British Invasion: UK Ad Shops On a West Coast Mission

A bevy of UK ad agency executives began a five-day field trip Monday to Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. The chaperone is the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, a 4As-type organization for UK shops.

The purpose of the trip is twofold -- first, to gather facts and data to help the UK fulfill its high-tech vision for the Olympic Parks being used to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. The UK government is a partial sponsor of the trip.

The tour is also designed to sow seeds for potential partnerships with technology and entertainment companies on the West Coast.

On the itinerary are stops at the offices of Twitter, social gaming company Zynga, Disney, Warner Bros., and Fox, among others.

Nicola Mendelsohn, president of the IPA and executive chairman at Karmarama, one of the participating UK agencies, asserted that UK agencies need to act as "creative pioneers for our digital future." As such, she added, "we must reach out to other creative clusters [such as the] the film industry in LA and the tech companies in Silicon Valley -- to create new collaborations, and exchange ideas."



Mendelsohn also said it was her group's intention to convince U.S. tech and entertainment companies that the UK can capably serve as a "strategic hub" for international expansion.

In addition to Karmarama, participating agencies are 23red, Addiction Worldwide, Albion, BBH, BJL Group, Euro RSCG, Initiative, Kitcatt Nohr Digitas, Leo Burnett, M&C Saatchi, MBA, MyAgency and Sapient Nitro.

Participants will be sharing insights about the trip via Twitter (#creativepioneers).  Through the first half day, the comments were plentiful.

One of the more thought-provoking insights came from Euro RSCG London CEO Russ Lidstone, who wrote: "Silicon Valley takes NDA [non-disclosure agreement] on building entry very seriously. Symbolically very powerful. A lesson for agencies?"

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