The past few years have certainly proven challenging for those in the experiential marketing realm. COVID smashed the brakes on in-person gatherings, forcing us into a hitherto unknown world of tedious webinars and half-baked metaverse activations.
But, as you’ll see, these experiential producers are the best in the business and have managed to thrive despite the challenging landscape.
These lists are compiled following consultation with B&T‘s trusted industry insiders. Who’s doing the best work? Who deserves a shout-out? Who is setting the pace of change? Those are the questions we’re asking. And, as ever, while this is a top 10, we’re splitting hairs between each person on the list.
Our other recent Best of the Best lists covered Casting Directors, Social Changemakers, Media Planning Directors, Consumer PRs and Developers — along with a host of other adland disciplines beforehand. So, here are the Best of the Best Experiential Producers.
10. Rosie Thompson-Jones, head of experiential & events, Yakkazoo
Thompson-Jones is a relatively recent arrival to the Yakkazoo stable, having joined the company in the middle of September. However, her appointment was something of a coup for the firm. Her CV has all the most important companies from the experiential sector — including the likes of George P Johnson and INVNT. What’s more, Thompson-Jones’ experience is vast. She has worked events across pharmaceutical, automotive, technology, finance, media, and IT and led FMCG B2C and B2B campaigns. It’s still early days but she is already proving an asset to Yakkazoo.
9. Olivia Randall, head of experience, Jack Morton Australia
Randall has been with Jack Morton for almost a decade in various roles, starting as a production coordinator back in 2014 before her current head of experience role. Over that time, Randall has seen the industry change dramatically, describing the past few years as a “circuit breaker” that has redefined the relationship between creative and production. Jack Morton’s clients, including some of the country’s biggest brands in BWS, Samsung and Telstra, are clearly reaping the benefits of Randall’s experience and expertise.
8. Edward Woolrych, head of projects, Rizer
Woolrych has been with Rizer for the last four years, rising (sorry) from an executive producer to head of projects in September last year. While Woolrych has spent his entire career in the events business, he had a three-year stint as the chief operating officer at New York-based RAIOLA/Co. This variety of experience has given Rizer a distinct advantage over its competition. The agency has also been producing memorable experiences for Louis Vuitton, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Qantas.
7. Mimi Fitzpatrick, executive producer, INVNT
Fitzpatrick has been with INVNT for close to five years, joining as a producer and having spent more than seven years with Rizer. Now executive producer, Fitzpatrick has delivered huge branded experiences for Netflix and has worked across the entirety of APAC, rather than focusing solely on Australia. Most recently, INVNT presented the Discovery Stage at SXSW Sydney which covered everything from design innovation, space and robotics to the convergence of art and AI.
6. Michal Frydrych, head of events, Akcelo
Frydrych joined Akcelo as events director in October 2020 — yes, right at the height of the pandemic. That move, however, demonstrated a remarkable amount of foresight with Akcelo going on to be crowned the best Experiential/Promotional Agency at the B&T Awards last year. And, wouldn’t you know it, the agency is in the running for the gong again this year. Under Frydrych’s auspices has gone on to produce remarkable brand experiences and events for the likes of TikTok, Netflix, McDonald’s and more.
5. Stefania Barba, account director, The Company We Keep
You’ll have to forgive the job title — Barba is still very much in the production game. She came to us for this list very highly recommended. She has been with The Company We Keep for almost three years, following a five-year stint at George P Johnson. During her time with The Company We Keep, Barba has worked on huge projects for the likes of Salesforce, WalkMe and Amazon Web Services including leading the gargantuan Salesforce World Tour events.
4. Claire Hewitt, executive producer, Amplify
Hewitt has spent almost eight years with Amplify across two stints — first in the company’s London office before upping sticks and moving to Sydney. Last year, she was promoted from senior producer to her current exec producer role amid a host of new client wins. During her time with the agency, it has produced some huge events and activations for the likes of TikTok, Canva, Google and Levi’s.
3. Vanessa Rolfe, director of client services, The Misfits Media Company
Rolfe has been with The Misfits since November 2018 and she has led the team to produce incredible events and experiences for a wide array of clients across Australia and beyond. These clients include the likes of Snowflake, ADB and TPG Telecom. Recently, Rolfe scooped a Vibes Award for her services and contribution to the industry. She also leads an admittedly small but crack team of producers to bring events such as the B&T Awards (buy your tickets now), The Crocodile Awards and the small matter of Cannes in Cairns to life.
2. Sharice Bellantonio, partner & event director, Usual Suspects
Bellantonio launched Usual Suspects with her business partner Shani Langi in 2016 and scooped our Best of the Best Experiential Producer gong in 2021. Over the course of the pandemic, Bellantonio led the team to navigate the remarkably choppy waters with aplomb. She launched Inside Sets, for example, a series of hybrid virtual concerts that allowed artists to provide an income for themselves, production crews and charity partners. Since the pandemic ended, Usual Suspects has gone on to produce UnLtd’s Big Dream, ADMA’s Global Forum and events for Guzman Y Gomez and UN Women Australia.
1. Miles Scott, partner & chief operating officer, Akcelo
Scott founded Akcelo in 2020 along with his fellow former VMLY&R execs Dave Di Veroli and Aden Hepburn. In the three years since, the company has gone on to become a truly full-service agency operating across creative, digital, social, content, CRM, technology and data as well as brand experiences. Its growth has been remarkable, with the agency now employing more than 150 staff in its very swish Redfern offices. It has produced exceptional work for clients including McDonald’s, Amazon, Tinder, CUB and more. Plus, it scooped B&T’s Emerging Agency Award in 2021 and our Experiential Agency Award at last year’s B&T Awards. Scott was our Best of the Best Experiential Producer last year, too. Clearly, there is still much, much more to come from Scott and the rest of the team.
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