New social media agency: launch of Bagels of Berkeley

With "Bagels of Berkeley," Publicis Groupe Switzerland is expanding its portfolio with a team of proven social media experts. In an interview with, "Master Baker" Luciano Hagge Dias and "Bagel Stuffer" Rahel Dürsteler reveal their plans - and which brands are already using their services.

"Master Baker" Luciano Hagge Dias and "Bagel Stuffer" Rahel Dürsteler speak at the about the launch of the agency "Bagels of Berkeley". Image: zVg. With "Bagels of Berkeley," Switzerland officially has a new social media agency as of today. What sets you apart from the companies that already exist in this field?

Rahel Dürsteler: To be honest, we certainly have some things in common with our colleagues in the social media agencies. We all pursue the same goal - namely, to create fantastic social content for our customers. One subtle difference is that Bagels of Berkeley is part of the Publicis Groupe and therefore networked worldwide. This means that we can benefit from the de facto knowledge of our 80,000 colleagues in technology, creation and the like. I can't think of any other agency in Switzerland that can offer that.


What market needs are you responding to by starting your business? 

Luciano Hagge Dias: The demand from our customers for social media content has grown strongly. Of course, we didn't just start working in this area yesterday. With the creation of Bagels of Berkeley, we are putting social media at the center of marketing activities within Publicis Groupe, rather than just offering it as an option or supplement to other channels. This allows us to focus even more specifically and, most importantly, to evolve more quickly. Our team also gets the opportunity to create social media content with more freedom and even more passion. We think that's great.


In your own estimation, where do your strengths lie?

Luciano Hagge Dias: We offer everything brands need for a successful social media presence, from strategy and media planning to content production with or without influencers and community management. Customers can put together their "perfect menu" from the complete range of services. The cooperation within Publicis Groupe also allows the team to be scaled up immediately as needed, so that large projects can be implemented quickly and with power. This means that every brand can find something to suit its own taste.


Your name sounds more like a hip bakery in Zurich's Kreis 3 or 4 than an agency. Where does it come from?

Rahel Dürsteler: We were looking for an authentic, concise name that would reflect our attitude and be associated with our services. With this task in mind, we took a quick trip across the hall to our Brand Specialists at MetaDesign. What we found was the beautiful story of a counterculture in hip Berkeley that gave the record store "Leopold's Records" a unique computer terminal: "Community Memory." It was connected to a mainframe database via a landline phone and could digitally store all kinds of information like questions, tips and tricks to help the community. Like a bulletin board - only better and interactive. To this day, this "program" is considered the forerunner of modern social media platforms. One of the first questions to go "viral" thanks to the system was, "Where can I find the best bagels in Berkeley?" Fascinating story, terrific name, no?!

"Bagels of Berkeley" starts with a motivated team: Peter van der Touw, Iona Jefferies, Rahel Dürsteler, Aurore von Oppersdorff, Tatjana Streit and Luciano Hagge Dias (l.t.r.). (Image: zVg.)

Agency business is "people business. You don't scale up slowly, but go straight to the start with five employees. Tell us a little more about your team? 

Rahel Dürsteler: There was no scaling, but a coming together. We leverage our strength and combine the social media expertise that was spread throughout the group and bring everyone to the table with a new brand.

Luciano Hagge Dias: Rahel has always been our "social media lighthouse". It was the obvious choice to build the team with her talent and flair. Iona has also been with us for a long time and is the go-to person when it comes to digital media planning and buying. Tatjana and Aurore joined our social team last year as content specialists. As I said, the demand from our clients for concepts and content, especially for social media, has grown strongly.

Rahel Dürsteler: Lu has years of experience as an entrepreneur in consulting and developing branding projects, digital marketing and online strategies. We were also able to rely on the conceptual support of Peter van der Touw and the whole management team to pave the way and implement the project.


You already have a number of clients in your portfolio - including vehicle manufacturers such as Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep; but also F&B brands such as Heineken, Birra Moretti, Calanda, Eichhof and accounts such as Migrolino. Does this already indicate a thematic focus for the agency, or do you also want to address clients beyond these industries?

Luciano Hagge Dias: We want to make our "brain food" and "snackable content" accessible to as many different customers and industries as possible. Our customers are as diverse as our team. From fast cars to Swiss airplanes and banking to washing machines, we've already had the pleasure of getting to know other industries. But yes, we like to drink. Especially beer.


You've said it yourself several times: Bagels of Berkeley is part of the Publicis network. What will the collaboration with your colleagues within Switzerland's largest agency group look like? 

Luciano Hagge Dias: We see ourselves at Stadelhofen as one big patchwork family living together in one house. We are the young, cheeky cousin of the family who has just moved in. Publicis Groupe Switzerland is lucky to have very specialized agencies across the entire communications spectrum - from production, creation, UX, to branding and media. Now our clients and colleagues have a new fixed star in the Groupe universe to turn to: Bagels of Berkeley.


It is becoming increasingly difficult - even in social media - to retain the attention of users and to convert them. With which "baking mix" do you want to react to this fact?

Rahel Dürsteler: In addition to flour, salt, baking soda and authenticity, it takes courage to expand and reinterpret communication. We consider a handful of continuity, a big pinch of entertainment and a direct, personal communication to the users as essential. In addition, we are convinced that unconventional brainstorming sessions can often lead to the greatest successes - for example, while eating a few sandwiches by the lake.

About the agency: "Bagels of Berkeley" is a new agency in Zurich specializing in social media. It is part of the Publicis Groupe Switzerland network and thus the largest agency association in the country. The agency is led by Rahel Dürsteler and Luciano Hagge Dias; also part of the start-up team are Iona Jefferies, Aurore von Oppersdorf and Tatjana Streit. They have all previously served in various roles within Publicis Groupe - and now come together as part of the new agency brand. Bagels of Berkeley counts Astara, Heineken, Birra Moretti, Calanda, Eichhof and Migrolino among its client:inside portfolio right from the start.

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