Scott Goodson

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[Amsterdam] Scott Goodson describes StrawberryFrog, the shop he founded on Valentine's Day 1999, as "your friendly global neighborhood ad agency."

That agency-consisting of 70 staffers, known as "frogs," from 25 nations; countless free-lancers; and Zorro the dog-will open a New York office this spring. "We believe in the global soul," says Mr. Goodson, a Canadian. "And we have proved that a strong idea can unify diverse markets."

Without the structure, or overheads, of a global network, StrawberryFrog claims to offer advertisers agility and cost effectiveness, as well as innovative and "culturally neutral" creative work. International marketers agree. Clients include Mitsubishi Motors Europe, Sony Ericsson phones, Pfizer, Sprint Corp., Ikea, Viacom's MTV, Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Asics sneakers. Work for these marketers has run in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

StrawberryFrog prides itself on creating and controlling buzz about brands, often through viral and guerrilla marketing. For the launch of a Sony Ericsson picture phone cool enough to drool over, for instance, StrawberryFrog created a "drool chic" Web site with images of salivating teenagers. It also hired walkers to parade packs of slobbering dogs, wearing jackets with pictures of the new phone, around European cities.

Five years old next month, StrawberryFrog has boosted revenue by 20%-30% annually. Mr. Goodson describes the upcoming New York office as a "capability" rather than a full operation. "It'll probably end up being in a lean-to," he says.

U.S. needs frogs

Behind the humor, he's confident that the U.S. needs StrawberryFrog.

The agency's name was inspired by a rare, tiny amphibian with a red body and blue legs. (A sibling guerrilla marketing shop is called BlueberryFrog.) In the agency's folklore, the nimble strawberry frog is the opposite of what the agency's founder, who also holds the title of creative director, calls the "dinosaur agencies, established in the industrial age as monoliths, which have the greatest difficulty in adapting to the new era."

For a maverick, the 40-year-old Mr. Goodson can boast a background that's shockingly traditional. His grandfather, both parents and four sisters all work in advertising. His first job was working for his dad. Mr. Goodson, originally a copywriter, followed his Swedish wife to Europe and spent 10 years working at agencies in Stockholm, observing the Swedish flair for design and photography.

"It has helped me to translate a vision for brands and to create very visual, stylish campaigns that work across borders," he says. When his father became ill, he returned to Canada and took a job as executive creative director of WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Co. in Toronto.

"It gave me the motivation to start this agency," Mr. Goodson says. "Clients are looking for increased productivity-they want better work, faster and for less money."

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