Walk-In Media has started its bid to crack the US and opened its first overseas office in New York.
Founded by Simon Davis as part of global marketing group MSQ, the US branch will offer media planning and buying from a local through to global level.
Davis, chief executive of Walk-In Media, will expand his role and become global CEO, but will retain his UK responsibilities. Before starting Walk-In Media, Davis was chief executive of Walker Media (now Spark Foundry).
Eric van den Heuvel, formerly managing director of the media division of MSQ’s The Gate New York, will lead the US branch of the agency, working closely with MSQ’s North American leaders, president Aaron Lang and chief strategy officer Justin Cox.
The US is a notoriously difficult market to tap, but speaking to Campaign, Davis was confident about the agency's prospects. “There are a large [number] of businesses looking for big network capabilities, especially in terms of data and digital, but with independents [agencies]," he said.
"We're absolutely certain that the same model will work really well in the States. In addition to that, it gives us a platform to go after multi-region, potentially global, business.”
Target advertisers include fast-growth clients and mid-sized businesses that have become “disillusioned” with the network agency model. The latter’s dissatisfaction, he says, is due largely to the “best people” at network agencies being pulled onto big, global accounts.
MSQ's Lang said the media industry was undergoing the “biggest shift” since the early 2000s. He added: “Walk-in Media exists for the modern media landscape and offers the market a full range of integrated capabilities on an agile and flexible basis.”
Peter Reid, global chief executive of MSQ, added: “By bringing Walk-In Media to North America, we’re able to remove more of the barriers that increasingly stifle clients from getting the most out of their agencies.”
The US expansion follows the growth of Walk-In Media, which has accrued £50m in billings and now has 75 staff members in the UK, having opened its doors for business in 2019, with clients such as Emirates, Vodafone and Equifax.
It marks another step of growth for MSQ. Last month the agency acquired Elmwood to boost its brand design expertise in North America and launched PR and content agency, Smarts, in New York.