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In what could be considered one of the least surprising agency announcements of recent years, Lucky Generals has confirmed that it will be opening an office in New York City next month. The London-based agency has progressively built up its roster of U.S.-centric clients, necessitating the stateside move.
TBWA bought a majority stake in the agency two years ago.
“It’s fair to say that there’s been an inevitability about this,” said Danny Brooke-Taylor, one of Lucky Generals’ founding partners along with Helen Calcraft and Andy Nairn. “We set up to be international from day one, as we could see that clients increasingly want big ideas that can travel—and don’t care where they come from.”
The agency’s first year, 2014, set the tone for the move with a quirky U.S.-only campaign for Kahlua featuring Jeff Bridges. The next year, the agency began working with Amazon and eventually built real buzz with two highly regarded Super Bowl ads for the Seattle ecommerce giant.
The first, in 2018, featured founder Jeff Bezos among a slew of megastar cameos. This year’s Big Game effort leveraged another roster of A-list stars beta testing Alexa technologies, most of which didn’t make the cut.
Both ads scored well with consumers.
“The tipping point came in the last 12 months, though, when we saw that 50 percent of our income was coming from the States,” added Brooke-Taylor. “Once you reach that level, you either need to go for it or pull back. So we decided to back ourselves and make a permanent base.” In addition to Amazon, the agency counts AB InBev and Celebrity Cruises as domestic clients.
The new office will be run by a combination of existing Lucky Generals staff and new hires. Augusto Solo, who most recently worked at London indie agency 101 (now owned by MullenLowe), will serve as creative partner. He previously worked at shops including Mother, Fallon, Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO.
Strategy partner Jess Roubadeaux comes from Anomaly New York, where she was strategy director. Like Solo, she spent time at both Mother and BBDO.
The managing partner of the New York office will be James Fox, current managing director of the agency’s flagship office in London. Fox, who has been with the agency for nearly all of its five-year lifespan, is one of the longest-tenured Lucky Generals.
(From left) Augusto Solo, Jess Roubadeaux and James Fox.
All staff will report directly to Brooke-Taylor.
While London certainly wouldn’t be considered a backwater by any stretch, Lucky Generals is well aware that, in some ways, they will be the new shop on the block.
“There are already some great agencies in this city, so we’re not going to come in shouting our mouths off about what we’ll bring to the community,” noted Brooke-Taylor. “We’d rather let our work do the talking.”
“Having said that,” he continued, “our clients seem to feel we bring an energy and sense of fun that they don’t always see elsewhere. Maybe even a bit of mischief. So fingers crossed, we can channel some of that. It feels like New York loves the stuff we love—hard work, hustle, opinions and creativity—so we’re going to be ourselves, and hopefully, we won’t need a major personality transplant to succeed.”
“Lucky Generals is America’s favorite London agency, and soon they’ll be one of America’s darlings, with a home base in New York,” added Troy Ruhanen, president and CEO of TBWAWorldwide. “They have a unique ability to be incredibly close with their clients, and they excel at developing universal insights that travel, all with outstanding execution and craft. It’s why no agency in the world has greater momentum at the moment. London is their soul and center of gravity, but they are extremely well-positioned for a successful venture in New York.”