Murphy, Golding and Heartfield debut New Commercial Arts

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Time was when a new agency needed a creative, a planner and a suit – Bartle Bogle Hegarty being the classic example – but these days life is a bit more complicated and James Murphy and David Golding’s new agency – New Commercial Arts – has a socially distanced team of ten (Murphy and Golding in specs.)

The adam&eve founders, who left adam&eveDDB last year following the completion of a £100m buyout, have teamed up with former BBH CCO Ian Heartfield to launch the most eagerly-awaited new creative agency in years. The last such was Grey breakaway Uncommom Creative Studio but of Murphy and Golding, given their track record in creating a newbie with major accounts and bucket loads of awards, even more will be expected.

Adam&eveDDB has supplanted Omnicom sibling AMV BBDO as the UK’s largest agency.

As with Uncommon, there’s been some re-defining of ad agencies here. Conventional ad agencies have had a bad press in recent years – said to believe the answer to every question is a TV commercial – and clients have moved elsewhere as they obsess about the digital “customer journey.” But you have to get creative in there somewhere so: New Commercial Arts. It’s part of a trend: former Channel 4 boss David Abraham’s new agency (and production company) is called Wonderhood Studios.

Murphy says: “We wanted a name that had genuine meaning about what we are offering. We’re bringing together brand creativity and customer experience creativity, and wanted a utilitarian name to convey the sense that this is commercial arts but in a new way.

“Our name very deliberately contains the word commercial because that is the essence of what our industry does. Our sell is about making brands more desirable but also easier to buy. I think it’s a unique offer. I don’t think anyone else in the agency market really brings together the strategic and creative power with the customer experience power.”

It’s a tough time to launch a new agency. But when Murphy, Golding and creative director Ben Priest left RKCR/Y&R they were sued up hill and and down dale by WPP owner Sir Martin Sorrell (settled out of court.) Covid-19 should be a cake walk.

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