All you need is one account, in Albion’s case it’s Air New Zealand

Small London agency Albion is to open an office in LA (Albion West Coast) for Air New Zealand, its biggest account in the UK.

This might seem quite a tenuous basis on which to build an international business but, the evidence is, it works.

The world’s hottest agency Wieden + Kennedy has succeeded in challenging the big marcoms groups because it’s always had a firm foundation; the Nike account.

Way back the likes of Interpublic were built on McCann Erickson’s hold on the Exxon and Coca-Cola accounts, as were WPP agencies JWT and Ogilvy with Ford.

Kept at a slight remove these relationships work. Bring it closer, as WPP tried to do by setting up the short-lived Enfatico to service Dell and Jaguar Land Rover is now trying to do wholly-owned with Spark 44, and you seem to get problems.

Other clients don’t mind much if the agency is dependent on one big account (they know they’ll get a good deal as the creatives will insist they take on other business).

It’s a different matter entirely if they’re invited to join a custom-made client agency, as Enfatico found.

Well good luck to Albion and founder Jason Goodman. It’s a good name (it begins with ‘A’ for a start which gets you to the head of the directories) and it’s good to see an independent with big ambitions.

But LA is a highly competitive market and it’s not going to be that easy to woo other West Coast advertisers.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.