AKQA, Nike Create French Connection

Digital agency to open Paris office

Thanks to Nike, AKQA’s Parisian dream is coming true. Adweek’s 2011 Digital Agency of the Year is opening an office in the Saint Germain quarter of the city, fueled by new business from the sports brand, a client of 12 years, and the shop’s largest.

AKQA will be Nike France’s “key digital agency,” said Nike brand manager Manuel Douchez, and will be oriented toward helping better tap into the country’s booming e-commerce and smartphone markets. That will include work around the brand’s sponsorship of the national soccer team, announced early last year, and projects for the upcoming European Football Championships that will take place in June.

Paris is AKQA’s eighth office, and first new location since setting up shop in Berlin in 2010. It’s also the realization of the agency’s longtime desire to build a presence in the French capital. “It’s an incredible market for growth,” said founder and chairman Ajaz Ahmed, who, like Douchez, describes the vision for Paris in ambitious terms. It’s “a digital renaissance,” he said.

The agency plans to add 50 staffers by the end of 2012 and has hired Peter Lund and Nicolai Smith from Ogilvy & Mather as creative leads. And while AKQA’s primary focus will be on Nike, it’s also eyeing others brands in the City of Light.

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