Spark44, the global network launched in 2011 to serve Jaguar Land Rover, confirmed that it will shutter its Los Angeles office next month as part of a move to consolidate all U.S. operations in New York.
Both the company, which describes itself as “the first global client/agency joint venture model,” and its primary client, Jaguar Land Rover, said there has been no official change in their global relationship.
“As you know, agencies are always having to flex to best meet the needs of their clients. We are currently consolidating our U.S. presence into our office in New York, where our clients Jaguar Land Rover, Master & Dynamic and Eight O’Clock Coffee are based. This means we will close our L.A. office in April,” said a company representative.
It is unclear at this time how many will be affected; Spark44 currently employs more than 1,000 staffers around the world. The spokesperson said North American managing director Tony Hobley is managing the consolidation and that the agency will be “looking at redeployment as well as redundancy, where that makes sense.”
Creative leadership within the organization has not been affected.
“No doubt there are always changes in the business, especially in [the] current automotive industry climate,” wrote a client representative, adding that the majority of Spark44’s North American operations are now located in New York, which is far closer to Jaguar Land Rover’s headquarters in Mahwah, N.J.
The sources who brought this development to our attention also claimed that the client recently issued an RFP to several other agencies for the Jaguar brand.
Regarding that matter, the client representative wrote, “We do have discussions with other agencies or vendors on one-off project ideas,” but said any moves on the business did not “equate to more than that.”
Spark44 came to life in 2011 when Jaguar, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, fired Euro RSCG (now Havas) and created its own operation. It is jointly owned by both agency and client.
The resulting organization describes its founding concept as “simple yet industry shattering,” and it has since expanded from its London home base to 17 countries. In 2015, it also absorbed the Land Rover business as the client terminated its relationship with a WPP network consisting of Y&R, Wunderman and Ogilvy.
Jaguar Land Rover currently faces significant financial struggles, losing $354 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 and laying off 10 percent of its global workforce, or approximately 4,000 employees. The company recently cited slowing sales in China, but Automotive News Europe reported in February that the blame truly lies with quality control problems stemming from before Tata bought JLR from Ford in 2008.
The Guardian and others also reported last week that the company, which is Britain’s largest auto manufacturer, would have to recall 44,000 cars after tests revealed that their carbon dioxide emissions levels were higher than previously certified.
Spark44 is currently hiring in New York.