Clarke spoke to Event about his passion for live music and events, work at London venue The End, and the agency's three-year development plan.
I got into the event industry because I wanted to rip up the ‘traditional’ communications rulebook and take brand messaging to the heart of customers’ buying decisions through live experiential campaigns. The lure of creating an emotive ad campaign in a live event environment proved too strong and I’ve never looked back.
I have worked here since I founded the business in October 2001, where 15 years later I continue as managing director.
I was attracted to this particular role because I wanted to take experiential campaigns in a particular direction and no one else was delivering that at the time, which led me to create Undercurrent.
Not many people know that I have spent my life in music and live events. I experienced my first major gig/festival with the Stone Roses at the age of 15, at the infamous Spike Island. I have also been lucky enough to attend 10 Glastonbury festivals, and try to bring those incredible event experiences to everything we produce as a team.
The best event I’ve been involved was... I spent a couple of years as the marketing manager of a club called The End in London, and some of the events we created there were fantastic. As a cutting edge club mixed with the most innovative musicians in the world, the venue delivered great experiences.
In more recent times, we worked with Creamfields, Vodafone and Samsung to support Creamfields Ibiza this year, which was a huge success.
If I could do it all over again I would do very little differently. In running a business you encounter as many mishaps as you do successes, and it’s the combination of these that has produced the fantastic agency we have today.
The one thing I can’t stand is a lack of attention to detail. Everything the agency delivers is of a very high standard and this can only be achieved with fantastic detail management.
Outside of work I spend my time with my family. My wife and I run the business together, so quality time walking our dog and going out with friends and family is hugely important to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
If money were no object I would invest in developing our props both here and abroad. We are one year into a three-year development plan and have a whole host of innovative propositions that we are raring to roll out.
If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be... Cheesy I know, but no one right now. The agency is experiencing phenomenal growth and I can’t wait to see where the unique mix of creativity, delivery, innovation and culture will take us.
If I ruled the event industry I would… I wouldn’t. The industry needs innovation, creativity and growth from all angles, so rip up the rulebook and go forth and communicate.