How our agency experiences and contributes to half a century of change

Bell-bottoms, mustaches, and long hair adorn the people, and rotary phones, typewriters, and ashtrays adorn the offices. The founding year of RosenbauerSolbach is both in the last millennium and in another world. But while 1970 still smells of leaded gasoline and cigarette smoke, change is already in the air.

A new era is dawning for Germany — and for two guys in Hamburg

The era of the postwar “economic miracle” ended in the 1970s. Domestic demand was saturated, new production methods reduced the amount of work, unemployment rates rose, and incomes fell. The then social–liberal coalition fought the first economic crisis after the end of the Second World War. What a time to found an advertising agency! Today we say thanks, dear Gregor and dear Hannes, because it was your courage and enthusiasm that made us one of the most renowned B2B communication agencies in Germany.

All that glitters isn’t B2B, yet

During our first 20 years, RosenbauerSolbach was not yet purely B2B. Until the 1990s, our focus was on B2C communication with food producers, some recruiting agencies, and a lot of electronics manufacturers. When we browse through the archives, our eyes light up not only with nostalgia but also with tears of laughter at the now-comical aesthetics.

Electronic products will continue to shape the development of the agency, namely the ultimate specialization in B2B. After all, besides regular consumer electronics, many of the products advertised were complex and in need of explanation. They were the technologically groundbreaking innovations of their time, from the Hexaglot pocket translator to Dr. Neuhaus’s data-transmission technology to Microsoft’s FoxPro, a RAD programming environment. We thus have experienced and accompanied the earliest phases of digitization (which was not called that at that time).

During the early nineties, the decision was made to specialize in B2B in the future because with each new briefing, one thing became clearer to us: the more technical and in need of explanation a product is, the more we are in our comfort zone. We are good at this, and we enjoy it.

Say “Moin Moin” to RosenbauerSolbach – B2B specialists

With the turn of the millennium, marketing communication finally gained a new channel: online – mainly in the form of advertising banners. The fact that the dot-com bubble burst after a short, ecstatic period of growth did not detract from the further development of the digital sphere. In the meantime, a whole new dimension had to be included as a communicator: the recipients. They added a new and unpredictable level to the ongoing campaign with immediate and unfiltered feedback, in comment threads, forums, blogs, and their own websites. (With the mass use of social media, about ten years later, this factor was growing to the extreme.)

During this time, we worked for large tech and fintech clients such as Tecis AG (for whom we invented the term “financial wellness”) and Ision Internet AG.

„Bei RS surft der Webentwickler mit dem Geschäftsführer auf einer Welle – und das sprichwörtlich bei mindestens 20 Knoten. Ganz Besonders ist es, mit Team und Kunde Preise auf dem Effie entgegenzunehmen.“

„Obwohl die Agentur für mich ein Zwischenhalt ist, bei dem die Weiterfahrt feststeht, fühle ich mich dank der wirklich tollen Menschen fast daheim. Danke RS!“

„Wenn man in der Werbung 50 Jahre lang besteht, dann ist man wohl das Einhorn unter den Agenturen und wenn man dann noch das Etikett B2B Pur dran hängt – wahrscheinlich sogar die Sonderedition davon. Wie man so alt wird? Ich glaube, vor allem durch Mut und Kollegen, die Lust haben gemeinsam mit dir neue Sachen auszuprobieren. Und ja, das kann man bei uns ziemlich gut.“

„Erstmal, herzlichen Glückwunsch! 50 Jahre, das ist etwas sehr Besonderes. Dann, herzlichen Dank! Für das erfolgreiche Spannungsfeld der Namensgeber. Für das sehr menschliche Miteinander, die freundschaftliche Zusammenarbeit, die Musketier-Philosophie (Einer für Alle, Alle für Einen), die flache Hierarchie.“

„Als ich als Freelancer zum Team kam, gab es keine 3D oder Motion Unit: RosenbauerSolbach hat mich zu meinen Konditionen aufgenommen und mich machen lassen – und nun haben wir alle etwas davon. Ich bin froh, ein Teil der Firmengeschichte zu sein und gemeinsam mit RS im Haus Bilder und Filme zu produzieren, die sich zur Gründung der Agentur niemand hätte vorstellen können. In 10 Jahren haben sich die Firmen - und persönliche Biographie miteinander verwoben und ich hoffe, es werden noch einige weitere Jahrzehnte.“

„50 Jahre – 1 Jahr dabei!“

„Als RosenbauerSolbach bereits über 8 Jahre lang existiert kommt ein zukünftiger Texter zur Welt, Moi. Bald darauf – schlappe 38 Jahre später – ist er auch schon an Bord, Ta-da. Er behält das Tempo bei und 4 Jahre später kommt er zu dem Schluss: Werbung machen hat nie mehr Sinn und Spaß gemacht, als im technokratisch-substanziomatisch-wissenschaftiopathisch geprägten B2B. Voilà.“

„50 Jahre RS – was sagst Du dazu? Oder, was war in den vielen Jahren für mich bei RS besonders bemerkenswert? Seit 1991 war für mich jedes Jahr etwas Besonderes. Ich möchte dennoch die Zeit nicht zurückdrehen und freue mich immer wieder auf Neues. Das macht ja unseren Job aus – neugierig sein und sich immer wieder in neue Themen einarbeiten und dazulernen.“

And another topic begins to dominate the economic discourse: environmental protection. Sustainability, climate protection, and fair trade have become buzzwords and imperatives at the same time. At Expo 2000, the balance between man, nature, and technology dominated the presentations for the first time.

Suitable for a new age with new coordinates. To this day, we count Siemens Gamesa (formerly Siemens Wind Power) among our customers as well as Tesvolt, a supplier of highly innovative battery storage systems for trade and industry.

There were also a lot of changes within the agency. In 2006, as the number and size of customers were growing along with the number of employees, it was time to expand in terms of real estate. We left the Schanzenviertel for Winterhude and opened up our new B2B headquarters in Moohrfurtweg. Our new cruising altitude was reflected in a true first-off project in 2007: naming and redesigning an entire aircraft as a communication medium. The A319 named “Hamburg Shopper” advertised the metropolitan city of Hamburg as a shopping destination.

Finally, in 2013 the generational change at the top, which had been carried out step by step, was completed. The founders, Gregor Rosenbauer and Hannes Solbach, handed over the scepter in the form of shares and management to Thilo Schirmer, Peter Mattmüller, and Maurice de La Bastide.

Excited how things will go on?

So are we. Renewable energies, responsibility, and a secure future are more important to us than ever. This also applies to ourselves, as the COVID-19 crisis has confronted us with unprecedented challenges.

Over the last 20 years we have grown steadily, and there is hardly any industry or product in the B2B sector to which we haven’t had contact with in the course of our communication work.

We are also curious to see where the communication mix will take us. Today, it is enormous compared to 1990. Back then, you could roll out a campaign with five experts, whereas today, you need the special skills of at least ten to serve all channels.

One thing is for certain: things will remain exciting. And the most exciting thing for us is always the present because now we are challenged to learn new skills, to adapt existing ones, to advise customers in this respect, and to think outside the box. We are constantly pushed out of our comfort zone, sometimes by economic developments and sometimes by technological innovations. And that’s exactly what we enjoy doing because our endless curiosity drives us and takes us further. Occasionally it even brings us awards; in addition to GWA Profi awards, we now even have an Effie in gold. This makes us proud and motivates us to do more.









Take a short journey through time with us. We would like to introduce you to the pearls from our archive. Not all of them are award winning, but they are for sure worthy of admiration, if only for their nostalgic entertainment value, which cannot be weighed in gold. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram