Uncommon was set-up four years ago by Lucy Jameson, Natalie Graeme and Nils Leonard - we believed our industry needed to change then as much as it does now. Even before the pandemic, people wouldn’t care if three quarters of brands disappeared tomorrow. But despite the general doom and gloom, we believe that business, brands and advertising can make a difference. Some brands can make a difference like never before. They do things differently. They fix a problem in the world. These are the brands that people in the real world are glad exist. These brands are valuable. They are few and far between. That’s why we call them uncommon brands. It’s also why we named our business Uncommon. We believe in building brands that people in the real world are glad exist. Brands that matter. Brands with purpose. That doesn’t mean that your brand has to save the world. But it does mean knowing why you exist, what you do for people, why you matter to them and what you contribute to the world. It also means delivering on your promises and purpose. Doing rather than just saying. Acts rather than advertising.
As well as having a clear purpose, we wanted to explore a new business model. Rather than just working for clients, if we spot or come up with an idea that deserves to exist, then we’ll back it ourselves. This has meant trying our hand at a new type of pitching: fundraising. Getting far more deeply involved and understanding a new, slower rhythm than that of advertising. So far, we have launched one of our own brands, Halo.coffee, Scents of Normality and we are in the process of developing one more, along with our accelerator Unrest that has already incubated 21 mission-driven new brands.
Four years in, we continue to make awarded and stand-out work across a breadth of brands locally and globally. Each with something powerful to say; from creating the most recognised mental health initiative in the UK with ITV, breathing new life into the iconic British brand B&Q to creating a free suit hire initiative for H&M globally to help young men find work which went on to win Gold, Silver and Bronze in Brand Activation & Experience at Cannes Lions in 2021.
Off the back of being named Campaign’s coveted Creative Agency of the Year in 2020, we went on to be awarded both Campaign’s 2021 Independent and Creative Agency of the Year - this is the first time a company has ever received both accolades in the same year. We’ve also been awarded Ad Age’s International AOTY, Creative Circle’s AOTY for the second year running and were the only British studio listed as one of Fast Company’s Top 10 companies in Advertising globally. We were also honoured to be one of Contagious Magazine’s Pioneers - a global list of agencies consistently setting the standard for excellence in marketing. We were also named the first ever ‘Most Contagious AOTY’ - which recognised our work and creativity during the uncertainties of the pandemic.
We have a fluid studio model, bringing together all the talents required to fuel an Uncommon brand, creating a coherent story in a world of fragmentation.
We build from the inside out. We have deep experience of defining brand purpose and strategy, working with internal and external communications. We power this globally with our ‘Uncommon Minds’ - named, senior strategists all around the world, providing local insight. Our strategists have skills from qual & quant research through to brand, advertising, social, digital, data & CRM strategy.
We design brand worlds. From naming through to brand identity, logo, brand world and tone of voice, we’ve worked on brand identity projects for reference point brands, like Coventry City of Culture & Museum of London.
We believe that experience is the truth of a brand. That’s why we created our own experience team with capabilities from CRM and loyalty, through to physical and digital product & service design.
We mechanise brands for fame, creating everything from advertising through to campaign PR, social strategy, social, digital & content calendars.
We love to make. We bring production strategy upfront and focus on our in house production & studio. We have our own designers, art-workers, VFX, editing, & line production capability. During lockdown we made 250+ films for ITV in house. And most recently produced our first feature, ‘This Much I Know to Be True’, a music documentary capturing Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' creative relationship screening in cinemas globally. The feature gained rave reviews after its premiere at Berlin International Film Festival 2022 and SXSW going on to be named The Observer’s Film of the Week.
We started four years ago, with three people, three borrowed desks and no clients. Since then, despite a global pandemic, we have grown to over 120 people with more than 35 brands. We’ve never stopped making, banging the drum and pushing for excellence. This year alone, crafting over 50 projects launching across the UK, US, Europe & Asia. And, as an independent studio, we have just won the global creative and CRM account for the iconic British Airways.
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