Davis is alive (2013)

Serviceplan & Plan.Net

UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe – #dreamon (2014)

Serviceplan & Plan.Net

AOK – HeadsUp! (2015)

Serviceplan & Plan.Net

BMW Motorrad – Eye Ride (2014)

First Moving Picture Advertising – 1998

BMW Group – Herr Metz

First Website-to-Campaign-Morphing – 2002

Weight Watchers

First Expandable Advertising – 2004

BMW Group

First Three-Dimensional Online Campaign – 2004

BMW Group

First Dynamic Sitebar – 2008


First Mobile-Outdoor-Interations-Campaign – 2006


First Touch-Sensitive Advertising Solution for Smartphones – 2010

Lego Duplo

First Sticky Billboard – 2016

New visibility-optimized advertising