Elephant, which describes itself as the independent part of the IPG network, has set sail for Europe, opening its first U.K. office in London, as the agency formerly dedicated to Apple moves to expand its client roster and creative offerings.
The London office opened due to “increased demand from the agency’s largest clients” in the financial services and consumer electronics spaces, according to a statement. The office will be led by Gregoire Assemat Tessandier, who was recently elevated from managing director to president of the larger organization.
In an interview with Adweek, Elephant CEO Eric Moore declined to identify the clients the London office would serve.
Moore did say that, since Elephant was founded by Huge in 2014 to work solely with Apple, the agency has grown its roster to include about 10 to 12 brands.
Today, Elephant views Huge “as a close sibling,” Moore said. “I started at Huge so I have a lot of respect for the agency … But we’re really independent now.”
As Elephant takes on more clients, it is also assuming more creative duties, including for Apple, according to several sources close to the matter. When Elephant was first formed, it did mostly back-end and design work for the tech giant. Several parties, however, told Adweek that the agency has since picked up some creative responsibilities for Beats by Dre and Apple.
That evolution also pushed Elephant to undergo a reorganization of its West Coast operations. The shop recently cut around 15 employees, which amounted to 40–50 percent of L.A. staff.
An Elephant spokeswoman provided this statement regarding the layoffs: “To respond to the needs of our clients and the evolution of the industry at large, Elephant is investing in and organizing around new skill sets across brand, product and advertising on the West Coast, while balancing existing teams across our San Francisco and Los Angeles operations. These changes have unfortunately had an impact on some of our people in L.A. These decisions are never easy, but we’re confident it will support our long-term growth as we continue to invest in our business going forward.”
Benjamin White, managing director of Elephant, is overseeing the reorganization on the West Coast, helping to align the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices with the agency’s core brand.
Elephant also hired Pablo Marques as executive creative director of New York to help fuel the expansion of the network’s creative offerings. Moore said the New York shop is now the agency’s largest office, with a staff of 100 and most of the executive leadership stationed there. Marques hails from digital marketing shop Possible London where he worked with clients such as IKEA and Adidas. Prior to that, he held stints at BBH, R/GA and Wieden + Kennedy.
Moore said he enjoys running an agency like Elephant that is still finding its footing.
“I see our other competitors, fierce competitors, and I wish I had their brand recognition,” Moore explained, “but I’m happy I don’t have their legacy.”
Moore added that Elephant has a “unique approach” in that it goes beyond creative duties and focuses primarily on designing better user experiences for its clients’ customers. However, he added the agency still has “a lot to show from a creative standpoint.”
“We want to work with the leading brands,” Moore said. “That’s the way we’ve grown up. We want to work with the world’s most iconic brands because those usually afford us the opportunity to do the most breakout work. I know we’re not on some clients’ radars, but I’m excited about our inbound pipeline.”