Australian agency Akcelo opens in Vancouver

Australian brand experience and innovation company Akcelo has quietly moved into North America with the opening of a new office in Vancouver.

Launched last year by Aden Hepburn, the former CEO of VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand, Akcelo is dedicated to building brand experiences fusing CX with creativity. Its name comes from the Esperanto word for “acceleration.”

The office is led by managing partner Jason Carnew, a Canadian native who has spent the bulk of his career in Australia and New Zealand, although he was most recently with Welcome.AI in New York. He has held senior roles across agency networks including Saatchi & Saatchi, Y&R and Havas Worldwide.

Carnew said he was attracted to Akcelo by its commitment to improving brand experiences across consumer touch-points, particularly as it becomes a more established component of marketing-communications strategies.

“The move by marketers and CMOs to improve customer experiences has created this homogenization,” said Carnew. “While they’re frictionless, they’re ultimately forgettable. So we started Akcelo and are bringing it to Canada to bridge that disconnect between a brand’s DNA and the experience that customers are having across its touch-points.”

Akcelo launched in Canada in September, with TikTok, the Tribeca Film Festival and what it describes as “a multinational e-commerce retailer” (not Amazon) among its charter clients.

“Everyone loves press coverage, but we really wanted to make sure our teams were up and running and our processes were in place, and we’re now at a point where we’re comfortable coming out to the market,” said Carnew of the decision to delay the launch announcement.

Carnew said that Akcelo was “really impressed with the ambitions and aspirations” of Canadian marketers when considering where to establish its first office outside of Australia. “Obviously there are great brands across North America, but Canada has amazing brands and there are really inspirational and aggressively ambitious marketers here.”

The west coast location also better facilitates a “follow the sun” model that enables its teams in Australia to hand off work to Canada at the end of the day, meaning that a typical workday can last for up to 16 hours.

Carnew said that Akcelo has “ambitious” growth plans and is currently looking for designers, production and account managers, and will be announcing a series of senior hires in the near future. The company has not yet secured a physical office, but has a location in mind, he said.

“With client interest building in Akcelo’s model, it is a huge privilege to be able to open our doors in Canada, partner with fantastic brands, brilliant people and ultimately have Jason lead the team,” said Hepburn in a release. “He is an outstanding leader who truly understands how to bring experience, emotion, creativity and technology together to create brand experiences.”

Chris Powell