A personal take on the exclusive partnership from The Hoffman Agency’s Hong Kong General Manager and former employee of Hotwire, Marc Sparrow


Andy West, Hotwire’s Group Chief Development Officer reunites with Hoffman Hong Kong GM Marc Sparrow

In the 2009 TV show “Flashforward*,” every human on earth loses consciousness while they view a scene from their future. Some are shocked at where their lives will take them. I’ve recalled the premise of the show frequently over my last six years in Hong Kong as I’ve enjoyed moments in my professional life that my younger self could never have imagined. Experiences such as pitching in Seoul at midnight, running workshops with almost every nation across Asia represented, and meetings in rooms with some of the best views on the planet.

When I left the UK just over six years ago, I was bursting with anticipation about what lay ahead of me in working in Hong Kong, but also sorry to leave my current agency so early into my time there. I’d joined Hotwire’s London office in November 2011 and had been enjoying a great experience. I had no intention of leaving, but an offer came along that was just too good to turn down: the chance to move to Hong Kong, a city that had enchanted me on a number of visits. When I walked out the Hotwire office for the last time, it felt like there was unfinished business.

Fast forward six years and I arrived at work one morning to see an email from Lou Hoffman about a conversation he’d had with his long-time friend Barbara Bates, today’s CEO of Hotwire. They were discussing the possibility of Hotwire using The Hoffman Agency’s network in Asia to supplement their global footprint. The prospect of an alliance made immediate sense to me.

The Hoffman Agency and Hotwire have a lot in common: a knack for attracting the smartest graduates; striking the right balance between the commitment needed to get work done to a high standard, but without letting work overshadow all other aspects of life; and reputations that make both agencies magnets for companies across the full range of the technology sector — martech, adtech, mobile tech, fintech, enterprise tech … the list goes on. My time at both agencies has offered such rich variety in simply meeting with the companies that walk through the door for a first meeting, let alone those that we’re lucky enough to end up working with in a long-term relationship.

Given my background, I took the initial lead in sounding out how such a partnership might work in practice. As it turned out, it was a fairly straightforward exercise. The cultures of both agencies are very aligned — entrepreneurial, straight-talking and uber-attentive to the needs of the client. And the partnership offers big advantages to both parties — Hotwire gets to fill a gap in its global coverage with a network that can be relied on to deliver the goods; and we in Hoffman Asia gain access to a whole new client base.

Andy West, Hotwire’s Group Chief Development Officer, joins Rasheed Abu Bakar, account director, Hoffman Indonesia, and Maureen Tseng, GM, Hoffman Singapore to meet with the rest of the Hoffman Asia team via teleconference.

The partnership discussions progressed successfully and led me to another of those “flash forward” Asia moments that I could never have seen coming. Introducing Hotwire’s chief development officer and my erstwhile colleague, Andy West, to our teams in Hong Kong and Singapore — as we once again collaborated on an appetising piece of new business. May there be many more.

* = 7.6 on IMDB; starts off promising, but turns out to be a duffer. Don’t bother.

P.S. The Holmes Report story on the partnership can be found here.

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