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Winner Brand Experience Agency of the Year 2020

Brand Experience Agency of the Year 2020: Amplify

To read the announcement, head to Campaign for the full article.

Amplify has retained its title of Brand Experience Agency of the Year, having also been named Campaign’s Brand Experience Agency of the Decade in December 2019. But what really makes this Shoreditch-based shop so special?

The agency bagged 17 new clients in 2019, including Adidas, Burberry, Dr Martens and Nando’s. It was a year that marked a global shift for the agency, following the launch of its Australian office at the end of 2018. In its first 12 months of operation, Amplify Australia won 10 clients, including Google, Nike, Spotify, The Iconic and YouTube – giving the agency the confidence that its understanding of culture and approach to brand experiences could be exported. 

Wiith 55% of Amplify’s work coming from outside the UK, its global footprint looks set to expand further, with a French foothold in the offing and a Stateside office now operating out of Los Angeles. Marcus Childs, the agency’s UK managing partner, will run the US venture as president, supported by executive vice-presidents Mark McDermott and Alex Smith, formerly Amplify’s UK business director and UK head of live, respectively.

Standout work undertaken last year includes Airbnb’s "Night at the Louvre" (pictured, top), which took place in April 2019. For the global campaign, Airbnb teamed up with Paris’ Musée du Louvre – Europe’s most-visited museum – to give one competition winner and a guest an overnight stay in a "mini pyramid" under the building’s famous glass pyramid structure. Along with the unique stay came unrivalled access to the museum, including a bespoke tour, French music played on vinyl, a feast in the presence of the Venus de Milo and an acoustic concert in the Napoleon III Apartments. Amplify exceeded Airbnb’s previous competition benchmarks, with entries growing from their typical 80,000 to 182,000 applications in this competition. YouTube content about the experience racked up 5.9 million video completions.

In a UK campaign for Nando’s it created a special menu and range of events hosted over three weeks in London’s Shoreditch. The agency was challenged to create an experience that emotionally connected with Nando’s younger audience, showing they had their finger on the pulse and offering a "safe space". The safe space in question offered 34 programmed events across its run, including dance classes and breathing workshops. It also hosted film screenings, live music and comedy performances. "Nando’s Yard" was also one of the few places in the UK you could find a Nando’s breakfast of peri-peri chicken sausages, spiced maple pancakes and spicy beans. With 3,520 visitors – an average of 233 per day – "Nando’s Yard" was an inspiring place for young people to explore their creativity and socialise.

The agency also worked with Sipsmith to break through the crowded festival landscape with an experience that fully reflected the brand by transporting festival-goers back to the gin palaces of old, created by combining Victorian iconography and contemporary design. "The Sipsmith Gin Palace",  housed in a yurt, appeared at 14 UK festivals and  events, including Henley Royal Regatta, Wilderness festival and The Big Festival. Once inside the Gin Palace, festival-goers were treated to a raucous jazz party, bespoke cocktails and cocktail masterclasses. 

The agency continues to expand with three creative directors and a head of content joining the team. Judges did, however, note a "disappointing lack of diversity in the senior hiring decisions made in the last year". Yet the internal work culture clearly keeps the talented teams at Amplify loyal –  a quarter of the staff have clocked up five or more years in service. 

This creative shop dominates the brand experience landscape, with the judges’ panel agreeing that its work "feels big, noisy and effective".