Brave Spark, the award-winning creative studio owned by international creative and technology group MSQ, is bringing its diverse team of thinkers and makers to the US as it launches its first dedicated international office.
Brave Spark New York will be based in MSQ’s Manhattan headquarters on Fifth Avenue, and is the result of a significant period of overall growth for the agency, which has doubled its headcount in London over the past 18 months and won global work from the likes of Trivento, Zalando and ThermoFisher.
Brave Spark New York will be the seventh agency from MSQ’s stable to open an office in North America. The group has expanded MBAstack and Walk-In Media into New York over the past 18 months, and also has Elmwood, The Gate, Smarts and Stein IAS based in the region.
Brave Spark New York will be supported by the MSQ North America team, which is overseen by North America president, Aaron Lang, chief strategy officer, Justin Cox, and chief creative officer, Lisa Leone. The agency will be run on a day-to-day basis by executive producer Harry Smith, who has worked at Brave Spark London since May 2017 and will relocate to New York.
Smith will report to Brave Spark’s founders Rob Drake and Robin Shek, who launched the agency in 2010 to redefine how brands tell compelling stories. Originally serving clients as a creative production house, Brave Spark has expanded to offer the full range of end-to-end creative services, including data and strategy, creative thinking, design, production, creative technology, post and VFX.
MSQ acquired Brave Spark in October 2021, and the agency has now grown to more than 50 people, establishing key relationships with brands such as Arlo/Verisure, Which?, Fred. Olsen and Xero.
The agency has already worked closely with MSQ’s North American teams on work like ‘Stop Feeling Invisible’, a TV and digital campaign for the IMA created with The Gate New York.
By opening an office in New York, Brave Spark will be able to work more collaboratively with further MSQ North America clients, as well as offering their unique blend of thinkers and makers to their own and prospective brands in the region.
Robin Shek, co-founder and chief operating officer of Brave Spark, says, “We feel this is the perfect time to open our first international office and in Harry we have the ideal person to lead our New York operation. He embodies the Brave Spark spirit and vision, has incredible global production knowledge and has played a major part in our growth. We can’t wait to officially bring the Brave Spark culture and talent to the US market.”
Rob Drake, co-founder and chief executive of Brave Spark, says, “Today’s brands don’t just need to stand out from their competitors, they need to stand out in a culture that’s moving faster than ever. These new, unconventional challenges require an unconventional agency, and with our collection of brilliant storytellers, we can provide all the best bits you’d expect from an agency but with added experience in diverse specialisms. I’m so excited that, with the backing of the wider MSQ group, we’re able to bring this to New York and further our ambitious growth plans.”
News of Brave Spark’s expansion follows the acquisition of MSQ by leading private equity firm One Equity Partners, which made a significant investment in the group in June to help fuel its international growth plans. Already the UK’s fastest-growing marketing network, MSQ is currently looking at a number of options within North America, Europe and Asia to build out its creative, tech and data-driven model on a global scale.
Peter Reid, global chief executive of MSQ, said, “We’re delighted to be adding yet more firepower to MSQ North America, and in Brave Spark we have an agency that’s built to solve modern day client challenges. Rob, Robin and the team have grown a real success story over the past decade and now offer a compelling alternative for US and international clients. The move also further strengthens our joined-up MSQ offer which continues to gain significant traction with ambitious brands who are looking for a more agile, digital and tech-enabled model better suited to today’s realities.”