Independent creative company Special Group has entered the U.S market with William Gelner leading the LA-based agency as Chief Creative Officer, and Uber Eats as its founding client.
The launch of the international office follows the profound success of Special Group’s global work for Uber Eats, including its launch of the internationally recognised ‘Tonight I’ll Be Eating’ brand platform into the U.S. and Canada. The now viral campaign launched with an epic showdown between movie icons, Mark Hamill and Patrick Stewart, which attracted over 11.3m shares across social media. Last week saw the addition of another unlikely duo, which was met with similar affection, starring Queer-Eye celebrity, Jonathan Van Ness and Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles.
Australian Partners Cade Heyde, Tom Martin and Julian Schreiber have been working with Gelner over the last few months to cement the agency’s presence on the ground.
Cade Heyde, Founding Partner, Special Group Australia, said: “It is a massive privilege to be able to open doors in the US with Uber Eats as our founding client. It’s rare to have the opportunity to export Australian work to the rest of the world. The ongoing success of the creative platform is testament to the bravery and collaboration of a truly great partnership”.
Gelner, who has been working with Special Group on the ground in Los Angeles through production, is one of the most respected and highly acclaimed creative leaders in the U.S. Throughout his career he has led the creative product and teams at BBH NY, 180 LA and most recently, Engine. He has worked with premier brands including UNICEF, adidas, HBO, HP, Jagermeister, Boost Mobile, The University of Phoenix, Expedia as well as Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 campaign. Gelner is currently working with The Lincoln Project and the League of Conservative Voters and is responsible for their recent high-profile political campaigns.
On being the founding partner of the U.S. business, William Gelner, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to partner with Special Group and launch the US agency. Besides being genuinely the kindest and bravest humans, I’ve ever met in the industry, they have built a model around what brands want and need right now. The time is right for a self-backed, nimble and world class creative agency with a global footprint.”
Lindsey Evans, CEO & Founding Partner of Special group Australia, added “It’s been six years since our partners in New Zealand backed us to expand the Special Group brand and open our doors in Australia. To be able to do that all over again with them in the U.S. is such a thrill. At Special Group we have an unfair share of worldly and world class talent, which creates the opportunity to further attract the best of the best and have everyone work together in a future fit offering for global brands. We are blessed to have William at the helm in the US. He is ridiculously talented with furiously high standards as well as being a stupidly good human being.”
Founder of Special Group, CEO/CCO New Zealand, Tony Bradbourne, said: “It is an incredibly proud moment to see the business we started in an old cinema in Auckland 13 years ago open its fourth office, this time half-way across the globe. Our unique business offering that spans purpose-led design, strategy, digital, mobile, advertising and innovation has delivered a hugely successful year both as a business and for creativity, and we can’t wait to see this next chapter unfold under the brilliance and talent of William.”
The launch of Special Group’s international office comes just months after the creative company opened its doors in Melbourne, won the account for iconic Australian brand Bonds and took home one of only three global Effies.