Former VMLY&R CEO Aden Hepburn launches brand experience agency Akcelo

Former VMLY&R co-CEO, Aden Hepburn, has launched brand experience and innovation agency, Akcelo, with two members of his former agency leadership team, Miles Scott and Dave Di Veroli.

Hepburn left WPP AUNZ’s VMLY&R just over a year ago. He launched the VML digital agency brand in Australia in 2012 after being appointed managing director. The merger of VML and Y&R two years ago saw Hepburn become co-CEO with Pete Bosilkovski, who left the agency just weeks before him.

The departure of Hepburn and Bosilkovski triggered a flood of senior staff leaving the business, including Di Veroli, who was head of strategy, and Scott, who was managing partner.

Dave Di Veroli, Miles Scott, Aden Hepburn have formed Akcelo

Akcelo will ‘inject brand and creativity to customer experiences to unlock growth for CMOs’.  It has been founded with the goal of bridging the disconnect between a brand’s DNA and the experiences customers have across all of its touch points. Services will include creative, customer experience and technology.

Akcelo has launched with founding client Lion Australia, tasked with delivering brand experiences for its portfolio of beer brands with a remit covering creative, digital, social, content, CRM, technology and data.

Lion is not an unfamiliar business Hepburn. In 2018, prior to the merger, VML was appointed to Lion’s digital account. Akcelo is also working with a number of major local and international brands. It has apparently launched with a fully staffed team working across strategy, creative, social, technology, mobility, UX, CX and design.

Akcelo is derived from the Esperanto word meaning ‘acceleration’. Hepburn said Akcelo will be ‘customer obsessed’.

“The move to invest in improving customer experiences has created a homogenisation of experiences, which while frictionless, can be immediately forgettable,” he said.

“CMO’s and business leaders are looking for partners that are customer obsessed, technically-savvy and also able to deliver creative differentiation. We started Akcelo to bring experience, emotion, creativity and technology together so the brand experience (BX) is memorable across the entire customer journey.”

Scott added: “We’ve architected a new model and quickly built a talented team to hit the ground running. We’re already working with great brands, such as Lion, who understand the importance of BX and how it can grow their business.”

Di Veroli said that combining brand, and CX will differentiate the agency.

“For brands to win and ultimately drive increased growth, they need to create an affinity beyond convenience, through powerful brand experiences that capture the imagination of current and future customers. At the heart of BX is creating unique signature experiences that only your brand can deliver,” he said.

Akcelo’s first piece of work for Lion was ‘Furphy Fridays’, a virtual pub experience hosted by Matt Okine and Australian cricket captain Aaron Finch.

Claire Williams, consumer connections director at Lion, said: “We are excited to work with Akcelo across a wide remit including our digital, social, content and platforms, as a foundation client. We’ve already started work together with the successful launch of Furphy Fridays and we’re looking forward to building on that across our portfolio.”


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