LONDON — PR agency Smarts has expanded into mainland Europe with a new office in Amsterdam, as the first of several agencies within the MSQ creative and technology group planning to open in the group’s first European hub.

The new Amsterdam office is led by Leanne Scott (pictured, left), a senior agency director who has been appointed as managing partner, reporting to Greg Jones (centre), the former Mischief MD who joined the agency as European CEO in November 2022.

Scott has led Smarts’ work for brands such as, Zalando and Coca-Cola. She will be joined by Maja Volt (pictured, right), who previously held a global communications role at fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger and becomes client partner. Volt also led the global PR strategy team at Zalando, where she developed sustainability communications strategies.

The Amsterdam office will offer a full suite of marketing communication services, including PR, digital, experiential, employee engagement, as well as the new Creator Hub division, set up recently with investment of more than £1 million.

Smarts' existing client base in the Netherlands includes Tommy Hilfiger, with Smarts providing internal communication support, and, where the agency led the talent strategy for its 2023 Super Bowl advert.

Scott told PRovoke Media: “Over the past 10 years we have built phenomenal partnerships with clients in Amsterdam. The city is a hotspot for culturally connected brands and creative talent – our new home there brings us closer to clients across the continent, broadens our cultural outlook, and reduces our environmental impact.

“Drawing on different perspectives and outlooks is crucial to our work, and our new colleagues in Amsterdam will work together with Smarts’ teams in Belfast, London, and New York, to help our clients achieve connected moments that drive a brand's cultural endurance.”

Smarts’ global CEO Pippa Arlow said the move was part of Smarts' strategic growth plan: “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 Amsterdam office also signals the ambitions of parent group MSQ, which was recently acquired by One Equity Partners. MSQ CEO Peter Reid said: “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”.