AKQA is a widely admired digital agency with a broad international presence. It captured a succession of Agency of the Year accolades on both sides of the Atlantic for much of the 2000s, and was was one of the last major privately owned shops in its sector until acquired by WPP for around $540m. The agency has maintained a much lower profile ever since, certainly by comparison with such peers as R/GA or Huge. AKQA offers a full range of services including web design, strategic consultancy, online advertising and media and new mobile platforms. The shop is especially noted for its design skills, and is regarded as one of the top two or three agencies worldwide for digital creativity. AKQA describes it as "the imaginative application of art and science". Among other strengths, it was for several years one of the busiest designers of software apps for Apple's iPhone and iPad on behalf of multiple clients. Increasingly these were not so much marketing projects, but mainstream digital design and publishing jobs. The agency was founded in London in 1995 by Ajaz Ahmed - AKQA are the initials of his full name - but effectively transferred its HQ to the US in 2001 after a private equity-funded merger with three American agencies. WPP acquired majority control of the business in 2012. AKQA's global footprint has expanded significantly since then. There are now 21 offices in 14 countries. AdAge estimated global revenues of $303m in 2018. Ajaz Ahmed remains CEO.
Capsule checked 10th July 2019
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Historical profile information for AKQA
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Jun 2019: Only three days in, and Nike collected its fourth grand Prix of the 2019 Cannes Lions with a clever Media campaign in Brazil, coordinated by AKQA and Wieden & Kennedy. AKQA got local graffiti artists to spraypaint an exclusive custom-designed pair of Nike Air Max trainers onto their work in different areas of Sao Paulo. Nike then told customers they could order the limited edition shoes via their app, but only from the location of the graffiti. A GPS signal from their smartphones confirmed their positions and opened a special ordering page in the app. AKQA collected a second Grand Prix in Entertainment for Music with a short film to promote the album 'Bluesman' by Brazilian rapper Baco Exu do Blues.
Adbrands Social Media 23rd Apr 2019: "See It In Prizm". Luxottica's Oakley brand unveiled a spectacular new promo, created by the Paris outpost of AKQA. The brand has assembled a team of mostly lower-level but still highly accomplished athlete ambassadors. The best known, in the US especially, are probably the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge and Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes II. But there's strong support from, among others, skydiver and stuntman Mike Escamilia, MotoGP's Valentino Rossi, and skateboarding champion Ryan Sheckler. Isn't it great what you can achieve with the right pair of shades! (Our own criticism: the final film is more than a little male-dominated).
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jun 2018: Admired digital agency AKQA, a unit of WPP, took steps to widen its offering still further with the acquisition of majority holdings in two companies based in London, the architecture and interior design practice Universal Design Studio and industrial design consultancy Map Project Office. Both businesses were launched and run by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who will remain on their respective boards.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Sep 2015: There were a number of abrupt changes at WPP-owned digital agency AKQA, including the departure of global chief creative officer Rei Inamoto and New York general manager Rem Reynolds. According to Agency Spy, the changes have been prompted by weaker than expected new business performance and declines in global revenue. Inamoto's successor has yet to be named. The New York office will be led by Giles McCormack, previously international managing director.
Adbrands Weekly Update 19th Mar 2015: US airline Delta consolidated digital duties with AKQA, shifting website management from incumbent Razorfish.
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