10 YEARS
AT UNDERCURRENT
– SOPHIE FARNHAM

Initially starting within the creative department before moving into client services Sophie has worked her way up the ladder to lead a strong account team delivering exiting experiential campaigns. In the past 10 years a lot has changed within both our business and the industry itself. We asked Sophie about some of her favourite moments during her time at Undercurrent.

What was your path into the world of experiential?

As with many experiential careers I took a roundabout path to get to where I am today. When I was at University the industry itself didn’t really exist, let alone have a degree option like you see today!

After leaving university where I studied design for the stage, with a focus on audience experience, large scale brand activations is where I landed and where I found my calling. Creating experiences off the stage was a new and exciting challenge, one that I still enjoy.

How have you seen experiential evolve during your time in the industry?

It’s moved on in a big way. When I started, leafleting or a satellite pop up stands were considered ‘experiential’ and for some brands it still is. But experiential is so much more than this! With the evolution of physical retail and a focus on the customer experience becoming central to driving both loyalty and purchase this is a huge opportunity for experiential marketers to drive the strategy rather than being an afterthought.

Experiences that that disrupt the norm, are memorable, and build relationships with consumers that change their feelings about a brand is the main job for any experiential piece.

What is the role of experiential in the marketing mix and why is it important?

Consumers are smart, they want more for their buck and are voting with their feet. The purchase experience has evolved and experiencing the brand before purchase is a key influence on decision making. This is where experiential comes in, creating memorable experiences helps brands to stand out from their competitors, build a long-term relationship with consumers and stay top of mind when it comes to purchase time.

Experiential can of course work well in silo it also amplifies both media and PR plans, creating a more integrated campaign by hitting multiple touch points.

Tell us about the top 3 campaigns you’ve delivered at UC and why they were memorable?

When scheduling multi-site tours look at the journey plan to ensure it’s efficient as possible by grouping local areas together and ensuring you are traveling from start to end point without looping back on yourself.

Where possible use local staff to activate your events cutting down the travel mileage and prioritise public transport over driving.

Transporting event kit is trickier as electric vehicles large enough aren’t widely available to hire yet. However, there are loads of fantastic carbon emission offset schemes available online. They help to calculate the emissions (based on your vehicle and mileage) and suggest a donation to offset the impact. It’s often a lot cheaper than you think and a great way to support environmental charities.

TK Maxx Stocko

This was a very last minute stunt idea from our client to support a wider Christmas campaign. We created a replica Stocko sock from the TVC Christmas 2018 TVC and toured it around the UK. His main purpose, to spread a little comical Christmas cheer and hand out gifts and burps (yes, burps) to people.

Western Union Bringing the Lights Home this Diwali

Tour around UK to engage consumers on an personal level during Diwali with a focus on more than just its transfer services but how WU was be funding lighting infrastructure to remote villages in India. We created a very cute little Diwali truck that went to major cities and towns focussing on the community around Diwali. It housed BA’s, food, giveaways, interactive information about WU Services and also a digital game showcasing the villages that will be lit for Diwali and more.

Samsung & Three House Festival Activation

Creating a space for festival goers to get their hands on with the latest devices from Samsung. What made it special, we had styled it like the lavender fields of Provence in France which was also a subtle nod to the current ATL. Lots of flowers, photo ops, music and cocktails made for a memorable day.

Favourite campaign that you wish you’d delivered?

Coca Cola – Stunt in Kings Cross Station for the Launch of the new Bond film Skyfall  – an oldy BUT SO GOOD! I do really like train station activations, they are usually hugely boring places filled with delays so seeing someone battle with a mob of dogs, singers, moving glass panes and inconveniently placed obstacles is guaranteed to make anyone smile whilst waiting for a train!

Bompas And Parr – Alcoholic Architecture – not brand related but a great experience for exploring your senses. The mist filled rum room was definitely a highlight.

What makes Undercurrent a special place to work?

What’s great about Undercurrent is that it is very agile and adapts to the times. We are always striving to make the work place, fun, engaging and a place where we can create and curate amazing campaigns. The employee is considered in all areas, from benefits to having a voice in how the company is run, the beer trolley on a Friday also has great Rose which is another plus!