Jack Morton Is Adweek’s 2023 Experiential Agency of the Year


When agency Jack Morton Worldwide created a real-life version of the home in mobile puzzle game Merge Mansion, the client was eager to carry these ideas into its digital space. According to agency global co-president Craig Millon, using a physical activation to develop a flagship product speaks to the potential for experiential to become more than just a marketing silo. 

“Instead of being offline or online, [marketing strategy] should be something that flows between the two,” he said, emphasizing that constant access to technology means consumers don’t methodically separate physical and digital experiences. “It’s important to offer a more natural blend of digital and live, because that’s how people live.”  

Jack Morton wants its brand strategy to last well beyond a single activation. The agency, which works with clients including Adidas, McDonald’s and Meta, is Adweek’s Experiential Agency of the Year. This year, the global agency saw 30% overall business growth and brought 50 new clients into the fold.

Shelley Elkins, who led the team as senior vice president and executive creative director before moving to NVE Experience Agency in October, is Adweek’s Experiential Executive of the Year. 

Using live activations to present purpose 

In the past year, Elkins has led work for clients including Meta, Riot Games and Molson Coors. She also spearheaded the launch of two Jack Morton initiatives: Vivi, which celebrates the intersectionality of women through marketing, and Jack 39, which manages the agency’s sponsorship consulting. Elkins launched Jack Morton’s Brand Acts incubator in 2022, which focused on purpose-driven work.

Standout work from Elkins also includes an activation for Chevrolet at music festival CMA Fest, which invited attendees to turn their recyclables into branded guitar picks they could take home. 

“Early in my career, I recognized the power of a live moment,” said Elkins. “There is no channel like experiential in telling a story with all your senses and really immersing someone in the brand.” 

Building long-term consumer connection  

In another sector, Jack Morton’s health care wing, Jack Health, has seen a 55% growth in revenue by crafting more interactive experiences for global pharmaceutical and medical device clients. This breadth of Jack Morton clients reflects the power of experiential marketing in turning even the most utilitarian product into an interactive emblem of lifestyle, according to global co-president Bill Davies.

“Those passionate live experiences, whether it’s a music festival or an F1 race, are growing in popularity,” Davies said, adding that the agility to move across diverse client is a common skill among Jack Morton staff. “Those are tentpoles that our clients want to rally around, but there is buzz from folks in other disciplines saying, ‘I like what’s going on in experiential, and I want to be a part of it.’” 

A recent standout campaign from Jack Morton includes its 2022 FIFA World Cup activation for Adidas. Partnering with sand artist Nathaniel Alapide, Jack Morton used a Qatar beach outside of the stadium to draw attention to soccer players Mary Fowler, Farah Jefry and Catarina Macario.

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