Tom Bedecarré: Innovative ‘Admaker to Watch’

According to AKQA CEO and Wall Street Journal “Admaker to Watch” Tom Bedecarré, it’s no surprise that San Francisco is a hotbed for cutting-edge ad agencies.

“There’s a nexus of creativity here,” Bedecarré said. “Plus, the West Coast has an incredible entrepreneurial spirit, and we’reso close to technology with Silicon Valley nearby. It’s this combination of creativity and technology that really set AKQA apart.”

AKQA, the largest privately held advertising agency, has celebrated being named McDonald’s global agency of record, as well as opening offices in Shanghai and Amsterdam. The agency’s client roster includes Coca-Cola, Nike, Xbox and Target. AKQA is also celebrating being named the best interactive agency on both sides of the Atlantic in 2006, by Marketing and OMMA magazines.

Bedecarré, a San Francisco native, got his start in advertising on Madison Avenue, then relocated back to the Bay Area to work for Hal Riney & Partners. He and a few colleagues later formed Citron Haligman Bedecarré.

According to Bedecarré, AKQA’s global presence and creative focus set it apart from other agencies.

Bedecarré and his creative team use technology to create out-of-the-box campaigns for clients, such as an online songwriting competition for 19 Entertainment (the management company behind “American Idol”) and an online music mixer for a Sprite campaign featuring LeBron James that allowed users to create the song to accompany James’ commercial. Bedecarré believes user-generated content as well as mobile advertising are the spaces to be in.

“We’re one of the first interactive agencies to have launched a mobile division,” he says. “We have experience in the U.K. and Asia, where it’s the primary way a lot of kids go online. Because of this, we’re able to see over the hill.”

According to Bedecarré, the company’s location in San Francisco is also a benefit for AKQA, which created the interface for the Xbox 360 and is helping create content for Air Cell, the first broadband application to be approved by the FAA for in-flight use. The agency is located in a warehouse-style office in The City near AT&T Park.

“I call gorgeous days like we’re having lately ‘recruiting days,’” Bedecarré says. “San Francisco is a great place for clients to come.”

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