AKQA is a digital agency that specialises in creating digital services
and products. It employs 2,100 staff globally.
AKQA has offices in Europe (Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Gothenburg,
London, Milan, Paris, Venice, Aarhus), North America (Atlanta, New
York, Portland, San Francisco, Washington, D.C.), South America (São
Paulo), Asia (Gurgaon, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo) and Australasia
Melbourne and Sydney).
2 Awards and recognition
4 External links
AKQA was founded in 1994 in
London by Ajaz Ahmed and James Hilton.
In 2001, the company became
AKQA Holdings Inc. after an investment of
$70 million by
Francisco Partners and Accenture, with
San Francisco as
its new headquarters and four offices in the UK, US and Asia. In the
same year, Nike Run London, a new branded sports format with 10,000
runners taking part was launched by
AKQA for Nike. A year later, in
London sold over 20,000 places in a few hours using an
e-commerce platform designed by AKQA.
AKQA created ideashappen.com in collaboration with Visa USA
and MSN. The platform asked people to submit entrepreneurial and
community-based ideas. During its first month, the campaign
attracted one million visitors. The agency also launched Nike Presto
online with a collective of post-graffiti artists, where users could
interact with art, sound and hidden animation.
In 2004, the New York office opened to increase access to East Coast
clients and talent.
AKQA also published
AKQA Ideas: Volume 1,
showcasing the agency’s work within 100 pages. The book sold out
on Amazon, with proceeds for the sale donated to the NSPCC and
Prince’s Trust charities.
AKQA Interface Design Practice helped
Microsoft create the
new user experience for the
Xbox 360 gaming console.
AKQA Mobile was launched as a specialist division in 2006. In the
AKQA created the annual student competition Future Lions in
collaboration with the Cannes Lions International Advertising
Festival. This yearly competition has since challenged students to
"connect an audience to a product or service from a global brand in a
way that wasn't possible five years ago."
On its website,
Francisco Partners reported selling
AKQA to General
Atlantic in 2006 (although some news reports listed this as 2007),
terms not disclosed but the transaction was brokered by Morgan
Stanley. In 2007,
AKQA opened new offices in
Shanghai. The agency also acquired SearchRev and turned it into a
dedicated search engine marketing practice. Revenue grew by 45%.
Fiat eco:Drive launched at the
Paris Motor Show: an in-car app that
helps drivers reduce their CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
AKQA was named on the AdAge Digital A-List in 2008. Work highlighted
Coca-Cola "Happiness Factory" digital experience, the
Halo "Believe" launch campaign, McDonald’s alternative reality game
"The Lost Ring" and products such as the Nike Route Finder. Later
that year, AKQA’s Christmas card – starring a chorus of harmonic
microwaves – was a notable viral success and featured on more than
400 blogs. The following year,
AKQA was named in the AdAge Book of
Tens as one of the outstanding agencies of the decade, and won the
Cannes Lions Cyber Grand Prix for Fiat eco:Drive in June 2009.
Other notable work included the alternate reality game for Warner Bros
221b, the spoof film Alpine Legend for Xbox, and the campaign "Born to
Run" for Save the Children.
AKQA created key branded iPhone apps launching that year: Gap
Style Mixer, Nike True City, Nigella Quick Collection, and VW Real
Racing GTI. The agency also opened a third European office in
Berlin. A year later in 2011, Nike Training Club, one of the
world's most downloaded training apps developed by AKQA, wins awards
worldwide. In the same year, the dual screening game Heineken Star
AKQA created swept the board of global awards. These award
wins resulted in
AKQA being cited "most awarded digital agency" in
2011 by the Gunn Report,.
In January 2012,
AKQA opened a fourth European office in Paris, with
Nike as founding client. Velocity was published, co-authored by AKQA
founder and CEO Ajaz Ahmed, and Nike VP Digital Sport Stefan Olander,
with a foreword by Sir Richard Branson. In June,
AKQA joined WPP plc
as an independent subsidiary within the world’s largest
communications group. At the time it was reported that General
Atlantic owned 80% and management 20%, although other published
reports say General Atlantic "and other shareholders" owned 80%.
Later that year,
AKQA opened two new US offices in Atlanta, Georgia
and Portland, Oregon, followed by an eleventh office in Tokyo,
AKQA opened offices in São Paulo, Brazil and Gurgaon,
India. In 2015,
AKQA acquired Italian digital agency, H-ART,
and later that year opened its first Scandinavian office in
Gothenburg. In March 2016,
AKQA took a major stake in software
engineering and web development specialist Potato. In August that
year, the agency launched
AKQA Casa, the new building of their São
Paulo office.In October 2017,
AKQA appointed Alex Houghton as
strategy director and Tim Baggott as associate creative director.
In August 2017,
AKQA opened offices in
Aarhus and thus
expanded its Scandinavian presence by aquiring the Danish digital
Awards and recognition
AKQA was among the top three of the best 25 companies to work for in
Glassdoor's UK company review for 2016. The company also won the
Internet Advertising Bureau UK's Agency of the Year 2016 title and
was named Agency of the Year at the PromaxBDA Game Marketing Awards
2016 for its work across Activision, Bethesda Softworks, and
Nike Rise House of Mamba, the basketball initiative
AKQA created for
Nike China, was featured in the 2015 Gunn Report, ranking first in
both Asia's most awarded integrated/titanium work in 2015 and most
awarded digital ads in 2015. In addition, the project was included in
the top 10 campaigns of 2015 across all
Gunn Report media. In
AKQA was also named the most respected agency within
Econsultancy’s annual report for the third year in a row – as
voted for by other agencies entering in the Top 100. In 2014, AKQA
won Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation, and was named Most
Innovative Agency at 2014
Digiday Awards. 2013 was the agency's
most successful year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of
Creativity to date. It won 14 Lions including a gold Cyber Lion for
Nike+ Kinect Training
Nike+ Kinect Training and a Titanium and Integrated Lion for Nike
"Find your greatness".
AKQA was named Digital Agency of the Year by Adweek and
Campaign magazines. Combining the results of all the significant
advertising industry awards, the
Gunn Report rated
AKQA the top
digitally-led agency of 2011. New Media Age also named
AKQA the "most
respected agency" as voted by industry peers.
AKQA took home Agency of the Year for the second year running
at the Revolution Awards, and Agency of the Year awards from New
Media Age and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. In 2009,
five separate Agency of the Year awards.
AKQA has previously been named Revolution’s Agency of the Decade
(1997 to 2007). In 2006 Creativity magazine gave
inaugural Interactive Agency of the Year award, recognising the
agency's "global culture, creative hires and technological muscle."
Creativity editor Teressa Iezzi said: "We thought
AKQA embodied the
spirit of the big-idea-first approach."
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Retrieved 21 March 2003.
AKQA to open New York office: Lars Bastholm named executive
creative director to launch NY office". Econsultancy Digital Marketers
United. Retrieved 18 October 2004.
AKQA Ideas: Vol 1". Amazon.
AKQA revealed as agency behind Microsoft's
Xbox 360 navigational
interface". PR Week. Retrieved 20 May 2005.
AKQA Goes Mobile". Adweek. Retrieved 10 March 2006.
^ Future Lions official web site
^ "Digital marketer
AKQA to hire 100". bizjournals. October 29, 2010.
Retrieved October 19, 2014.
AKQA Acquires Search Agency". ClickZ. Retrieved 23 August
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Christmas special". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 24 December
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AKQA Set to Open
Berlin Office". Adweek. 21 January 2010. Retrieved
1 January 2017.
Gunn Report 2011 Results". Creative Review. Retrieved October
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Retrieved 20 June 2012.
^ "WPP Acquires
AKQA to Beef Up Digital Marketing". New York Times.
Retrieved October 19, 2014.
Tokyo office with launch clients Nike and Nissan".
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AKQA expands presence in Asia". New York Times. June 1, 2014.
Retrieved October 20, 2014.
AKQA expands presence in Asia". Campaign Brief Asia. July 29, 2014.
Retrieved October 20, 2014.
AKQA acquires Italian digital agency H-Art". The Drum. 24 April
2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015.
^ "Volvo Picks
AKQA as Its Lead Digital Agency". Adweek. 13 May 2015.
Retrieved 5 August 2015.
AKQA Acquires App Agency Potato". Adweek. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 1
AKQA Casa in São Paulo". Digiday. 2 September 2016.
Retrieved 1 January 2017.
AKQA appoints Alex Houghton as strategy director, Tim Baggott as
associate creative director". Mumbrella. 2017-10-16. Retrieved
AKQA Acquires Danish Digital Agency DIS/PLAY". Adweek. Retrieved
^ "Do you work for one of the 25 best companies in Britain". "The
Telegraph". Retrieved 1 January 2017.
^ "IAB Creative Showcase 2016: The winners". IAB UK. Retrieved 1
Microsoft Xbox wins Marketing team of the year at PromaxBDA Game
Marketing Awards". PromaxBDA. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
^ "Japan's global creative awards status slides in
Gunn Report as
China rises". Mumbrella. January 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
^ "Top 100 Digital Agencies Report 2015". London: Econsultancy. June
2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
AKQA wins the
Queen's Award for Enterprise Innovation: AKQA". LBB
Online. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
AKQA named top agency at 2014
Digiday Awards". Digiday. Retrieved 5
^ "School Reports 2014: AKQA". Campaign UK. Retrieved October 19,
^ "Agency of the Year: AKQA". Adweek. Retrieved 12 December
^ "Digital Agency of the Year: AKQA". Campaign UK. Retrieved 15
^ "Comparethemarket.com, Spotify and
AKQA triumph at Revolution Awards
Archived 2010-04-12 at the Wayback Machine.."BrandRepublic." Retrieved
April 11, 2010.
^ "The Guardian's Media 100". London: The Guardian. 8 July 2007.
Retrieved 6 September 2012.
AKQA Is Creativity's First-Ever Interactive Agency of the Year".
MarketingVOX. Archived from the original on 22 November 2008.
Retrieved 14 December 2005.