Despite its comparatively small size, 180 has ranked as one of the leading creative boutiques in Europe since its foundation in 1998 in Amsterdam by a group of ex-pat Americans and Brits. Co-founders Alex Melvin and Chris Mendola had previously been employees of Wieden & Kennedy's Amsterdam office before setting up on their own. Their experience with Nike (and before W&K with Reebok) helped them to win work from Adidas, and for several years, the newly launched 180 enjoyed a productive alliance with Omnicom, working with TBWA on the Adidas global account. In 2006, it teamed up with BBDO to win joint custody of the US Sony Electronics account. That eventually led to the agency's acquisition by Omnicom a year later, and the launch of a second office in Los Angeles. Increasingly, over the next few years, the two separate offices began to go their own separate ways and in 2017 180 Amsterdam merged with local independent Kingsday under the latter's leadership team and rebranded as 180 Kingsday. The latter tag was dropped in 2021 and the agency reverted to 180 Amsterdam. There is also an affiliated agency in China 180, which operates separately. In 2021, the agency announced the opening of three new offices - one in New York and two more in the Middle East in Dubai and Doha. The agency also acquired content agency RE-UP, which was relaunched in 2021 as luxury specialist 180 Luxe. Al Moseley, in Los Angeles, is global chairman and chief creative officer. Sander Volten leads the Amsterdam office, and is global CEO. AdAge estimated revenues of $57m in 2020, of which the US business contributed a little over half. Tragically, Alex Melvin died in 2011 at the age of just 53. Chris Mendola left the business in 2016 to launch investment consultancy Brand Equity Partners.
Capsule checked 16th June 2020
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Historical snapshot information for 180
Adbrands Social Media 17th Jan 2019: "Like Never Before". Qatar Airways really pushed out the boat - as it were - for this lavishly produced, effects-heavy new global campaign from Omnicom's 180 Kingsday in Amsterdam. Privately controlled Middle Eastern airlines Qatar and Emirates are really pulling the rug from under the feet of Europe's longer-established flagbearer carriers. Seriously, who these days would put up with the shop-worn cost-cutting of British Airways when you can get better long-haul service and value from Qatar? This is arguably the airline's most Western-facing campaign to-date. BA and others, beware.
Adbrands Social Media 16th May 2018: "Hold My Beer". Amstel - the *other* Dutch beer in the Heineken portfolio - doesn't get the kind of coverage enjoyed by its more famous sibling. Shame really, because it's a fine beer, and agency 180 Kingsday (the former 180 Amsterdam) has turned out some excellent ads in its honour. We've featured several on these pages before. Here's the latest, like its predecessors celebrating Amstel's symbolic role as a form of social glue that binds friends together. In this case, for a little longer than strictly necessary...
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Jun 2017: 180 Amsterdam, the head office of Omnicom's BBDO-aligned micro-network, has merged with local rival Kingsday, to create 180 Kingsday. Kingsday's Sander Volten becomes CEO of the combined Dutch agency, while 180's local leader and global creative chief Al Moseley moves to a new role as international president, overseeing the offices in Los Angeles and China.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th July 2016: Ads of the Week: "Pass It On". The latest spot for Heineken-owned Amstel beer, from 180 Amsterdam, is a real gem. The set-up is charming, as a group of widely different Dutch men and women pass on from one to another a glass of Amstel that has been poured for specifically for their friend Alex, in a series of increasingly absurd situations. After that lengthy preamble, I think it's safe to say that you genuinely won't expect the ad's richly emotional punchline. A fine piece of work.
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Jun 2016: The well-deserved Grand Prix for Good in the main Cannes Lions 2016 festival went to 180 LA's moving and atmospheric "Unfairy Tales" for UNICEF, telling the story of Syrian child refugees through personal testimony and superb animation. The first of these films, Malak & The Boat was the main prizewinner.
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