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As Uncommon sells to Havas, revisit 5 ads that made its creative reputation

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By Amy Houston | Senior Reporter

July 12, 2023 | 6 min read

From startup to prized acquisition for Havas, it's been a remarkable rise for Uncommon. Here we look back at five pieces of creative work from the last five years that put the agency in demand.

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Uncommon / Uncommon

"A once-in-a-decade company" is how Yannick Bolloré, chief executive of Havas, describes its latest acquisition – Uncommon Creative Studio.

Only a little over half a decade old itself, Uncommon has enjoyed a rapid rise from 2017 startup to a valuation as high as £120m today.

Along the way, it has won no shortage of admirers and awards (including this year's Outdoor Grand Prix at Cannes Lions) for its creative campaigns, as well as increasingly high-profile clients including British Airways, ITV and B&Q.

With its brand intact and founders Lucy Jameson, Natalie Graeme and Nils Leonard still at the helm, the London agency now has New York expansion in its sights as it seeks to take its create formula international with the backing of Havas and its Vivendi machine behind it.

Here we look back on five pieces of work that helped forge Uncommon's enviable creative reputation.

ITV: Britain Get Talking (2022)

This ad for ITV encouraged adults to talk to young people about how they are feeling. It was part of the broadcaster's 'Get Britain Talking' mental health campaign and at the time the agency's co-founder Nils Leonard stated that “We’re incredibly proud of the impact this initiative continues to have and it is exactly the type of work we wanted to make when we set up Uncommon.”

OVO Energy: Get Mad (2018)

This unapologetic campaign for OVO Energy saw everyday appliances like microwaves and TVs plugged into the earth to show the catastrophic effects of global warming. Set to the thrashing tune of Slayer's Raining Blood, the ad was a call to action for climate change deniers.

British Airways: A British Original (2022)

In its debut work for British Airways, the creative studio developed a mammoth month-long campaign that featured 500 unique print, digital and outdoor executions, plus over 32 different short films. It was awarded with the Outdoor Grand Prix at last month's Cannes Lions.

B&Q: Later Means Never (2021)

This heartwarming mixed media film for B&Q featured a single Dad who appeared to be in a bit of a slump. Bogged down by the dust and darkness around him, viewers witness how he pulls himself up and begins fixing his environment, with some encouragement from his daughter. It was the third installment of the retailer's 'Build a Life' platform and featured the voice of renowned Scottish actor Rory McCann.

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Wagamama: Vegamama (2021)

This ad for restaurant chain Wagamama was inspired by the Japanese anime genre ‘Kaiju’ meaning ‘strange beast’. It was to promote the brand's vegan menu and featured a colossal rubber dinosaur who was hungry for vengeance, angry at the state of our world.

Like this story? Read our interview with Uncommon's Nils Leonard as part of The Drum's My Creative Career series.

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