SapientNitro expands into the Middle East

SapientNitro has expanded into the Middle East following its winning of the global account for Galaxy late last year.

The agency has opened an office in Dubai Media City, enabling it to more effectively service its Galaxy account in the region following last September’s re-shuffle of agency partners at the confectionary giant Mars.

The agency’s executive business growth director and general manager of the Dubai operation, Paige Kilburn, said that SapientNitro had been thinking of opening an office in the region for years and was waiting for the right partners and reasons. “The GCC market represents the fourth largest for the Galaxy brand and this was a key factor in the decision to set up in Dubai,” she said.

According to Kilburn, the small team working out of Dubai will concentrate on servicing the Galaxy account for the next six months, after which she will also focus on the acquisition of new business. “We’ve basically been looking for a reason to get into this market, and now that we’re here and we’ve got a sizeable piece of business it can really get us off the ground and [we can] recruit a core team. We’ll be looking to leverage other global relationships and establish local relationships as well,” she said.

Kilburn, who is originally from New Zealand, was with BBDO for five years in Auckland before moving to TBWA\London to handle Galaxy UK & Europe. She transferred to TBWA\Raad in November 2008 to run the Mars business, before leaving earlier this year to join SapientNitro and handle the new office set-up and the transition of the Galaxy business into the agency.

Sapient started as an IT consultancy in the US in 1991 and in June last year acquired ad agency Nitro for $50 million, leading to Nitro’s rebranding as SapientNitro. Nitro, which was founded by Australian Chris Clarke in Shangai, is best known as the agency behind Tourism Queensland’s ‘Best job in the world’ campaign, which won two grand prixs at last year’s Cannes Lions. The campaign, which saw a competition to decide who would win the caretakership of Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, was the work of Nitro’s Australian shop, Cummins Nitro.