Nikki Wicks
Jan 28, 2015

Scandinavian agency network expands into Asia with Acoustic

SINGAPORE - The North Alliance, a Scandinavian agency network, is launching its first office in Asia with “digital-centric” shop Acoustic.

L-R: Thomas Høgebøl, Erik Ingvoldstad
L-R: Thomas Høgebøl, Erik Ingvoldstad

Based in Singapore, Acoustic will be run by managing director Erik Ingvoldstad, formerly MRM/McCann regional executive creative director.

The new agency, which Ingvoldstad describes as “digital centric”, will offer clients end-to-end marketing solutions across all media.

“Acoustic is born out of the concept that ideas are not confined by choice of media," he said. "Great ideas are great ideas, whether they are executed in digital, TV, PR, print, events or any other solution that works for the specific task we want to solve.” 

Competition in Singapore is fierce, and the group will therefore be aggressive and present in the region, Ingvoldstad said. "The North Alliance is extremely ambitious, and is already a strong alternative to the traditional networks in the Nordic region," he added.

The shop will both develop work locally and work in collaboration with its network partners in Scandinavia.

Formed last year, The North Alliance is a Norway-based holding company made up of several Nordic creative shops. The group, which says it has an operating income of around US$72 million, was created with a series of simultaneous acquisitions in January 2014, backed by the Finnish private equity fund Capman.

The network's clients include Absolut, SAS airlines, Audi and IKEA. It is led by CEO and founder Thomas Høgebøl, who previously worked as chairman for Northern-Europe at McCann Worldgroup.

Høgebøl said that the group formed in response to changing demands from clients, whom he said are increasingly looking for a “truly integrated” approach to marketing. He believes that clients are looking for "fewer partners, that understand more." 

“Clients are caught in the middle of a perfect storm," he said. The choices are many and it’s about navigating correctly.

"CMOs are looking for more than 'just' an ad agency these days, and we believe that they are tired of all the talk about integration, but little action," Høgebøl said. "We are bringing something fresh to the market that will facilitate digital transformation."

Among the eight agencies in The North Alliance network (nine when you include Acoustic), are advertising firms Åkestam Holst (Sweden) and &Co (Denmark) and digital agencies Anorak (Norway) and Great Works (Sweden). The group also includes technology consultancy Making Waves (Norway/Poland) and Swedish design agency Bold.

Ingvoldstad said that the “micro network” would allow clients to “cherry pick” the agencies and individuals that they want to work with from within the group.

“Because we’re smaller, more nimble and we own the company together, clients will be able to work with the network in a much more fluid way,” he said. “As an agency, you either fall into the network category, or you fall into the independent agency category. We’re playing in a completely different category, that’s fully integrated, fully full-service, but without any of the boundaries that are associated with some of the big networks.”

While the industry is still grappling with changing its model to fit industry convergence, the group is ready to deliver convergence solutions from day one, said Ingvoldstad.

Acoustic is up and running and will be adding and more staff in the months to come. The agency's offices are located in the Straits Trading building. 


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