Do creative agencies travel? The jury’s out: obviously the likes of Interpublic’s McCann, Omnicom’s BBDO and TBWA have, as had WPP’s JWT and Y&R before their recent demise. But they’re supported by ad holding companies which, in turn, are mainly drive by media these days.
Wieden+Kennedy has outposts around the world (although the firepower still seems to be in Portland and, increasingly, New York.) The likes of Mother and BBH (before its absorption into Publicis Groupe) tried the US, with varying degrees of success. The pre-Publicis Saatchi & Saatchi tried to buy its way into New York – at ruinous cost. Does anyone remember Bates, which cost a then-spectacular $500m?
Germany’s independent Jung von Matt has successfully gone its own way. Founded in 1991 in Hamburg, it now has 34 offices in 10 countries including the US, China, South Korea as well as Europe but, until now, no expensive London outpost.
Now it has, recruiting a team headed by MD Rob Conibear together with ECDs Charlie Hurst and Marcos Gemal (below with other team members) who have all been at good agencies although hardly household names (not many in adland are these these days.) A reason, presumably, is the need to service founding UK client Vauxhall/Opel.
MD Conibear says: “Jung von Matt is still 100% independent and you can feel that in the culture. There is a freedom to explore new ways to get to great work. We’re excited to be adding a London point of view to that. We are looking for brands that are at a pivot point and genuinely want to change.”
JVM joint CCOs Daniel Schaefer and Szymon Rose say: “To open up shop in London is just the logical next step for us as an agency. It’s such a hotbed for creative thinking and a second-to-none talent pool that it’s kind of unbelievable that we haven’t done this before. Having worked there for many years, we’re super excited to bring some of that London energy to the Jung von Matt family.”
Not entirely sure about all of that, flattering all the same.
London needs some creative energy and JVM joins other newbies including Special from New Zealand and Joan from the US. Importantly, it’s shown it can be creative and independent at scale. With little or no growth in the market though the UK is still a tough call.