Sid Lee opens in Calgary, eyes California

The Montreal-based agency is exploring a new shop in California to help the New York office, while Vito Piazza assumes the role of president of its recently launched Western Canada location.

Sid Lee is in expansion mode, eyeing a more permanent shop in California, and officially announcing its new office in Calgary.

The L.A. office is still in the preliminary stages, confirms Vito Piazza, president and partner of Sid Lee Toronto and Calgary. It comes as a result of business wins out of the New York office, and now has a couple of employees who work out of a shared space in L.A. “We’re looking to expand on that in the future,” he says.

As for Calgary, the agency quietly opened up shop with a soft-open back in November, having folks move out west to work on the agency’s Mark’s and Sport Chek business. The office will handle new work from the clients, though the creative will still largely be led out of Toronto. It will act as a sister agency to Toronto and also work on Postmedia’s Calgary Herald, helping develop the brand strategy for the news organization’s digitally-focused relaunch.

The office already has 15 staff members, Piazza says, led by Geoff Hardwicke, general manager, though he hopes to grow the team to 30-40 people. At this point, there are no lead creatives, though as the agency wins new business, it’ll start exploring more senior creative staff for the Calgary shop.

The office has started actively going out to pursue new business opportunities and track down new talent – for which there seems to be a glut –  if the slew of award-winning agencies in town is any indication. Calgary shops are coming off an impressive four-Lion and Black-Pencil streak in recent months.

“It’s proof that there’s talent in that market we’d like to bring on board,” Piazza says.

As for talent, the agency also announced recent hires in Toronto, including Oliver Brooks as AD and Mike Richardson as copywriter, who join from agency Blammo Worldwide. The duo will work on the President’s Choice Financial account. Josh Hansen will also take on the role as senior strategist, originally from Leo Burnett – he’ll work on the Sport Chek and Mark’s accounts.

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