Jack Morton boasts more than two generations of event innovation. Access caught up with Mike Kunheim, its managing director, London, to discover how the company that coined the term ‘experiential marketing’ remains on the cusp.

When/why were you founded and how has the agency evolved?

We were founded 80 years ago by Jack Morton himself.  Jack saw the opportunity in providing music and entertainment to business meetings and conventions and was one of the first to fuse the worlds of Hollywood and Broadway with big business, pioneering what came to be known as industrial theatre. The company quickly became the US’ single largest buyer of live entertainment.

Since then we’ve evolved into a global brand experience agency, where as a creative-led agency we have a diverse portfolio of skills – from digital planners, content strategists, social media specialists and architects, through to creative technologists, experience designers, data analysts and AI and VR developers, many of which are part of our innovation practice, Genuine X. 

Together, we’re working to create extraordinary experiences so top brands and organisations can connect with the people who matter most.  We think Jack would be proud. 

What event trends have Jack Morton pioneered?

In the 1990s we coined the phrase ‘experiential marketing’ – it was even referenced in a Wall Street Journal article about the agency. We recognised that live events have a huge power to connect people, and that business and organisations could be using them far more strategically than in previous years.  

Any company has to innovate to stay relevant and we ensure we’re on that journey with our clients – keeping at the cutting edge of industry thinking. Our innovation practice, Genuine X, helps brands harness the opportunities presented through the intersection of technology, content and data. Genuine X is a living, breathing space, working genuinely in beta and constantly evolving to build, test, grow and release strategic capabilities that will help brands create the experiences of the future.

How has the industry evolved over the past year and what trends are upcoming?

There’s been a lot of talk over the past year about immersive experiences.  Over the next year, the challenge is going to be much more about making those experiences more responsive – creating experiences that sense measure and react, anticipating user needs.  The focus will be on creating an experience that people feels custom-made. 

How do you go about picking suppliers and partners?

We’ve talked about how innovation is important to our and our clients’, success – so we look for partners and suppliers who can support that.  We want to work and collaborate with the greatest innovators in their fields, but also the greatest executors who can genuinely help deliver on those extraordinary experiences.