‘Shifting political scene’ forces London agency behind Patagonia, Nike and Converse ads to shut shop for Amsterdam

‘Shifting political scene’ forces the London agency behind Patagonia, Nike and Converse ads to shut shop for Amsterdam

Independent creative agency HarrimanSteel, which orchestrated the lauded wall mural campaign for Patagonia and counts Nike, Converse and Toms among its clients, will shut its London agency after 19 years and relocate to Amsterdam amid a ‘dramatically shifting political scene’.

It will now follow many of its existing clients in setting up a new headquarters in Amsterdam, a city which it said “is better-positioned to further its scope.”

Founder Nick Steel has already moved to Amsterdam while Julian Harriman-Dickinson will continue to work from London to manage its network of freelancers.

“With an eye to the dramatically shifting political and creative scene, we believe it makes total sense for us to focus our efforts on expanding our Central European agency in Amsterdam,” said Harriman-Dickinson.

Despite this, HarrimanSteel said the United Kingdom will remain a “strong” region, with the agency launching a campaign this week for shoe brand Toms.

Toms marketing director for Europe Lisa Hoggs said: "For the first time ever, we have hired a creative agency to deliver the first UK/Europe specific campaign for one of our biggest key accounts. It’s a great opportunity to illustrate the difference between a UK/Europe consumer and a US consumer.”

It’s among one of the first advertising firms to cite Brexit as one of the reasons for its departure from London. A spokesperson for the Advertising Association said it wasn’t aware of another ad firm that had come to the same conclusion.

The industry trade body has repeatedly warned of the damage that could be done to the industry with Britain’s exit from the EU. Last year, it launched a campaign, 'A Great Advert for Britain', to highlight the importance of an open immigration system.

Meanwhile, marketing budgets continue to be stunted by the uncertainty over the “hard to quantify” impact of Brexit.

HarrimanSteel pointed to both the European Banking Authority moving its headquarters to Paris and the European Medicines Agency moving to Amsterdam as indicators of where the market is going.

At the time of writing, The Drum was awaiting confirmation on what would happen to current staff in the London office.

Update: The company said: "While two positions will move to Amsterdam, the agency was not able to relocate the rest of its staff as part of this move." It is understood nine roles have been made redundant.

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