Gold: Uncommon Creative Studio
Starting life only in 2017, Uncommon Creative Studio has come a long way in a very short time. Last year, its founders – Lucy Jameson, Natalie Graeme and Nils Leonard – were chuffed that it was named Campaign’s Independent Agency of the Year. This year the shop has beaten all its competitors to the Creative Agency of the Year accolade.
The agency has now grown to a headcount of 70, working with more than 30 brands. Its purpose – “to build brands that people in the real world were glad existed” – seems particularly apt in the context of 2020.
Uncommon’s latest iteration of its hugely successful “Britain get talking” campaign for ITV, which focuses on mental health, was regularly adapted during 2020 within tight time frames, as the Covid-19 environment changed daily. Viewers were encouraged to send messages of support across social media, and the activity featured animated ads and spots for sponsorship partners Just Eat and TalkTalk, thanking the unsung heroes keeping the nation fed and connected. Uncommon and ITV also reacted quickly to criticism of Diversity’s BLM-themed dance on Britain’s Got Talent, creating a print ad backing the troupe.
The agency also collaborated with home fragrance brand Earl of East to produce candles that smell like places most missed during the various lockdowns – such as the cinema, the local pub and festivals. The aim was to raise money for the hospitality industry, one of the sectors hardest hit by Covid-19.
Other highlights across 2020 included working with beer brand BrewDog to shift its production lines to create hand sanitiser and winning 15 new projects for brands including Beats by Dre and The Week.
The judges said Uncommon’s work showed a “refreshing approach fuelled by huge energy, passion and determination” and its output represented the best in UK creativity.
Silver: Mother London
Mother London reframed its objectives in 2020, investing in protecting its talent and people. It put wellbeing to the fore, sealed diverse partnerships with organisations such as Word on the Curb and Create Not Hate and set up a remote placement scheme.
On the work front, Mother highlighted Ikea’s sleep range, focusing on the benefit of getting a good night’s rest in a pandemic world. Its work for KFC tackled the fast-food brand’s challenges head-on once again, acknowledging its “Finger lickin’ good” slogan was inappropriate in light of Covid-19, with the message “That thing we always say? Ignore it. For now.”
This combined approach resulted in 2020 delivering the highest revenue in the agency’s history; Mother won 16 new accounts and grew its remit with some of its biggest established clients, while its focus on its people resulted in 99 additions and the agency returning furlough money to the government.
Bronze: The Brooklyn Brothers
The Brooklyn Brothers celebrated the realities of imperfect parenting with Water Wipes’ #ThisIsParenthood and ignited a global conversation on responsible capitalism with the Financial Times. Championing diversity and social inclusion was key to the agency’s 2020 journey. It teamed up with the FT for the launch of “News School”, an education programme introducing people from diverse backgrounds to the news industry. In November, Night School, an agency initiative to attract more diverse talent to the creative industries, returned for a second year.
Adam & Eve/DDB
In a year like no other, the agency rebranded to adam&everywhereDDB, signalling its commitment to being connected while embracing remote working. Agency output featured 150 campaigns for more than 60 brands, alongside a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion audit of the entire business. This led to an action plan to embed diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of the agency.
Droga5 London approached 2020 with the aim of “entertaining through adversity”, to positively contribute to people’s lives through creativity. Campaigns ranged from Amazon’s Super Bowl spot, to tongue-in-cheek work for Rustlers to launching a new car marque for Volkswagen in the middle of a pandemic. The agency also shared its thought leadership with the wider industry.
Creative output across 2020 featured Snoop Dogg cutting a new track for Just Eat, Adidas supporting the next generation of superstars and Kevin the Carrot's Christmas escapades for Aldi. This all delivered on the agency’s mission to help brands play a meaningful role in the lives of people and communities.
In response to a challenging year, Pablo made some big changes, reworking its existing strategy, investing in creative talent and introducing a new operating model. It’s a strategy that paid off, with the agency recording pitch wins, revenue increase, staff retention across the board and the doubling in size of its creative department.
Growth in new business has characterised VCCP’s year, with 65 clients coming on board across the group, while it also doubled its global client roster. The agency bagged the Walkers advertising account, replacing 22-year incumbent Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and invested in supporting its teams with remote and flexible working.