SapientNitro expands into the Middle East

April 26, 2010

SapientNitro has expanded into the Middle East following its winning of the global account for Galaxy late last year.

The agency has opened an office in Dubai Media City, enabling it to more effectively service its Galaxy account in the region following last September’s re-shuffle of agency partners at the confectionary giant Mars.

The agency’s executive business growth director and general manager of the Dubai operation, Paige Kilburn, said that SapientNitro had been thinking of opening an office in the region for years and was waiting for the right partners and reasons. “The GCC market represents the fourth largest for the Galaxy brand and this was a key factor in the decision to set up in Dubai,” she said.

According to Kilburn, the small team working out of Dubai will concentrate on servicing the Galaxy account for the next six months, after which she will also focus on the acquisition of new business. “We’ve basically been looking for a reason to get into this market, and now that we’re here and we’ve got a sizeable piece of business it can really get us off the ground and [we can] recruit a core team. We’ll be looking to leverage other global relationships and establish local relationships as well,” she said.

Kilburn, who is originally from New Zealand, was with BBDO for five years in Auckland before moving to TBWA\London to handle Galaxy UK & Europe. She transferred to TBWA\Raad in November 2008 to run the Mars business, before leaving earlier this year to join SapientNitro and handle the new office set-up and the transition of the Galaxy business into the agency.

Sapient started as an IT consultancy in the US in 1991 and in June last year acquired ad agency Nitro for $50 million, leading to Nitro’s rebranding as SapientNitro. Nitro, which was founded by Australian Chris Clarke in Shangai, is best known as the agency behind Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best job in the world’ campaign, which won two grand prixs at last year’s Cannes Lions. The campaign, which saw a competition to decide who would win the caretakership of Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, was the work of Nitro’s Australian shop, Cummins Nitro.

D&AD judging hit by volcanic ash

April 19, 2010

The volcanic ash spewing out of Iceland and shutting down airports across Europe has had a knock-on effect on this year’s D&AD judging.

Numerous judges have been unable to reach London to participate in the judging, which begins today. In a statement issued this morning, D&AD said that it had a two-pronged contingency plan. Wherever possible, it will set up remote voting to enable judges unable to travel to London to cast their votes. It also has a bank of reserve judges based in the UK that will be able to replace those unable to attend or participate remotely.

Tim O’Kennedy, CEO of D&AD, said: “D&AD judging takes place from 19-22 April in London and we have been monitoring the situation closely since flight restrictions first came into place last Thursday. Judging will go ahead as planned and we have instigated a two-pronged contingency plan.

“All affected jurors have been contacted to discuss options and to establish a plan of action. We will retain the integrity of D&AD judging and will not proceed with anything that we feel undermines this. We will continue to keep judges and entrants informed of developments over the coming days.”

A volcanic ash cloud from Iceland is currently spread across the UK and much of the rest of Europe, bringing travel chaos.