Indy creative agency Motion Sickness is looking to expand in Australia only a few short years after spawning in a dingy student flat in Dunedin in 2012.
Co-founder Sam Stuchbury says the agency has experienced strong growth since moving to Auckland at the end of 2013, and he believes there is a similar gap in the market across the ditch.
Stuchbury says that Motion Sickness is already working with two clients that need to be serviced from across the ditch.
He says the agency is currently working with New Zealand Kiwifruit (alongside Richards Partners) on an Australian campaign set to roll out over the next four months, as well as working with an Aussie client looking to expand into the local market.
“We need someone on the ground over there,” Stuchbury says.
Stuchbury says he will head across the ditch and set up the business on that side, while continuing to work with the team remotely.
“There will be a bit of a transition period, but luckily a lot of the stuff we do can be done from anywhere, so we’ll still all be collaborating.”
During the set-up phase Stuchbury will be sharing office space with Rapid Growth Group (RGG), a company that sells itself as a start-up incubator. He expects to move Motion Sickness into its own office within the next two months.
Stuchbury says the business has been performing well over the last 12 months, having recently won the Jim Beam and Canadian Club digital account.
He says the agency has also moved on from only working on a project basis with most clients to working with certain clients on an on-going basis.
“Eight of our clients are on retainer, and we run their social month by month on an ongoing basis,” he says.
Motion Sickness currently has eight full-time staff members, along with a range of subcontractors who are called on to work on specific projects (Stuchbury also says he's on the hunt for a new creative).
While Stuchbury does see the growth of the agency as a positive, he says he wants to keep the boutique feel of the agency, both here and in Australia. He always wants the agency to have this point of difference from the traditional players.
“None of the partners have ever worked in a traditional agency,” he says.
“We studied a big variety of things, but never worked at a proper agency. What this means is that our relationship with clients is quite relaxed and we don’t have a lot of the bureaucracy and red tap that bigger agencies do. That’s something we don’t want to lose as we grow.”
Stuchbury says that another thing differentiating his agency from other agencies is the fact that all its campaigns are led by social.
“It annoys me when you see a big campaign with just a bit of social on the side. That’s just not how we work.”
In illustrating this point, he references the ‘Jim Beam Kiosk’ campaign they recently ran across New Zealand.
“It enabled consumers to get their bottles customised with a nickname. We did a microsite that allowed users to see all around the country where the kiosks were. That was an example of a six-week campaign run all the way through social.”
Although Stuchbury prefers Motion Sickness not to be looked at as a traditional agency, this should not be confused as a lack of ambition. Even before he has set up base in Australia, he already foresees the possibility of moving onto other countries.
"We want to work with a small group of clients and have pods around the world," he says.
And given how far they've come since their humble beginnings of churning out content marketing from a Dunedin flat, they certainly seem to have the grit necessary to make this happen.