Jon Wilkins, Chairman of Karmarama + Nils Leonard, co-founder of Uncommon London
In this episode, we hear Jon Wilkins, chairman of creative agency Karmarama, now part of Accenture Interactive, and Nils Leonard, co-founder of creative studio Uncommon London, talk about the challenges of launching a start-up agency, the possible future for agency networks and why now is the time for agencies “to create stuff”. We also hear why keeping a punk-rock sensibility is vital, when and how to fire a client and why it’s important to invest in sturdy furniture when trying to woo potential big-spending accounts.
About the guests:
Jon Wilkins is chairman of Karmarama. He joined the agency in 2014 and has been developing the Karmarama integrated offer, increasing capabilities in data and mobile and working with key clients to help them grow their business through strategy and creativity. In December 2016 he oversaw the sale of Karmarama to Accenture Interactive.
He started his career at Granada TV in the marketing and market research department and then joined the brand-new MTV Europe before being headhunted to work for Disney in its international marketing department. His first ad agency role was at BMP where he became Head of Strategy at the tender age of 27. Next stop was the media agency, PHD, where he became Joint Managing Director of the company.
He founded Naked in 2,000, along with John Harlow and Will Collin. The agency pioneered the concept of media neutrality and Jon worked on a range of local and global clients including Coca-Cola and Unilever. Jon stayed at Naked for 13 years as it grew into an international group with offices in cities including New York, Melbourne, Sao Paolo, Paris, Singapore, Dubai and Tokyo.
Nils Leonard is co-founder of Uncommon London with Lucy Jameson and Natalie Graeme. The agency has now debuted its first work, created for client Ovo Energy.
Previously, as Chief Creative Officer of Grey LDN, Nils oversaw the most profitable and awarded years in the agency’s history and became one of the youngest agency chairmen in the world, leading its brands globally and locally.
In 2015 Grey LDN became the only agency in the world to win two Grand Prix at Cannes Lions and under Nils’ creative guidance Grey was named most awarded agency of the year twice in just three years at D&AD. His recent work on the Tate Britain won the Grand Prix at the Design Week awards and picked up 15 lions at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. Over the last year Nils has also led the inception and launch of the ethical capsule coffee brand Halo.