Okó is one of the first ever independent agencies in France

It creates and produces all its work with its own lifeblood, without ever having to call upon the help of creative freelancers. This decision, so unique to the agency market, doesn’t prevent us from remaining open to other intelligence and other complimentary expertise in France and elsewhere.

Since 2009 Okó has been supported by one of the largest international networks of independent agencies.
Interpartners: Turnover of $620m, 990 clients in Europe, Asia, United States and Australia.

 

– 21 agencies
– 20 countries over 5 continents

Since 2009 Okó is also a member of recognised professional bodies such as Communication & Entreprise, the largest association for the communication field in France. In June 2015, Hervé Francès was elected the association’s administrator. He is also vice-president of the training committee.

– 1 700 professional members
– the only association which gathers together advertisers, agencies, the self-employed, students, research companies etc.

com-et-entreprise

Okó has pulled together an “ecosystem” of agency experts who share a belief in independence, creativity and human values. Among them, Sensation! (Events communications agency, created in 1989 and run by Dan-Antoine Blanc-Shapira), the Argonauts (digital agency directed by Alain Assouline and Nicolas Chagny), Magina (digital agency founded in 2006 and run by Franck Lasserre), Controversy (audiovisual production company, created and managed by the Producer Yannick Saillet). BDBL (digital marketing and social media agency).

KISS is onomatopoeic
It is a gesture of love
and a sign of affection.

It is also our style :

Keep It Simple And Stupid

Be neither superfluous, nor pretentious.

21 isn’t merely an agency, it is also a unique place

3 LEVELS → 800m2

No doors, a meeting room with a surface area of more than 200m2, and works of art from our collection displayed over 3 levels.

When we took on our premises in 2005 we wanted to convert an unusual place that is completely open and comfortable. We kept the character of the workshops which were here before us and which we improved upon with appropriate materials (polished concrete flooring) and historical industrial furniture.
Our spaces are designed as exhibition areas with adapted lighting and are set to adjust accordingly to external light levels. It took us almost a year of work to convert the space that is surprisingly light, quiet and serene.
We chose a working class, young and creative neighbourhood. We are very close to Paris (the Parisian périphérique has two gateways found nearby: Saint Ouen or Clichy, numerous means of public transport (RER C Station Saint-Ouen/Métro Mairie de Clichy Buses Numbers 66, 74, 174, 274 et 341) and well-known multinationals (Danone, Nokia, Sony, Citroën…all situated less than 5 mins’ walk away).

Within the last 6 years voted 4 times Agency of the Year in 3 different categories

22 creative awards in 2014 (7) and 2015 (15)

Bellecour

  • Top/Com Grand Prize Silver Corporate 2016

ACPE

  • Top/Com Grand Prize Silver Corporate 2016

Fighting against Cystic Fibrosis (awareness campaign)

  • Top/Com Special Grand Prize Corporate 2015
  • Top/Com Gold public interest advertising 2015
  • Trophy for the best online video
    Professional prize (Gold) Creativity prize (silver)

BNP Paribas Personal Finance (campagne diversité)

  • Top/Com Special Grand Prize CSR 2015

Bellecour (internet website)

  • Prize of honour category “2015 Best internet website prize”
  • Prize of honour category “Judges’ special prize”

Unédic

  • 1st Prize editorial for a public organisation

ACPE (awareness campaign)

  • 2015 Trophy for the best online video – Creation prize, bronze
  • Festival international du film corporate Films et compagnie
    La Baule Prize for the Human Aid and patronage category de la catégorie Action humanitaire et mécénat
  • Communication Trophies

AFM-Telethon

  • 3rd Prize communication campaign for a public organisation

Fight against Cystic Fibrosis (awareness campaign)

  • 2014 Communications Awards
    Judges’ prize
  • Communications & Corporate 2014
    Honorary prize General Interest Campaign

BNP Paribas Personal Finance (diversity campaign)

  • 2014 Communications Awards
    Ist prize Internal Communications
  • 2014 Communications & Corporate
    campaign honorary Prize and employer brand

ACCOR Group (handicap campaign)

  • Top/Com Silver Internal communications 2014

Syndicat de l’Orge (sustainable development reports)

  • 2014 Communications & Corporate
    Honorary Prize sustainable development and social responsibility
  • 1st prize 2014 public communications publishing

Relationship Marketing Agency of the Year 2013

ACCOR Group (handicap campaign)

  • 2013 Communications & Corporate
    Top prize HR and employer branding campaign
  • 2013 Top/Com Silver internal communications (handicap mission)
  • 2013 Communications Awards
    2013 Communications Awards
    for the ACCOR handicap mission campaign

Creativity sells.
The absence of ideas is deadly, ordinariness is destructive.

If communication isn’t an investment, you might as well do nothing.
If it is an investment, it must have and reach a quantifiable goal.

A good idea costs nothing but it does bring in money.

The channel is as important as the message.
One makes the other and vice-versa.

It’s better to have an idea that is twice
as nice than one which is doubly ugly.

An unintelligent idea is ugly, an inelegant idea, stupid.

To resist is to create and to create is to resist.

To create is to project one’s voice and to carve one’s own path.
You can’t get there first if you’re simply following the crowd.

To create is to bring an idea alive and make it stimulating

To create is to tell stories without making up stories.
To deceive is to fail.

Creativity sparks a certain emotion where boredom never brings desire.

Creativity twists the brief, enriches it, disobeys it,
only sticks to the essential and goes straight to the point.

OUR ROLE IS TO BE USEFUL TO OUR CLIENTS. BUT NOT JUST…

We have always wanted to be useful to associations who fight for what they believe to be right, to entrepreneurs who are starting out, and artists who rock!
Here’s why…

We have created a corporate foundation to offer free access to contemporary art for all.

We constantly support (creatively and financially) causes which deserve to be defended such as the Association Against Child Prostitution.

We offer completely free creative support to those who set up their own company whose projects seem relevant to us (3 to 4 projects per year).

We offer companies special rates for great causes for all their communication projects led for the diversity and integration of disabled people.

We ensure that our staff undergo training courses to ensure that they are forever useful to our clients as well as in critical moments with First Aid training.

We place great importance on environmentally-friendly goods and services (bike couriers, hypoallergenic paint as well as an intelligent lighting system which automatically adjusts itself to external light levels…).

IN 2005, OKÓ ENACTED THE CLIENTS’ MANIFESTO

TO ASSERT ITS CONCEPT OF BEING A DIFFERENT, COMMITTED AND RESPECTFUL AGENCY.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH BELIEVES IN PREMIUM.

With our clients, we have learnt to distinguish between luxury and premium. Luxury is distant, cold and inaccessible. Premium is intelligent, avant-garde and daring. Nothing is free, nothing can ever be taken for granted.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH DOESN’T JUST THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH IT IS GOING TO TO BILL YOU.

Some large agencies do not seek to win a client but a price. It’s all about the money and is completely depersonalised. The brand disappears behind the cheques. It is the number of zeroes that can be lined up before the decimal point that count, not the story behind it.
You deserve an agency which knows that the policy of one-shot doesn’t harm its development. In choosing loyalty, respect and trust, long-term commitment isn’t utopian but is instead realistic, pragmatic and efficient.

YOU DESERVE TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE BOSS AGAIN

We aren’t one of those agencies who send in their squad of directors for presentations and who then send in their B team to manage projects. You are entitled to an agency which shows long-term commitment and has one the highest level of loyalty. With Okó, you will see the same faces from the outset.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH WORKS ONLY FOR YOU

The fact that we are independent means that we avoid wasting time. 30% of the work time of a large agency is devoted to reporting to shareholders. You deserve an agency where 100% of our team is customer-focused. All of the unproductive roles (accountancy, HR, IT etc.) are outsourced.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH DOESN’T WANT TO BE IDIOTIC

Communications is a sector where sometimes (or often) ideas are judged to be ‘too creative’, ‘too daring’, ‘too strong’ or ‘too ahead of their time’!
You deserve an agency which believes your customers are intelligent and which is able to communicate with them at that level. You deserve an agency which has demonstrated that intelligence is the bedrock of connivance and of brand performance.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH IS SELF-FUNDING

In a capitalist group, power is no longer in the hands of the director of the agency but in the pockets of some shareholders registered with the main stock exchanges. Power isn’t in ideas but in financial spreadsheets.
You are entitled to an independent agency where the power isn’t spread thinly over several hierarchical levels. An agency which is self-funding, reinvests its money towards seeking out new talent, new jobs and new ways of working. An agency which thinks of gaining height rather than weight.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH KNOWS THAT PROGRESS IS MADE THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR

In past years as an advisory agency to the web’s largest brands, we retained this adage: « Fail fast, learn fast ». It’s the basis of our agility, the sign of humility that we don’t want to deceive, the expression of our determination and of never giving in to discouragements. An agency which believes that « the harder you work the more luck you have ».

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH SAYS WHAT IT DOES… AND WHAT IT KNOWS HOW TO DO

When communication was all the rage, you had to call yourself 360°. When the web kicked off, you had to call yourself an « e-agency ». When the bubble bursts and everything switches towards relationship marketing, you then have to present yourself as an ROI agency. Until when? A new era?
That’s why you deserve an agency which doesn’t change with fads and fashions, which asserts its know-how without deceiving you. An agency which is clear about what it can and can’t do.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH DOESN’T KEEP QUIET AND KNOWS HOW TO SAY ‘NO’

We respond to one consultation in two. Certain tendering bids do not match our skills and some sectors are incompatible with our principles (tobacco, credit repurchase, betting) and some advertisers don’t respect agencies. They question up to 7 or even 10 agencies without worrying about the investment by an agency for a strategic recommendation or the drafting of creative projects. Advertisers insist on the agency being transparent but some refuse, for example, to say how many agencies are consulted or to communicate the budget. This bad approach leads to agencies adopting bad attitudes (recycling previously refused projects, botched strategies etc.). We refute this approach. If an advertiser plays the card of opaqueness and secrecy, we prefer to decline the consultation and to concentrate on advertisers who are respectful and sincere.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH LIVES (AND SOMETIMES DIES) WITH ITS IDEAS

We have never worked with freelancers and never will. Whilst the heart of our profession is creativity, numerous large agencies believe it good to go ahead and subcontract their concepts and ideas. In doing so, they save on expenses whilst accentuating the precarious nature of our jobs and sector!
We do not oppose such acts. You are entitled to an agency where 50% of its staff has a creative background. That hasn’t changed and never will.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH DOESN’T SMELL OF MOTHBALLS

The myth of a large agency being better than an independent one is still alive. However, a large agency will not invest more than we will. Even worse than that, it will have trouble recruiting as quickly as we do and in keeping its talent.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH DOESN’T REFER TO YOU AS IF YOU WERE A CHESTNUT

When peasants came to see their large landowners to collect the chestnuts which had fallen on the ground, they were told that they could take them because the pigs wouldn’t want any. For us, chestnut budgets don’t exist, we respect all our clients. If we reply to a consultation, we give 100%. We never demonstrate disdain or distrust.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH LOVES

It seems that morgues and cynicism are a style to have to work in an ad agency. To be blasé about everything, to be surprised about nothing, to cultivate cynicism and unpleasantness… not here, not with us! You deserve an agency which smiles, which is riotous or which astonishes. An agency which doesn’t forget that the second meaning of the word ‘morgue’ evokes death, the cold and sadness. We love life, laughter, complicity and authenticity.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH IS INVENTIVE

We don’t believe in preconceived reasoning, in strategic tortuous betting. All clients are different and so are their contexts. Ignoring this is to ignore the cornerstone of their profession. We think bespoke.
You are entitled to an agency which recognises the importance of emotion as it is the most difficult quest. And there are only two arrows which reach the heart: beauty and intelligence. Therein lies our double obsession.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH SAYS SOMETHING JUST BY ITS NAME

You are entitled to an agency which has chosen its name to express a life project, to commit itself and take position.
Okó is a Sioux word which means ‘to gather together’, ‘to be all together’. It is a project in its own right. You are also entitled to this type of agency: a resolute, generous and altruistic one.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH DOESN’T CHANGE SIDES AND WHICH GOES THAT EXTRA MILE

How many French agencies are directed by their founder? Very, very few. Today, managers change agency like footballers change club. You deserve to work with an agency where the boss, one day, decided to create a company with personal values and commitments. An agency where the written word will always count for less than the real commitment made. An agency which sticks to its word and believes in hard work. Since 1993.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH REFUSES A ‘DOG EAT DOG’ CULTURE

In response to large advertising groups who relentlessly buy up agencies before swallowing them whole, we fight for our independence. When we have been approached in an attempt to buy us out, it was with no project in return. The only thing that mattered was our gross margin. Nothing else.
You are entitled to an agency which has projects and ambitions, an agency managed simply and wholesomely. Okó benefits from the best Bank of France rating and since its creation has only recorded year on year profit. We make our way and will continue to do so without any economic rationale.

YOU DESERVE AN AGENCY WHICH DOESN’T LOUNGE AROUND IN THE SUN.

We don’t see ourselves as one of those agencies which all meet up together in Cannes or in Crans Montana. Admittedly, they share the creative prizes amongst themselves by sucking the lifeblood out of all of the judges’ rankings. While they self-congratulate themselves year after year, we prefer to get on with the job in hand. For us sheer hard graft always pays off. And we have a stronger belief in our portfolio and in our independent way of thinking than we do in sunblushed prizes.

Staff

FermerHervé Francès
Hervé Francès Président fondateur Concepteur-rédacteur à 18 ans, professeur de publicité à 19, directeur de la communication à 22, chef d’entreprise à 23 et fondateur d’Okó à 26 ans. Contrairement aux apparences, Hervé Francès n’a pas forcément les deux pieds sur l’accélérateur. Il défend le modèle d’une agence indépendante (il n’a jamais souhaité travailler même comme stagiaire dans une grande agence), patiemment construite en partant de rien avec, depuis 1993, une croissance raisonnée et toujours progressive d’année en année. Il est marié et père de 4 jeunes enfants. Ses passions : l’art contemporain avec la création de la Fondation Francès, le sport (ancien joueur de hockey–sur-glace), la politique et la vie publique, les vins.
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