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180 Kingsday, 6 Months On


CEO Sander Volten and managing director Stephen Corlett reflect on how the merger of 180 Amsterdam and Kingsday is working

180 Kingsday, 6 Months On

Last summer, two of Amsterdam’s most formidable creative forces came together in a union that raised more than a few industry eyebrows. The merger promised an attractive combination to brands - a heady blend of 180 Amsterdam’s international creativity with Kingsday’s cutting-edge digital and social expertise.

Since then the agency has made some high-profile hires and released an arresting campaign for DHL, but they have no doubt been spending time working out how this new relationship will work best for their clients going forward. 

LBB’s Alex Reeves checked in with 180 Kingsday CEO Sander Volten, previously founder and managing director of Kingsday, and Stephen Corlett, managing director at 180 since 2011, to find out what fruits the merger is bearing. 

LBB> What was it about the two agencies that made it a good fit?

Sander Volten> Location - we were only 40 meters away from each other! But on a more serious note, we had worked together on a few projects earlier in the year and so when the discussion became more formal we already knew that the complementary skills could work together. 

Stephen Corlett> It had become clear over the previous year or so that 180's big creative ideas needed to be integrated through the consumer journey rather than across media channels. The big, long, transformative ideas that help brands and businesses grow were going to be as important as ever - but if we couldn't integrate into the operating system of the client, it couldn't get made. Kingsday had this thinking in their DNA - so for 180 it was the piece of the jigsaw we needed.

LBB> How have you settled into the new relationship?

SV> There's a great energy in the building. Everyone can see that things are moving forward - creatively, strategically and on the business side too. 

SC> We seem to have drunk, eaten and danced together a lot - so I would say pretty well.

LBB> What creative outcomes have come from the merger?

SV> We began doing creds and consultant meetings pretty much straight away and it was clear our offering - nimble, no hierarchies and true integration - was something that resonated immediately, especially in a world of big agency networks, TV ad boutiques and digital but creatively dull consultancies.

SC> When we then went into more formal pitch processes we found that our ideas had not only the analytical rigour behind them that gave clients confidence, but they also had more breadth and depth than ever. 

LBB> Have there been any surprises, good or bad?

SV> There's been a fantastic desire for everyone to want to get involved. Social events, internal projects, working together. We know there's still work to be done - you can't magic up a culture - but it's been really reassuring to see the teamship of the group.  

SC> Some of the traditions that both agencies had needed to be brought together. Some things had to be left alone - what was great to see is that there was agreement on what should stay and what should go. One big surprise was how much the 180 people quickly took up the tradition of a sit-down lunch together each day...!


LBB> How has the work you do changed since the merger?

SV> The ambition for the work is that it is famous, human and seamless. We now have the talent and way of working that organises around our client's challenges. 

SC> 180's best work has always been 'BIG'. But now it also needs to be 'small' too. It needs to work brilliantly on TV, posters and through activations but it has to be valuable too on mobile, on a Facebook feed, on an employee intranet. We want to create the ideas people want to have in their lives rather than just a big TV ad with cutdowns for social. 

LBB> What is the best thing you've done as an agency since it happened and why?

SV> Having nearly 1000 people visit us on ADNIGHT was fantastic. We ended up with a huge dance party throughout the building, plus a couple of new client relationships and hires. Pretty good.

SC> I think I speak for everyone when I say that the hiring of Kalle Hellzen as Executive Creative Director and Tiina Salzberg as Executive Strategy Director have been critical in ensuring we are set up for success in 2018 and beyond. We now have the firepower to win any client, of any size, across any market. 

LBB> Anything else you’d like to add?

SV> It's a great group - ambitious, team players and hungry to learn. I'm really excited about the next year - we're talking to clients who excite us, who want 180 thinking and we have a team here that wants to make its mark on the business, the city and the industry on a global scale. 

view more - Trends and Insight
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180 Amsterdam, Thu, 21 Dec 2017 16:12:33 GMT