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Smarts Goes Dutch: Expanding Horizons with New Amsterdam Office


Kirath Pahdi


26 Jun 2023


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MSQ’s global PR and creative agency Smarts continues its ambitious growth plans by expanding into mainland Europe with a new office in Amsterdam – a move supported by briefs from global brands like Booking.com. Smarts is the first of several MSQ agencies preparing to establish a presence in the Dutch capital, as we aim to create our first European hub.

The new Amsterdam office is led by Leanne Scott, a senior agency director who has been appointed as Managing Partner – reporting to Greg Jones, who joined the agency as European CEO in November 2022. Leanne brings extensive experience from leading Smarts’ work for renowned brands such as Booking.com, Zalando, and Coca-Cola. Joining her is Maja Volt, who transitions from a global communications role at Tommy Hilfiger to become Client Partner at Smarts. Maja’s previous experience includes leading the global PR strategy team at Zalando, where she developed sustainability communications strategies.

Scott says: “Over the past 10 years we have built phenomenal partnerships with clients in Amsterdam and delivered exceptional award-winning work for them. Lockdown taught us many things but one that stood out for me was the power of human connection. So, I’m proud to be able to open the doors of our new office, within walking distance of so many of our current clients, allowing us to build on those connections in real life.

“It’s also a city full of potential, rich in culture, creativity and talent – it’s no surprise so many of the world’s leading FMCG brands have made it their home. This obviously makes it a city full of opportunity and I can’t wait to explore these with new clients, colleagues, and partners.”

The Amsterdam office will offer a full suite of marketing communication services, including PR, digital, experiential, employee engagement, and the new Creator Hub division. The agency will be hiring talent for the Amsterdam office across these disciplines, forming a team that will collaborate with colleagues in New York, London, Scotland, and Belfast.

Choosing Amsterdam as the location for their first mainland European office reflects Smarts’ existing client base in the Netherlands. These clients include Tommy Hilfiger, with Smarts providing internal communication support, and Booking.com, where the agency led the talent strategy for their record-breaking 2023 Super Bowl advert. The move to Amsterdam is part of Smarts’ strategic growth plan, which has propelled them to become a global leader in culture-driven, consumer-focused communications.

Smarts’ Global CEO Pippa Arlow says: “It’s fantastic to be able to extend our footprint into Amsterdam. It’s a city we’ve been working in for over a decade, so it is a natural choice for our first office in mainland Europe. It provides a perfect base to deepen relationships with existing partners and capitalise on the wider opportunities direct European access creates. 

“Just as importantly, establishing a permanent office in The Netherlands will significantly reduce our travel and environmental impact – a key priority for everyone in the agency, and a crucial part of living up to our ‘B Corp’ values. This is one of several investments we’re making this year – underpinned by our recent growth, and underlining our ambition to continually develop our team, seek out new talent, and build new capabilities to support our clients’ ambitions.”

The expansion follows Smarts’ recent announcement of a £1m+ investment in its new Creator Hub division. It is also part of the agency’s strategic growth plan, which has seen them become a global leader in culture-driven, consumer focused communications (rising from 22nd in the PR Week Top 150 Consumer Agency table five years ago, to #8 in this year’s rankings).

An Amsterdam office also presents opportunities for future growth for MSQ, particularly after being recently acquired by One Equity Partners to help accelerate ambitious international expansion. Plans for other MSQ agencies to join Smarts in Amsterdam are already in progress.

Peter Reid, CEO at MSQ, adds: “We’re thrilled to see Smarts taking this bold step into mainland Europe with the opening of MSQ’s first office in Amsterdam. It aligns perfectly with our strategic vision of creating a strong European hub for our agencies. Amsterdam is a vibrant city with immense potential, and this is simply the first in a series of investments to maximise the potential for accelerated growth in Europe”.

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