AKQA Starts New York Outpost

NEW YORK AKQA is opening an outpost here in November, hiring Framfab’s Lars Bastholm as its executive creative director.

The office starts with at least one client: Energy Brands, maker of Glaceau’s Smartwater and Vitaminwater. AKQA landed Web site development duties from the Whitestone, N.Y.-based company last week without a review.

The shop is currently pitching a technology and financial-services account; if won, those assignments would go to New York.

Bastholm, 35, a self-described “movie buff,” has been a creative director at Framfab in Copenhagen, Denmark, for seven years, overseeing creative for clients like LEGO, Carlsberg Breweries and Coca-Cola.

Under Bastholm’s stewardship, Framfab garnered numerous awards primarily for Nike, including three Cannes Cyber Grand Prix, six Clios and three One Show Interactive Pencils. AKQA also works with Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike.

New York is the fifth location for AKQA, which has 317 employees across its San Francisco headquarters and London, Singapore and Washington, D.C., offices. The outpost will begin with about six staffers, with a managing director to be named soon.

“New York is the center of the advertising industry and as a global agency it makes sense for AKQA to launch an office in New York,” said AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarre in a statement. “Our goal is to attract additional global brands, such as Nike and Visa.”

AKQA claimed revenue of $36 million in 2003, up 20 percent from the year before, and expects revenue to jump 14 percent this year to $41 million.