Euro Takes Baby Steps With Wasa

Wasa Crispbread isn’t going to carry Euro RSCG in Chicago back to the forefront of the city’s agencies. But the European brand’s $2 million account offers some interesting creative opportunities and serves as the first small step toward rebuilding the shop, executives said.

“A snowball starts small at the top of the hill,” said the Havas shop’s CCO, Steffan Postaer, who was hired in May but was unable to start until September because of contractual obligations to his former employer, Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett.

Wasa, formerly at WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam, here, made the shift to Euro without a review following the agency’s September addition of group creative director Blake Ebel. (He had worked on the brand in his former job as a cd at Y&R.)

Postaer said he sees parallels between Wasa—a 100-year-old brand (part of Italy’s Barilla) that’s a top seller in Sweden—and Kraft’s Altoids, which he helped put on the map with quirky print and interactive work while at Burnett. “The [low-budget] numbers, the look and feel, the pedigree [of the product] … it’s completely rational to compare this to Altoids,” Postaer said.

Euro in Chicago is being rebuilt from the former Euro RSCG Tatham, which crashed early this year amid client and management defections. Former Y&R executive Ron Bess took over in May as CEO of the agency, which includes below-the-line units in Euro’s 4D Group. Bess said he could not do much on the ad side until Postaer joined in September.

“My time was really focused on getting to know these companies,” explained Bess. “There wasn’t anything to talk about from an advertising standpoint.”

Bess and his cohorts this fall have been busy working past contacts and others for new business. “I think name recognition, an understanding of who we are and what we’re doing—those are the biggest challenges,” Bess said.