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KCD, the well-known public relations and events agency, and Spring, the London-based studio complex and multichannel creative agency, have forged a strategic partnership to offer global fashion communications services.
Spearheading the strategic partnership are Mark Loy and Francesco Costa, chief executive officer and founder, and chairman, respectively, of Spring, and Julie Mannion and Ed Filipowski, presidents of KCD.
“We discovered in meeting with Spring and talking with clients that there’s a fundamental shift going on in the industry,” said Filipowski in an interview at his New York offices. “As an agency, in order to best serve our clients, we needed to broaden our point of view.” He explained that fashion clients today have multiple communication needs and his conversations with them address not only p.r. and events, but digital, advertising, content development and e-commerce. In the past, KCD would hire other agencies or its clients would hire separate agencies for some of these services. The clients would then take a fragmented approach and would have to work with five or six companies — a p.r. agency, a digital developer, a social media company, a video company and an e-commerce provider. Now, with their combined expertise, KCD and Spring can aggregate their services and jointly find solutions and opportunities for their clients, he said.
Loy noted that the list of things a brand needs in the current environment is longer than any one agency can supply, and that brands need to manage multiple channels with the same distinction they achieved in their fashion advertising and shows. “Spring and KCD are dedicated to understanding the opportunity for luxury brands in a multichannel world. The creative landscape is complex and by combining KCD’s vast experience with brands, Spring’s digital expertise and leading production services, and our new flagship complex in TriBeCa, we will seek to support our clients across all media,” said Loy, who plans to move to New York.
Spring, which was founded 15 years ago and employs more than 220 people, has two divisions: Spring Creative and Spring Creative Services. The firm is headquartered in a five-story, 44,000-square-foot complex in London, providing studio spaces, stills and moving image production, postproduction facilities and 360 creative and digital services. Spring Creative develops advertising and multichannel campaigns for brands. The firm works with international photographers, art directors, fashion and beauty companies, magazines, models and stylists. Its client roster includes Target, Louis Vuitton, Versace and Max Factor. Spring designed and built British Vogue’s iPad apps and created moving image shoots for the app and did the photography. It also did the recent redesign of U.S. Harper’s Bazaar.
KCD, which was founded in 1984, is a leading p.r., event and fashion show production company. Its European subsidiary of 12 years is KCD Paris, and the agency launched KCD Digital in 2010. Among its clients are Marc Jacobs, Chloé, Ralph Lauren, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant and Phillip Lim.
“When we met Spring, their services did not compete with ours. They were totally complementary to ours,” said Filipowski, adding that both firms were deeply ingrained in the fashion industry. “We have the same integrity and same vision when it comes to our clients,” added Mannion. “We’re all purists.”
The two firms will collaborate in several new ways. Spring New York is scheduled to open a major flagship complex in March 2013 on St. John Lane at Varick Street. The 120,000-square-foot complex will house state-of-the-art studio spaces, production, postproduction, extensive digital and creative services, two director’s cinemas, a restaurant, event and collection presentation spaces (which can accommodate 1,000 people) and a 20,000-square-foot roof deck. KCD will be the exclusive New York consultant for the opening of Spring New York and its ongoing programming.
Spring Creative, which has offices in London and Milan, will open in New York in September, at a location to be determined. Spring Creative is led by Robin Derrick, former creative director of U.K. Vogue and Armani, and Robin Harvey, former creative director of Rimmel, Max Factor and the founding creative director of Net-a-porter. Both Derrick and Harvey will travel back and forth. Client services are headed by Camilla Simpson, former head of client services at David Lipman, who plans to move to New York. The company will be hiring a New York team.
KCD London at Spring, a satellite p.r. and events office, will open later this month. The plan is to bring the strategic expertise of KCD New York and Paris to the U.K. and focus on digital and other ventures with Spring. Spring Creative will become the official development partner of KCD Digital on creating digital projects for its clients. All of KCD’s and Spring’s businesses will remain independent, including KCD’s headquarters in New York and European base in Paris, and Spring’s London headquarters and Milan satellite office. The partners expect management and employees to benefit from the cross-synergy and services for the clients.