FIRST Celebrates 25 Years of Innovative Experiences

2021 marks the 25th Anniversary of FIRST!

That’s 25 years bringing brands and people together through creative, connected experiences to earn our status as one of the most established leading global agencies.

But have you ever wondered how FIRST got to where it is today? Here’s an insider’s look at who we are, how we came to be, and how we intend to spend our next 25 years.

Who are we today?

FIRST is a leading global brand experience agency operating out of New York, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, and Singapore. We’ve grown from a small events company to a globally recognized brand experience collective made up of over 550 employees in 12 countries. The company’s founding motivation and entrepreneurial spirit continue to shape and drive today’s innovation and delivery of award-winning client experiences.

So how did it all start?

FIRST was founded in London in 1996 by Richard Waddington as First Protocol, focused on delivering top-tier client events. In 2000, Maureen Ryan Fable launched Ryan Fable Productions, and the two companies merged in 2004 under First Protocol. Maureen – affectionately known as MRF – assumed the helm in the Americas and the company continued to grow exponentially, turning into a renowned powerhouse positioned firmly as a global industry leader. In 2016, First Protocol rebranded to FIRST.  

FIRST Agency 25 Year Anniversary

Together we thrive

Over the years, the company has grown and expanded beyond New York and London. FIRST opened its Los Angeles hub in 2012, its Singapore office in 2013, and its Dublin hub in 2018. Partnerships also helped us gain more traction and grow its creative influence, with the acquisition of the Barkley Kalpak Agency in the Americas in 2016 and Clive Agency in the UK in 2018. These partnerships have helped FIRST focus on the future, expanding teams to help clients deliver their messages effectively across the globe. All the while, FIRST has proudly maintained its privately-held ownership throughout its history. 

BKA team celebration

Maureen Ryan Fable, CEO, Group at FIRST stated, “Our 25-year history has shown we can and will always look to the future of events and how to best serve our international roster of clients. From somewhat humble beginnings, our teams never stop collaborating, creating, innovating, and pushing the limits.

Shifting focus this past year to further expand our service offering to produce virtual events has made us stronger, and with our deep bench of seasoned expertise, we are well-positioned for the future.”

First agency celebrates 25 years

Keeping momentum…

This milestone anniversary comes during a year of unprecedented growth during uncertain times. FIRST continued to thrive and adapt to better serve digital, hybrid, and in-person audiences. The company embedded teams with clients, vastly increasing reach and engagement, while continuing to deliver the first class, high touch, creative experiences for which FIRST is known. As a creatively led organization, the evolved service offering focuses on content, technology, and data & insights, allowing clients to better lean on FIRST for their complete brand experience needs.

FIRST Agency & Clive Agency

Peter Godfrey, Chairman of the Board at FIRST said, “Having been part of FIRST since its inception in 1996, I remain proud to witness the amazing journey that’s been achieved thus far. Over 25 years, FIRST has expanded globally and transformed through innovative products and services, while consistently creating the best teams to serve our clients worldwide.

Our people are our finest assets; they have the knowledge to deliver the high-quality experiences our clients have come to expect from FIRST. I’m excited to see how we can continue to grow and adapt into the future and am sure that the next 25 years will be just as extraordinary.”

first agency team raising a glass celebration

Get in touch to learn more about how FIRST can help you deliver creative and engaging live, virtual and hybrid brand experiences.