“We launched our new agency in the middle of lockdown,” says James Murphy, CEO of New Commercial Arts, and suddenly there we were, maybe the smallest agency working on the world’s biggest Out of home campaign.”
New Commercial Arts (NCA) is the agency formed by James Murphy and David Golding - two of the founders of adam&eveDDB - along with Ian Heartfield, former chief creative officer of BBH UK, and Rob Templeman, strategy director of WPP’s Wunderman Thompson, plus a small team.
Great things were expected of NCA - adam&eveDDB had twice been voted Cannes Lions Agency of the Year and won innumerable UK Agency of the Year awards - but a lockdown was something else and, in a global market for advertising, big international opportunities are few and far between for most start-up creative agencies.
“We’ll always be grateful to the World Out of Home Organization for giving us the chance to work on such a fantastic project at such an early stage in our development,” says Murphy. “It has paid off for us in many ways already. #OurSecondChance has fans all over the world. We have a new Asian client who’s a particular fan of the Himalayas poster.
“I hope there’ll be lots more to come with WOO. It was a learning curve for us - helped enormously by Grand Visual who provided the campaign planning and translations - and an opportunity, not only to try to help out a world blitzed by Covid but to support a creative medium we love.”
#OurSecondChance has also helped to define the way Murphy’s exciting new agency - which now also handles Halifax, a CRM project for Uber and Vodafone creative - operates.
“WOO was our first client and we didn’t really know how we would manage in lockdown, nobody had done it before let alone a start-up” says Murphy. “But it actually worked really well, particularly so with an international client where we had client meetings with a group from all over the world via Zoom.
“It’s made us rethink our working and office requirements for when we get back to something more like normal life. We’re now looking for different premises where we can gather when needed but plan to keep the WOO model for all our clients.
“Most of all, perhaps, it’s shown us and the client world that we can work effectively internationally. That’s a huge benefit for a new agency and one we’re very grateful for.”
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