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INdustry: My route into marketing - Jack Sails

Our Head of HX, Jack Sails, is sharing how he got into the industry.


Jack Sails



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Growing up, I had my sights set on being a music teacher. Yep.

The plan was straightforward enough: teach music, inspire a few souls, and share my passion for playing instruments. York College was the starting point, where I studied music technology, theatre, and a sprinkle of psychology (because, why not?). That trajectory lasted all of three months until an unexpected phone call came through.

At 17, the band I'd started with my mates from school caught the attention of Vertigo, a record label which was part of Mercury Records. A dream scenario for any musician, but not exactly on my career checklist. Unsurprisingly, my enthusiasm for A-levels waned a bit.

Our band journeyed far and wide, touring globally, making the top 10 and clinching a gold record in the UK. Three albums, music videos, festivals, fashion weeks, movie premieres – it was a whirlwind of experiences; but along with all those things, our collaborations with global giants like Burberry and Coca-Cola really opened my eyes.

They showcased a side of marketing where creativity wasn't just about notes but also about narratives. The synergy between music and the right brand message was captivating.

Meanwhile, my York College mates were charting their own course in the digital space. They had started an agency and were forging a path at the forefront of digital development. During breaks from touring, I'd check in on them to say hi and find myself drawn to their work. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and as the band started to quieten down a bit, they floated an idea to me: "How about testing some websites for us?"

It seemed like a simple task, but it was far from it. It was about understanding the nuts and bolts, the digital landscape, the user's journey, and ensuring everything flowed seamlessly. This role was my gateway into the intricate world of development and technology.

Over 7 years, I made my way through the ranks from a QA tester to Client Services, eventually stepping into the role of Account Director. It was all about understanding, communicating, and delivering on client visions – and I really loved bringing complex technology and development to people in a way that was accessible for everyone to appreciate, understand and enjoy.

Today, I'm with IMA, heading up our Hybrid Experience team. We're all about blending creative technology with innovation, crafting unique in-person experiences that meld technology and hardware in novel ways. Our portfolio boasts collaborations with some iconic brands, each project echoing our commitment to creativity and innovation.

If you had predicted this path for me 15 years ago, I'd have most likely laughed at you.

One thing's clear about this industry: you don't need a textbook background or a specific degree to make your mark in an agency. My journey, with its musical pitstop, stands testament to that.

The agency landscape is brimming with opportunities. It's a space where passion finds purpose, challenges are a daily affair, and team spirit drives us to produce exceptional work around the world – day in, day out.

So, if you're brimming with ideas and have a zest to learn and innovate, remember this: agencies aren't just workplaces; they're stages to perform on. They're platforms where anyone, regardless of their backstory, can step into the spotlight and let their talent shine. It's not about where you've come from, but the flair, passion, and dedication you can bring to the table.

The buzz of seeing your creativity showcased on the global stage of a big campaign rivals the thrill of any gig out there.


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