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Brand Experience Agency of the Decade: Amplify

Amplify was founded only in 2008 but already had three Agency of the Year titles under its belt.

Brand Experience Agency of the Decade: Amplify

Founded in 2008 by Jonathan Emmins, Amplify, which launched with the mission to "join the dots between people, brands and culture", has done just that through consistently immaculate live experiences and campaigns. And with three Agency of the Year titles already under its belt in the past decade, the Shoreditch-based shop is now Campaign’s Brand Experience Agency of the Decade. 

Amplify’s trajectory has been as supercharged as its consumer-facing activations – within its first six years, the creative shop was bagging awards and Agency of the Year titles, and is the incumbent Most Admired Agency as selected by its peers in Campaign’s The Future of Brand Experiences report.

Early clients included Honda; in April 2010 the agency was appointed to raise consumer awareness of the marque’s hybrid coupe model CR-Z following a three-way pitch. 

By 2014, the agency was building relationships with long-term clients such as Converse and PlayStation, while adding 11 new ones, including Nike, Google and winning its first Agency of the Year title.

In May 2016 Amplify released its Young Blood project, a bold thought-leadership piece reflecting the hopes, fears and realities of growing up in modern Britain, drawing on research conducted with more than 2,500 people under the age of 25. 

The white paper and report were supported by seven short films and a series of talks around the research, in collaboration with Soho House. Just five months later, Emmins credited the launch of the work with being the main driver behind a slew of client wins, including Airbnb, Method, Jura and Hunter, and announced the intention to double the size of the agency’s creative team, starting with the appointment of a new creative director. 

More than 400 applications were received for the role at the creative shop, with the job going to Jeavon Smith, former vice-president creative director at Jack Morton. Under his leadership, the creative team expanded and 2017 was a standout year. 

Amplify: delivered 'Curiosity rooms' to promote Google's Pixel 3

Inside just four weeks, Amplify took Netflix to the Cannes Film Festival, activated PlayStation VR at E3 in Los Angeles, delivered Google’s Think conference and collaborated with Sonos on its evocative "Rescored" campaign at Abbey Road Studios, featuring Oscar-winning composer Stephen Price and a 60-piece orchestra. The agency’s global work was on the rise, with 60% of all work being delivered outside the UK, taking the team across Europe, the US, Japan, Australia and South Africa. The shop closed the year with its second Brand Experience Agency of the Year title from Campaign.

The following year, the agency made its debut in Campaign’s School Reports, entering with a score of nine as it celebrated its tenth anniversary. Amplify Australia launched with managing partner and executive producer Gareth Davies at the helm, following a nine-year stint at the London office.

The creative team’s experience-design creds were showcased to the max at the end of 2018, when Amplify unveiled Google Pixel 3’s "Curiosity rooms" – a slick, three-floor space filled with food, fashion and tech experiences in Piccadilly Circus.

This year’s accolades include Campaign’s Brand Experience Agency of the Year title plus another nine in School Reports. The agency continues to deliver experiences that live well beyond their moment. The global Airbnb "Night at the Louvre" campaign, which offered two travellers a night at Europe’s most-visited museum, was admired and keenly debated. Was it an experience, a stunt, a striking digital campaign or pure creativity that needed no definition? 

Runner-up

Jack Morton Worldwide

Jack Morton Worldwide: clients include Kodak

As we welcomed the start of this decade, the stage was set for Jack Morton Worldwide to deliver an outstanding set of activations, which led to the global agency being crowned Brand Experience Agency of the Year in October 2010, at the Campaign Experience Awards (then known as the Event Awards). 

Recognised for its work for the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ reforms and the British Army’s "Start thinking soldier" campaign, the award was one of many for an agency already winning Cannes Lions silverware. It bagged the Brand Experience Agency of the Year title again in 2013 in a strong 12 months, during which it took in an estimated £55m in experiential billings.

When it comes to creating global experiences, Jack Morton Worldwide has an enviable creds list, spanning Kodak, Reebok and Ericsson among others. Mike Kunheim took on the managing director role in October 2015, leading a focus on building deeper client relationships, and has been the driving force behind translating the agency’s "do something extraordinary" purpose into tangible creations. This has resulted in some outstanding work including the bold "#LondonUnited" for the Mayor of London’s office, created around the anniversary of the 2017 terrorist attacks, through to the Desperados "Skyfest" activation delivered with We Are Pi, which picked up the coveted Grand Prix at the Campaign Experience Awards last year.

As the decade draws to a close, this global agency continues to influence the brand experience landscape.