Dangerous Liaisons

Agency High & Wild founder Nigel Gifford takes his clients where others fear to tread. He talks to Mike Fletcher about pushing event boundaries

RSVP You're one of Britain's most seasoned mountaineers, you worked with Richard Branson on his round the world balloon project and you've jumped out of more than 1,000 aeroplanes. What possessed you to set up agency High & Wild?

Nigel Gifford Those activities don't earn much of an income and I eventually got to the point where I wanted to give clients the opportunities that I have had, by producing the most unusual events in the most amazing places.

RSVP Everyone looks for that unique setting and inspirational content, what makes your events that extra bit special?

Gifford We try to go beyond the realms of possibility and adventure. We chase tornadoes, take groups to the edge of space, follow the actual escape lines that were taken by downed British airmen through German-occupied Italy and France during World War II – that kind of thing.

RSVP Sounds amazing, but surely these types of event activities come at a high cost to the client?

Gifford People imagine that they cannot afford something extreme but they're wrong. We launched the DVD of The Day After Tomorrow in Arctic Norway and had 32 guests flying in from all over the world to jump crevasses. The total cost to Twentieth Century Fox was £49,000 and the DVD broke a world record for sales in its first week.

RSVP You must have some incredible stories from your travels and adventures. Do you do after-dinner speaking as well?

Gifford I've only ever done one after-dinner speech and that was to a millionaires' club that still couldn't buy the experiences I've had. That's not to say I wouldn't consider more offers though.

RSVP What would you say to event planners inspired by your sense of adventure?

Gifford There's a quote by Mark Twain that goes "20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do". I believe that if you give people the experience of a lifetime they will never forget you.

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