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Time to Go on the Offence


Matt Lewis, newly-appointed UK president at Momentum Worldwide on bringing meaning to people's lives, prioritising failure and ending debates like WFH vs office or IRL vs metaverse

Time to Go on the Offence
Having worked at Momentum Worldwide in Canada since 2016, at the start of 2022 Matt Lewis moved to the UK for the first time to become UK & Canada president of the agency.

A few months into his new life in London, LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with Matt to hear about his ambitions for the agency and its clients.

LBB> Congratulations on the new role! How are you feeling about it?

Matt> Thank you. It feels fantastic, with so much creative opportunity. 

Right here, in London, on Liverpool Street, at this perfect cross section of creativity and commerce. 
And now, at a time when we are all ready to get back to experiencing life. We’re all looking for new adventures, new ways to connect, and that is a real opportunity for new thinking. 

With amazing partners that want us to push them more and be leaders of their businesses as we navigate together. 

So yeah, I feel incredibly lucky for my new adventure and I am excited about the creativity the UK has to offer. 

LBB> What are you most excited to get working on at Momentum in the UK?

Matt> To put our focus on the people and the product. Investing in the inputs, not worrying so much about the outputs. For the last two years we’ve been on the defence with everything on hold, and it’s now time to go on the offence and really unleash our creativity once again. That starts with taking care of our people and product. 

I’ve spent time listening to people talk about their passion for ideas, sports, technology and caring more about the world we live in. If Momentum can help them find ways to exploit these passions while working on the best brands in the world, it promises to be both rewarding and fun.  
I’m also excited to learn more about client challenges in the UK, from the biggest problems to the bits they don’t know what to do with. Understanding how they want to show up and finding ways to accelerate their internal mission is all very appealing to me.  

I often reference a quote I heard from Nike’s Mark Parker that, “The best collaborations take each other to places you couldn’t go alone”. We don’t go very far without earning the trust of amazing clients, and we need them to see Momentum as a critical part of that journey. 

LBB> What are your plans for putting more ambition and focus around creativity?

Matt> Exactly that, to put all our focus and energy there. That’s why we’re on the planet, not to throw an event. We’re in the business of solving problems, bringing meaning to people’s lives, and connecting people and brands to create lasting connections. If an event does that, cool; if a shopper campaign does, nice one; but the best campaigns start with an idea. At our core, we believe in acts over ads because we feel that’s what builds authenticity and trust. We don’t need to shout our ideas. It’s much more powerful to show up as a proof point than as a promise. 
We are a creative agency with an experience-first mindset, not an event or shopper agency with a creative department. That has implications for everyone at Momentum, regardless of department.

LBB> What do you want to be prioritising when it comes to the culture at the agency?

Matt> Failure. More specifically, removing fear. Allowing people to bring their whole selves to Momentum. Rewarding intent, not always results.
I want to work with people who care about each other, who see the whole you and empathise with you on your shittiest days. We want clients like that too. Ones that push us to do better work, not over cliffs. That understand that amazing work sometimes leads to awkward meetings. 
We also need to continue to prioritise diversity, both in demographics and thought. We are not there yet, but we’ve made massive improvements by evolving the makeup of our leadership team and partnering with organisations like Brixton Finishing school to support breaking down barriers for underrepresented groups and attracting more diverse talent to our industry. It’s the only way forward, and it will lead us to a more fulfilling culture and better creative work. 

LBB> I understand that innovating hybrid experiences is also a priority. What do you think will be key to get that right with your clients?

Matt> The world is hybrid, and you can work from AYL (anywhere you like). Which hopefully means less polarising conversations about WFH vs office or IRL vs metaverse. It’s now about supporting how employees and consumers prefer to be engaged. 

A massive part of our job is to help our clients understand the speed at which our world is evolving and to ensure we’re creating experiences that meet people where they are. Hybrid experiences are part of the marketing mix for good, and that’s because good ideas don’t live in isolation, they live online, IRL, at the store level and in communities. 

We recently invested in a new partner, The Famous Group, and I am truly excited about collaborating more with that team to blend even more digital and physical experiences at scale.

LBB> What sort of work has Momentum Worldwide done recently that you aspire to do more of?

Matt> We recently collaborated with McCann Worldgroup on a Microsoft project for the Invictus Games. In so many ways, it was the perfect storm of creativity, technology and purpose coming together to create something meaningful. It’s an incredible story that showcases the talent and resilience of veterans who were able to come together to compose a piece of music using Microsoft technology, which was then played with pride at the medal ceremonies.

It's work that really matters. 
It took collaboration amongst our entire agency network to make it great. 
And a client that trusted and committed to it over a three-year journey.

LBB> And more personally, what are your feelings on moving to the UK?

Matt> Feels amazing. The UK is a cultural Mecca; a creative powerhouse in music, arts and culture. As a lead of a creative agency, it’s a very inspiring place to be. I’m also excited for the family adventure. I have two daughters who are four and seven, which feels like the perfect age to bring them along on this journey to experience new people and places and become more well-rounded people. For my partner and me, too. We’ve spent most of our lives in Canada and now get to do something so adventurous as a family that it really feels like the world is our oyster. BTW, she’s an aerospace engineer, just in case you know anyone at Rolls Royce.
Most of all, I truly believe that Momentum UK can evolve to be one of the most creative agencies in the network. I want to create work from here that travels around the globe, makes our partners famous, and maybe even helps make the world a more forgiving and enjoyable place to play. Work that truly matters.

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Momentum London, Wed, 08 Jun 2022 15:54:41 GMT