New York’s Chelsea neighborhood is to have a new resident in the form of fast-rising Chicago-headquartered ad agency Commonground. Art directors and account managers living and working in New York may well be curious to know a little more about their new neighbor, as may plenty of others, so here’s a brief rundown.
As stated on its website, the agency’s philosophy, developed by co-founders Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam, reads like this:
“Our cross-consumer philosophy inspires our thinking and creativity by focusing our attention on Celebrated Differences, those factors that are in the DNA of a specific culture and make the difference between simply hearing your message versus establishing a meaningful emotional connection rooted in compelling insights, while when necessary identifying and tapping Shared Connections, those insights based on human needs that are typically consistent across multiple.”
The culturally aware art director?
Creativity, as most jobbing art directors would concede, doesn’t exist in a culture-free vacuum; it’s situated, rooted in culture and time. Commonground prides itself on identifying commonalities between cultural groups while leveraging the differences celebrated within each.
The agency’s client base has been steadily growing, and includes big names like Coors Lite, Coca Cola, Verizon, Muller Lite and Nissan, but the growth has been especially rapid over that last couple of years. It bagged the coveted status of Illinois Lottery agency of record after being asked by Lottery Director Michael Jones, at very short notice, to produce a TV spot for the Powerball game. Its ad, which featured a vast red ball rolling its way through Illinois, was a big hit, not just amongst viewers but with the Lottery executives, too.
Expansion, talent and landscapes
The move to New York, say Wright and Islam, grants them access to a new talent pool as well as the city’s infamous landscapes, and it clearly reflects the agency’s expanding client base (it was retained by Verizon as agency of record in July this year).
As Islam puts it, “Over the past 10 years, we’ve created a culture at Commonground where people enjoy coming to work and are proud of the product we are putting out. We fully intend for our New York outpost to reflect those same values.”
The New York team will number 15 to begin with.