A creative agency looking to change its namesake’s gloomy outlook into a bright one
Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference, Greta Thunberg, named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, stated that: “The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done apart from clever accounting and creative PR." With hundreds of cities under threat of being submerged by the sea, many species of animals at risk of going extinct, and pollution and temperature levels reaching increasingly dangerous extremes, the future of our planet has never been more front of mind.
Brands that are changing things for the better and taking real action are the ones of the future. This week, a new creative shop emerged, bringing with it an exciting proposition to develop ideas for brands who are responding to some of these changing consumer demands.
Driven by the mantra ‘ideas change things’, the people behind this new creative agency believe in the power of optimism and ideas that drive culture change. They are 2050 London and have a future facing vision to build inspiring brands for generations to come. They tell us that short-term thinking and disposable ad content that’s devoid of vision, authenticity, and value, needs to end. They’ve been developing a co-creator ecosystem from all creative walks of life to help them take brands and culture in exciting new directions, so that 2050 won’t be like the 2050 the gloomsters predict.
Driving the creative direction of 2050, the team is helmed by award-winning ECDs Matthew Saunby and Adam Chiappe. The northern pair were famously hand-picked from St Martins art school by Sir John Hegarty and went on to produce some of the industry’s biggest ads at BBH such as Levi’s ‘Twisted’, Lynx ‘Rituals’ and Audi's ‘Hendrix’. They have since gone on to do spells at Grey London and TBWA before working at AMVBBDO. They have won countless prestigious awards including Gold Cannes Lions, Gold Clios, British Arrows (BTAA’s) and D&AD pencils.
Adam Morrison is the founder and managing director with experience of the global creative industries. At AMVBBDO, Adam worked on huge accounts such as Nicorette, J&J, Smart Car and Mercedes-Benz. A desire to learn from different cultures and start-ups took him to Australia and Africa, including a spell at Host/Havas where he managed Lion Nathan’s XXXX Gold, Hotels.com and Pizza Hut among others. Before setting up 2050 London he was with Saatchi & Saatchi looking after the insurance company brand, Direct Line.
Fourth partner, Ben Tan, has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands with blue chip agencies of all disciplines. He led global strategy for HSBC and Mondelez with JWT; directed planning on Volkswagen Group, Lloyds, Economist and Virgin Holidays as Head of Strategy at Proximity London; and helped launch Google Chrome with digital agency Glue London. He has previous experience launching start-ups as EPD with BBD Perfect Storm where his pitch-wins included the likes of Investec Private Bank, Vitality, Emirates Skywards and Fruit Shoot. His awards include MMA, IDM and Mondelez Marketing Effectiveness.
With an impressive portfolio of experience, it comes as no surprise that 2050 London’s debut pan European campaign for Azimo
has dramatically refocused the digital money transfer service. Adam explains: “We wanted the brand to be built around an authentic active idea. ‘Hard work deserves more’ gave Azimo a fresh way of rooting their value in culture. A system of values that actively challenges the traditional money transfer story by flipping the focus onto the senders - in this case, the hard-working migrants in Europe, who Azimo recognise and are rightly supporting through a faster, and most importantly, cheaper way of transferring money overseas.’’
It’s profound storytelling and challenging ideas like this that makes 2050 one to watch. They have a desire to identify problems within culture and give brands that are doing things differently an authentic role in people’s lives.
“Ideas have to be unfamiliar. This leads to more sticky, memorable, valuable creative. And ultimately fame,’’ states Matthew. “We thrive off brands brave enough to face things head-on, be transparent and authentic in their message, and lead the way in changing things for a more optimistic future.”
Ben Tan comments: “The pace of change and disruption is accelerating as values and demands shift. Fintech unicorns will be the Insuretech and Greentech innovators. Banking will always be essential, banks will not. The future of community will be URL and IRL environments. Health and beauty innovations and companies will use hyper personalisation to target products to your DNA and physiology. Look out for the rise of beyond meat alternatives, mental health brands like Calm and the new counter culture well-being movement like MoonJuice and Bicol Labs. Change makers creating these culture changes is where 2050 London aims to be. Helping build the inspiring brands of our future.’’
A cultural revolution for the future generations is gathering pace and it is businesses that step-up and confront the challenges that will come out on top. Ben Tan states “Our project for The Lands was great. We worked with amazing environmentalists with strong views on what 21st century conversation means. We helped them with a brand idea that brought their values to the safari world and shook up the luxury lodge experience. Authenticity in branding is always key. But when you are privileged to work with people who have a well-considered point of view on the world, this authenticity isn’t just about delivering convincing communications. It taps deeper truths to inspire a disruptive product experience.”
Alongside Azimo Global Money Transfers, 2050 have worked with mental health social enterprise, Moodswings; the UK’s largest group supporting climate change action, The Climate Coalition; and the Dugmore’s, royal family safari guides building a new generation of luxury conservation safari lodges for the people and wildlife of Botswana.
Matthew says: “It’s optimism and ideas that will change things like the climate emergency, species extinction and mental health epidemics. So were keen to get stuck in to help companies with these issues.’’ In their work for The Climate Coalition, 2050 are hoping to make the climate change conversation more united. Adam says: “We recognised some of the older generations are being shut out of the conversation - often blamed and alienated. This ‘Ok Boomer’ attitude isn't going to help us change things, everyone needs to be a part of this or it won’t happen. So, we’re beginning to help The Climate Coalition so they can encourage togetherness across age groups. We want all ‘Boomers’ to feel good and motivated about helping sustain our world.”
Whilst these are cultural challenges the planet faces, Adam makes it clear that the company hasn’t been created purely for what many would group into the category of ‘social good’. “One key thing to say is that 2050 London doesn’t serve extreme ‘woke’ ideology. We’ve created it for companies looking for ideas that create culture change and build fame. We know every brand can’t be an eco-warrior. Like with Azimo, we’ll help others by building brand value distinctively and relevantly. We won’t force marketing leaders to go where they don’t have credibility. Authenticity sells.’’
Looking forward, the team is hopeful. Adam Chiappe says: “We’re not the very first creative agency who want to work with brands changing things. But we’d like to think our future facing values makes us different.’’ Saunby concludes: ‘’It’s early days but with optimism and great ideas we can ensure 2050 won’t be like 2050.’’