After a relatively quiet period following its acquisition by WPP Group for $540 million last year, AKQA's executives popped up in New York on Friday to deliver what the digital agency described as an “experiment” in reaching out to clients and the media.
“We wanted to give back to our customers by sharing with them ideas and trends that we think are having an impact on consumers,” AKQA Marketing Manager Simone Schiefke told AdExchanger.
As part of a roadshow that began in London and will possibly head to San Francisco, AKQA founder and CEO Ajaz Ahmed met with several other executives at the Crosby Hotel and covered the growing importance of mobile commerce, “touch” technology and the concept of apps overtaking TV viewership in a presentation that included a dose of strategy tips.
“One of the things we believe great organizations do is democratize things from the elite,” Ahmed said. “They also take the ‘pain’ away by making what’s complex simple and counter balanc[ing] creativity and experimentation with good systems and operational excellence.” The clients that AKQA highlighted included Nike, Microsoft and Google.
Since being scooped up by WPP Group, AKQA has grown to 1,400 employees, up from about 1,100 in 2012. The company generated $250 million in revenue last year. Little has changed in day-to-day operations under its new parent, according to Creative Chief Officer and Vice President Rei Inamoto.
“WPP leaves us alone. If they were to tell us 'Here’s what you need to do,' that wouldn’t be what they bought,” Inamoto commented. “I think they liked the direction we were going in, and the direction we can help WPP take.”