Geeks + Hedonists: Amplify in The Drum
By Ishbel Macleod
Jonathan Emmins and Marcus Childs, founder and partner respectively of London marketing agency Amplify, discuss being equal parts ‘geeks’ and ‘hedonists’, and the lessons learned from omelet making, as part of The Drum’s Twist or Stick series with Twist Recruitment. This feature was first published in The Drum's 29 October issue.
Watching the Saturday Kitchen omelette challenge with a hangover gave Amplify’s founder Jonathan Emmins a piece of advice that he has carried with him throughout life.
The challenge sees two chefs battle it out to make the best omelette in the shortest time, but this particular episode made Emmins think that you don’t need to stick to the rules to be successful: in marketing and in life.
“They had Jean-Christophe Novelli on there, and this other chef was just spinning his omelette round, and Novelli is just taking his time. The other guy who is doing it slops out some crap on the plate and Novelli is taking ages, he’s not feeling the pressure. At the end, one has slop and one had a beautiful looking thing.
“Clearly there are rules to follow sometimes, but sometimes there is a better way of doing things. That’s my advice.”
Emmins describes the founding of the 55-strong social, digital, PR and content agency Amplify as “bringing the band back together”, having worked with Amplify partner Marcus Childs previously at Making Waves.
Childs says “there was a tight group of us who did really, really well there and really enjoyed it, and we have regrouped at Amplify.”
The agency was created with the ethos to make creative communications that provide meaningful connections with consumers, and to try to be a home for creative people and clients.
The other part of the agency’s ethos is to be equal parts ‘geeks’ and ‘hedonists’. “We’re always trying to pioneer the untraditional, but with the rigor of the traditional. So, we try to look for ways that we can reach out and engage, whether it is experiential, digital, social: those things quickly become the traditional, so what’s next? What are the exciting areas out there?” Emmins asks.
He enjoys experiential and social because of the real time feedback it provides if consumers love or hate a campaign.
Amplify was mostly unknown to outsiders until it received a call from “dream brand” Honda, asking the agency to discuss reaching a new audience for the launch of its new CR-Z hybrid coupé.
After an audit and reworking of the brand and product messaging, Amplify created the Dream Factory brand platform, with the 20 cultural engineers as part of the ‘factory’.