Step into my office: Jack Morton on business longevity and powerful marketing

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

'Step into my office,' a new series of interviews powered by The Future Factory and The Drum Network, focuses on the challenges and the opportunities facing agencies this year. We will be taking a sneak peek into the lives of agencies, how they work, what motivates them and what their thoughts are on the current state of the industry.

Jack Morton's Adam Azor

Adam Azor, senior vice president of integrated and digital marketing at Jack Morton, discusses 76 years' worth of success and their thoughts on the virtual world.

What does the agency do?

We’re a global brand experience agency, creating experiences that strengthen the relationships between brands and the people who matter most to them. We work to create extraordinary experiences for our clients across event marketing, promotional marketing, digital, social and mobile, sponsorship marketing and content marketing.

How long have you been around?

We’ve been around for 76 years, although we don’t look a day over 75. Jack has been active since the dawn of the events industry when Jack Morton himself was using the power of experience to help improve his clients’ businesses. That principle still rings true today – we are very proud of our history but equally excited about where we’re going as an agency today.

What makes you different from your peers?

It makes me smile that so many agencies are now calling themselves brand experience agencies, from advertising through to digital agencies. It’s testament to the power of what we do, of course. But, as a brand experience agency with 76 years of expertise under our belts, clients have long trusted us to apply this expertise to deliver extraordinary results for their businesses. Further to this, we’re in the enviable position of having the experience and expertise all under one roof to conceptualise, design and deliver experiences of any scale, anywhere in the world.

What have been the biggest challenges over the last year?

The overall movement from retained to project based work for all agencies has disrupted the industry. Historically, remits between agency disciplines were clear but now you have agencies all fighting for ownership of the creative and the budget.

Plus, there can be a number of specialists brought in, such as technology or marketing automation agencies, who see things very differently. While this can create good tension and great work, I’ve noticed a number of disjointed and ineffective campaigns from brands that have historically been leading the way when it came to integration and effectiveness.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities over the next year?

VR/AR/MR (basically the virtual and augmented world) – it is the game changer; it’s the biggest opportunity to hit the industry since the rise of social media. The team at Jack are massively excited, as we’ve been creating three dimensional ideas for many years, and that’s exactly the type of creative thinking needed to lead and elevate this technological revolution into an effective marketing tool.

What do you think the biggest challenges are facing experiential over the next few years?

The biggest challenge to our industry is going to be how we quantify our reach and measurement. Historically, budgets for experiential have made up a small percentage of the overall marketing spend, because TV and Outdoor could guarantee x number of OTS at a set cost and tick the metric boxes clients needed. However, the relationship between experiential, social and content means we can legitimately provide an emotionally powerful marketing solution that can have greater reach and penetration than traditional media. This is both exciting and scary for the industry. I sit on the IPM Experiential Council and it’s something that all the experiential agencies recognise; we’re working together to provide an industry standard experiential measurement system.

This need for compelling measurement is even more critical when you consider the fact that budgets for clients are still very difficult to win in the current climate; understandably, any campaign they run has to work hard to demonstrate meeting business objectives and ROI. The challenge for the industry is to successfully justify the choice of experiential, where the majority of integrated briefs could be won by any type of media. This pressure to show ROI inevitably makes clients more risk-averse, but in order to be able to create great innovative work, you do need an element of risk. Thus, our challenge as an industry is to build trust with clients, so we can be more brave.

Where are you based and why this location?

We’re located between Chiswick and Acton, which is essentially the "new Shoreditch"...

We’re based here due to our history: our office is big and many years ago we used to build things in-house, so we needed that extra space. Now we possess plenty of thinking and breathing space.

How important is location for you?

I think being in London is important, especially from a client and talent perspective. However, I’ve previously worked in agency hotspots like Shoreditch and Soho, and while that can add to the agency personality, I’m a firm believer that agencies create their own culture regardless of where their location is – (incredibly, there are even agencies outside of London that have talented people and do great work!) Location is important, but sometimes too much emphasis is put on it.

Do you feel the office needs to be quirky and irreverent or simply functional?

I don’t think an office should be ‘quirky for quirky’s sake’. I also think, after working in advertising for many years, that this rule applies to people, but that’s another story…

Having said this, there is nothing worse than a functional boring space. We’re lucky to work in a creative industry, where we work hard but it’s a fun job, so I think offices should inspire creativity. How that inspiration should manifest is down to the type of agency you are.

Who are your current clients?

Heineken, Chevrolet, Kodak, Scania, Eaton Power, P&G, GLA, HSBC, Ericsson, King.

Name 3 projects you were most proud of in the last year

Heineken SPYFIE (James Bond Spectre activation)

Kodak at Drupa (exhibition brand experience)

King Candy Crush Jelly Saga (Bouncingham Castle) launch

What have been some recent achievements/wins?

Awards

The Drum – Experiential agency of the year (2015)

The Drum - Chairman’s Award and Grand Prix

IPM awards – Experiential award (x2) and Social Media.

Wins

Heineken SPYFIE (James Bond Spectre activation)

Kodak at Drupa (exhibition brand experience)

Glenmorangie (global on-trade campaign)

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