"As a brand, you are more often a guest in a space owned by existing communities or fandom. You have to understand your place and value in that channel"

Amplify's Alex Wilson talks about the agency's worldbuilding model that taps into culture, art, community and fandom

by Carol Mason , AdForum (NYC)



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London, United Kingdom
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Alex Wilson
Executive Creative Director Amplify


Amplify’s Worldbuilding film is an impressive articulation of the intersection between culture, brands, community, experience and legacy. How did you develop the concept?

As creatives we are all inspired by the worlds we grew up in and were influenced by. Whether it be art, books, movies or games - the world of entertainment has for centuries created stories that transport, engage and excite, invite participation and co-creation and ultimately in doing so create fandoms. It made so much sense to apply those tools to our industry, especially as the worlds of entertainment and marketing come ever closer. It’s our role to immerse, inform and entertain our audiences, to tell stories that create deep rooted connections, and worldbuilding gives us the tools and approach to seamlessly do this for our clients.


The film moves through Orson Welles’ 1984 to LEGO to Rihanna (with so much in-between!), drawing a timeline of the evolution of creativity and its societal impact. How do you deploy Worldbuilding in an agency-client scenario?

We first and foremost have to understand the audience and communities we are speaking to. From there, we take whatever brand, product or IP we are working with, place the audience at the heart of it, and build the world around them. Channel agnostic creative across multitude destinations and output that can live through IRL activations, OOH, digital, content and everything in between. As long as you have the core reasons front of mind as to why audiences love that brand, product or IP, and remain true to them, you can effectively worldbuild in ways that not only inspire and entertain exciting audiences, creating deeper connections, but extend out to forge connections with new and broader audiences.

Amplify has four hubs – London, Paris, LA, Sydney – and can activate globally. How do you engage local audiences across diverse markets?

Our Strategy, Comms and Culture teams across the globe always start with the audience native to that market. What nuances and cultural context do we need to connect with? How do we ensure we are elevating their experience, not interrupting it? If speaking to local communities or subcultures, we ensure we work with them, not speak at them, understanding how and where they want to be spoken to and engaged with. We collaborate with taste-makers, innovators and creators in those markets, not taking a catch-all approach.

Returning to the Worldbuilding film, one of the interviewee comments was the desire to ‘be seen, be understood’. How do you cut through the noise to connect with people and stand out?

This can happen in a number of ways, but ensuring you are not co-opting their experience or culture is key. As a brand, you are more often a guest in a space owned by existing communities or fandom. You have to understand your place and value in that channel and ensure what you are doing is additive. If you do that in a way that resonates and connects with that fandom or audience, it creates a safe environment to encourage co-creation, co-authoring and an opportunity to discover newness together.

Do you have a favorite brand and if so, what makes it your favorite?

My favorite brand is independent entertainment company A24, behind such movies and shows as Beef, Euphoria, Uncut Gems, Moonlight and more. They began around ten years ago by going deliberately against trend in their film acquisitions and production. Understanding what wasn’t out there in cinemas, and embracing niche fan culture. From there they commit wholeheartedly to the creative vision of the directors and writers they work with. And from there they connect audiences with their IPs through creative, engaging and entertaining techniques, shunning the traditional movie marketing model. From hosting drive-in billboard experiences, to creating tabletop board games, letting fans buy actual props from their movies, to merch, podcasts, auctions, saving a NYC theatre to creating a national googly eyes shortage due to Everything, Everywhere All at Once, A24 live and breathe film culture and communities, getting audiences closer to the films they love. 

Click to view the worldbuilding film and prepare to immerse in culture!

Examples of Amplify's work: