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the showcase 2022

Successfully marrying experience and creativity: NCA's 2022

New Commercial Arts has begun to make the impression that the industry has been expecting

By creative salon

Having launched in the height of the bleak Covid lockdown of 2020, this year marked the first full year that New Commercial Arts could operate firing on all cylinders.

We caught up with founders James Murphy, David Golding, Ian Heartfield, Rob Curran and Matt Craigie-Atherton, and managing partner Hannah White to talk about their year.

The New Commercial Arts management team on the agency's 2022

What three words would you use to describe 2022? (Matt Craigie-Atherton, Head of Production & Founder)


This is not our approach to work this year, but the what3words for our brilliant new office in Warren Street, our first permanent London space.

Talk us through some of your agency’s highlights this year? (James Murphy, CEO & Founder)

Moving into our first London home was a big moment for NCA. Along with that, we welcomed many brilliant new clients including Nando’s, Sainsbury’s Tu, Not On The High Street, Redefine Meat, Motorpoint and Paramount+. Our customer experience team continued to create innovative solutions for brands like Uber and Vodafone. Strong results followed our MoneySuperMarket campaign featuring the iconic Dame Judi Dench, we took over every high impact site in the country to launch Paramount+, and our work for the Alzheimer’s Society was quoted by the Health Secretary.

What one thing are you proudest of this year? (David Golding, CSO & Founder)

Launching a high-profile partnership with the FA and England football team to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Society. We removed the names from the England football team’s shirts in the second half of an International while 1.5 million people tuned in to watch.

And what’s been your biggest challenge? (Ian Heartfield, CCO & Founder)

It’s been a year of undoubted challenges: war in Europe, the cost-of-living crisis, the death of a monarch, and more prime ministers than you can shake a stick (or fist) at. Each one has brought anxiety and a sense of instability to our clients, our audiences, and our people. Whilst it’s hard to always stay focused on ads when you’re on the verge of WW3, we made our way through it all by trying to keep things in perspective, being available for our clients 24/7, and concentrating on the things that were within our control.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023? (Rob Curran, CXO & Founder)

We’re most looking forward to more of the same unpredictable adventures that this industry so reliably serves up each and every year. It's consistently impossible to predict the work you'll sweat over, the incredible talent you'll work with, the places you'll go, the brands and customers you'll serve, and the problems we'll solve. And most of all, we’re looking forward to creating more and more opportunities for people who might not have otherwise had the chance, to join in those adventures.

And what one change would you most like to see in our industry next year? (Hannah White, Managing Partner)

A celebration of all things creative. Some of our most impactful work this year has been in customer experience – whether that’s creating Uber’s global membership programme or re-imagining the Nando’s restaurant experience. It’d be great to see the industry talking more about all forms of creativity – the big, shiny moments as well as the everyday magic we can create when consumers interact with our brands.

Creative Salon on New Commercial Arts' 2022

Much like a pack of greyhounds pawing at the gates at the traps, NCA's management team has been eager to get going after launching in the teeth of Covid. And out they bolted in 2022, properly fulfilling their promise of uniting advertising and customer experience in a new definition of commercial arts. The agency’s work for Halifax, and Nando's in particular, showed that creativity in improving and streamlining the customer experience was more than just a nifty slide in its cred document. In fact, CX makes up more than half the agency's income.

In order to resource itself for the expansion that would inevitably follow, the agency hired Jessica Pacey and Alicia Job from Engine as a creative team, as well as BBC Creative duo Jules Middleton and Peigh Asante. The new business flowed in - Paramount+, Nando's, Notonthehighstreet and Motorpoint were all among clients who found something compelling in the NCA proposition. Its move into spacious and impressive new offices off Tottenham Court Road was a statement of intent.

While driving brand growth through customer experience is a key part of NCA's proposition, it doesn't come at the expense of "big" creative ideas. How nice to see Dame Judi Dench appear in her first ad, for MoneySupermarket, and how moving was Ian Heartfield's spot for The Alzheimer's Society that distinguished between old age and illness?

Creative Salon Says: Naysayers and old school cynics might have scoffed at the thought that CX and top-level creativity could be married together successfully, but they're not laughing now. NCA has shown that it's possible to have a one-stop shop that joins up both, with some very satisfying results. 2022 was the year the agency fully started living up to the promise of its proposition and world-class talent; 2023 should be the year NCA properly claims its position on the industry stage.


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