Sid Lee’s NY office president on the agency’s next move

Will Travis gives the what, where and why of the agency's launch into New York City.

Will Travis, who was recently named partner and US president, heading up Sid Lee’s newly launched New York City office, says he was in Bali when agency co-founder and president Jean-Francois Bouchard called and said he had an opportunity for him.

Travis had been taking time off, touring the world after finishing a contract as CEO at Dentsu America. He had met Bouchard 10 years earlier and the two stayed friends, hoping to work together somewhere down the line. He says he planned on continuing his time away, but the opportunity to head up Sid Lee’s New York City office was too good to pass up.

The 8,000 square foot office will be located on the lower west side of Manhattan, says Travis, and already has half of its launch staff of 15 working there. He says there are plans to hire another 15 to 20 new Sid Lee staffers for the location, which will be working on existing US clients, like Adidas and Imax, as well as new ones which he isn’t able to disclose just yet.

Travis said his initiation into the agency has been exciting and overwhelming, with a week of 10-a-day meetings during Sid Lee’s C2 conference breaking him into the groove.

“I do extreme challenges where you climb mountains in -40 degree weather and have done the Dakar Rally in South America, so I am used to challenges and resilience, and I was knackered after a week meeting with the Sid Lee team,” he says. “People come to Sid Lee and stay here. The proof is in the pudding with the number of partners that are at Sid Lee. It is a collective of people from different disciplines who are striving to create the ultimate consumer experience agency.”

Launching the New York City office isn’t just about breaking into the big cities of the country, says Travis, but bringing Sid Lee to the entire country.

“The US isn’t just New York, LA and San Francisco. It is about reaching the masses,” he says. “You realize that mid-quality isn’t going to be accepted. New York and LA are aspiring markets, I see this as a launch into the US, not into New York.”

Travis says the agency’s independent nature, as well as its strategic partners will help set them apart in the new market.

“We are still independent but we have a partnership with Cirque du Soleil,” he says. “If you are going to be partnered with a brand there is nothing better than being partnered with a best in class entertainment company, not a holding company of accountants.”