In late 2018, a gripping documentary known as 5B got here out that informed the story of nurses who have been on the frontline of the AIDS epidemic within the early 1980s. The film was screened on the Cannes Movie Competition final yr and lined by the likes of NPR and The Washington Publish.
The movie originated from an unlikely supply: UM. A media company that makes films? For UM’s executives, initiatives like these assist Adweek’s U.S. Media Company of the 12 months hold tempo with a range of purchasers and their ever-changing wants—no matter these wants is likely to be.
“We’re right here to unravel our purchasers’ enterprise wants. They evolve over time, on a regular basis,” notes Eileen Kiernan, UM’s international CEO. “If we now have the talents and the wherewithal to unravel that want and step up with a priceless resolution, we are going to.”
Within the case of 5B, longtime shopper Johnson & Johnson got here to UM with a conundrum: It was searching for a solution to reinforce its dedication to nursing and to squash stereotypes across the career that hurt recruitment efforts. Via UM Studios, the company’s authentic content material arm, the thought for 5B was born.
5B | Created by UM Studios, the documentary tells the inspiring tales of nurses who labored on the nation’s first HIV ward within the early 1980s. The documentary was commissioned by Johnson & Johnson as a solution to shine a lightweight on the essential work nurses do each day.
“Johnson & Johnson had a really open thoughts to no matter resolution got here up,” Kiernan says. “It might have been a 30-second advert, it might have been a two-minute YouTube video—it might have been something.”
5B ended up successful the Cannes Lions Grand Prix in Leisure final yr, proving that UM has each the sources and expertise to tug off excess of what’s sometimes anticipated of a media company. Kiernan says the documentary is only one instance of UM’s revolutionary spirit and willingness to “race in the direction of” disruption slightly than shrink back from it.
Kathy Widmer, Johnson & Johnson’s firm group chairman, North America shopper division, says the company’s “readiness to embrace disruption and pivot in the direction of change” is one in every of its greatest strengths.
“It’s very a lot a company that sees a shopper want after which creates a product or functionality round it,” says Lynn Lewis, U.S. CEO of UM. “UM has an extremely entrepreneurial spirit and spine to it.”
Spotify is one other shopper drawn to UM due to its vanguard methods, naming it international media company two years in the past.
“We wished a associate that might all the time be pushing the envelope when it comes to innovation with regard to media,” says June Sauvaget, Spotify’s international head of shopper and product advertising. “I really feel like we’ve been capable of problem one another brazenly and evolve collectively.”
Discovering new methods to unlock progress
UM’s shopper roster within the U.S. is a mixture of previous and new: Iconic manufacturers corresponding to American Categorical and Coca-Cola sit facet by facet with streaming platforms like Hulu.
“We’re working with each forms of companies in distinctive and complementary methods,” Lewis says. Whereas UM approaches every shopper in another way, the widespread thread is the company’s obsession with “future-proofing” the companies it really works with.
This strategy helped ship the New York-based company an unimaginable 2019. UM picked up accounts like CVS, Energizer, Levi’s and TGI Fridays within the U.S., with out struggling any shopper losses.
Guaranteeing its purchasers are ready for the longer term takes many types. For example, the company spent a lot of the yr build up its shopper advertising unit. Along with selling Amie Owen to svp, head of Shopper, UM invested in proprietary instruments on this house, introduced in new hires and retrained staff internally to deliver them in control.
Statues of limitations | Forward of Season three of The Handmaid’s Story, UM helped Hulu drum up pleasure for the collection by putting 140 feminine statues in New York Metropolis. The stunt aimed to deal with the evident disparity between the variety of female and male statues in New York.
“I lovingly check with it as our best-kept secret,” Lewis says in reference to the company’s shopper advertising apply.