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Power to the North – Sheffield creative agency defies the Capital with disruptive campaign to spotlight creative talent in the region

‘Forget London, and stay in the North’ is the statement being promoted by Sheffield creative agency, Über in a disruptive new campaign launched to champion the creative excellence in the North of England.

The ‘London Bound’ campaign centres around a tongue-in-cheek film urging northern brands to think twice before automatically hiring a London agency, and shines a spotlight on this concerning trend.

Set in a fictional ‘back-water’ version of Sheffield train station, London Bound tells the story of a brand manager sneaking off to the Capital behind his agency’s back, because he’s heard “they do things ‘proper”. However, he is caught by a charismatic Über creative.
It challenges the all-too-frequently-held misconception that the best creative talent resides in the Capital, and that brands should automatically hire a London-based ad agency because ‘it’s the done thing’.

Instead, it pokes fun at this mindset, highlighting how in London there are only “bigger bills, iconic landmarks and better restaurants for that matter” and that in the North, you “get exactly the same level of service for less money”.

Über plans to screen the film nationwide, including at train stations throughout the region, online, as well as at London marketing and advertising trade shows throughout the year, a move sure to ruffle some industry feathers.

Now home to almost half of Creative England’s Top 50 – a list of the brightest stars in tech, games, film and TV – the north has a deserved reputation for its creative abilities. It is also home to institutions such as the BBC, and soon-to-be-relocated Channel 4. However, despite this, the Sheffield based advertising firm feels there’s still more to be done to change perceptions on the capabilities of agencies outside of London.

Managing Director at Über, Greg Clark, who directed the film, said: “We started Über in 2002 and since then we have been lucky enough to work with some of the biggest brands in the country, and have produced outstanding, award-winning work time and time again. However, despite our credentials, all too often we have lost out on work from brands on our doorstep because they mistakenly hold the belief that they’ll get better creative, strategy and service from a London shop. Once we even secured a meeting with a major international brand, which was then subsequently cancelled because they realised Sheffield was not in London! You couldn’t make it up.

“Lets be clear about this, there are some phenomenal agencies in London, with incredible people and work. Part of the success of the great places is their diversity of staff; people from all over the world – even Yorkshire. But for many brands aspiring to work with the London shops, I hear all too often that at the pitch stage they roll out the big guns and once appointed it goes to a junior team because they aren’t important in the pecking order. If brands didn’t fall for the cliché and made it an equal playing field maybe some of that talent wouldn’t always gravitate to the Capital as well?

“We want great organisations such as West Yorkshire Playhouse (now Leeds Playhouse) who commission agencies outside of the region – to stop and think about the amazing creativity on their doorstep. It’s these kind of decisions we want to question and we want people to realise that there is just as much talent in the North as in the South.

“We’re certainly not bitter; we are sending ourselves up in this as much as we are our London cousins. But I know full well every agency in the region will have similar experiences to us, and this film aims to poke fun at the issue, hopefully in an entertaining way.