Amplify Launches
New Global Initiative Worldbuilding At SXSW 2023

Published by: The Drum
Date: 16/03/2023

Amplify, the global creative agency specialising in experience and culture has revealed its latest global brand initiative, worldbuilding | the evolution of brand building, launched as part of the official programming at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

LEGO and Pinterest joined Amplify on stage to explore how worldbuilding strategies can build brands through immersive storytelling and co-creation, creating fandoms and narratives that put audiences at the epicentre.

Alex Wilson, Executive Creative Director, Amplify led the discussion with Judy Lee, Head of Global Brand Experiences & Programs, Pinterest; Kris Crockett, Global Brand Development, The LEGO Group and Jeavon Smith, Chief Creative Officer, Amplify. The panel discussed where co-creation starts and stops, whether to make the product or the audience your central hero, if a connected story is more powerful than one that’s standalone, and how to enable a sense of ownership in your world.

As well as sharing examples of worldbuilding from Netflix, McDonald’s and Bumble, Amplify used a QR link to invite the audience to join their Discord server and experience worldbuilding for themselves, by using Midjourney AI to create scenes from the imaginary Scorsese film Goncharov. Hundreds of images had already been added by the end of the panel, and the world continues to grow.

Jeavon Smith, Chief Creative Officer, Amplify explained that worldbuilding is not a new concept. He said: “The ways in which memories are created and shared, forms the framework for the worlds we build and the places audiences love to inhabit.:”

Judy Lee, Head of Global Brand Experiences & Programs, Pinterest, described why diversity and representation is key when architecting spaces and worlds. She said: “Inspiration begins with inclusion. Something we all crave is to be seen and understood. It’s difficult to belong if you can’t see yourself, so we need to focus on positives outcomes and engineering for good rather than growth at all costs.”

Kris Crockett, Global Brand Development, The LEGO Group talked about the importance of putting a brand in the path of the audience, rather than making them work for it. He said: “Memories and immersive stories create deep connections with collective creative communities - let’s give people a feeling of agency and freedom to do what they want.”

Alex Wilson, Executive Creative Director, Amplify, described the power of nostalgia and emotion through the lens of storytelling. He said: “Worldbuilding is about taking a brand, IP or product, putting your audience at the heart of it, and building a world around them.”

Jonathan Emmins, Founder and CEO at Amplify said: “We are excited to share Amplify’s perspective on the challenges and opportunities for global brand building, with the launch of our new worldbuilding initiative at SXSW 23. Over the coming months we’ll launch a book and film series on worldbuilding pioneers, with in-depth roundtable debates run by our teams in Los Angeles, Sydney, Paris and London. This marks the next phase of expansion for Amplify following a year of significant client and business growth including recent work with Activision, Canva, Lego, Nike and Polestar.”

Alex Wilson also appeared in the CondeNast session on Web3, Metaverse and Modern Storytelling featuring JC Oliver of Move78, Maghan McDowell of Vogue Business and Nico Sarti from Condé Nast. Alex addressed how Web3 enables collaboration and cooperative forms of creative work, using examples of personal projects created within the agency alongside global brands.

In his final SXSW appearance, Wilson moved to the Lush House for a discussion on immersive storytelling where he outlined the worldbuilding techniques and tools that brands can use to engage audiences.

Following SXSW, Amplify will launch a book and film featuring contributors from NYC, London, LA, Paris and Melbourne at a London premiere on 19th April 2023. The film has been created by activist and director Bexy Cameron with 25 worldbuilding pioneers from the worlds of music, film, culture and entertainment. Bexy will appear on stage with a panel of worldbuilding pioneers to talk about her film.

Amplify’s worldbuilding digital hub, featuring the film trailer, is now live at

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