Nils Leonard Chair of the Jury

Co-Founder, Uncommon

This is probably the worst time in history to be the Jury Chair of a show created to award TV ads and I love it.

It’s that button. The button on every piece of entertainment, that tells us the world is trying to avoid the stuff we spend our lives making.

The button that can skip the thousands of hours of craft, the blunted pencils, head-scratch edit conversations and hours of pixel-perfect post.

Skip ad comes first, skip ad industry is what follows.

But this is on us.

If every ad ever made was awesome, people wouldn’t be paying money to avoid them. But we shouldn’t be angry at our fates, this is the best bit. This is f**k it, it’s broken, let’s try anything time. In the blast radius of every dodgy ad ever made, and a button that fists our industry there is a freedom. We are free to mess with it all now. We are free to stop making visual Coldplay and kick the doors in. To shock, enrage and inspire. To make the uncomfortable and the new.

The future of the ad might be hard to see, but film has never been more powerful. It plays in more places, in more sizes, and to more people than ever before. The magnolia of most advertising means the good shit shines brighter and the most powerful ideas are still stories told best in film - but film like we never knew it.

I’m humbled to have pulled together a diverse jury from every area of moving-image creativity to award the most watched, most beautiful, most original and most uncomfortable moving images.

And I’m also humbled to work alongside the excellent Charlie Crompton and Janey de Nordwall to find the stuff we all wish we’d made, and use The Arrows platform to hurl the most powerful work up like fireworks above the gigabyte landfill for all to see.

Like the other Charlie said: It has been a beautiful fight. Still is.

Nils has spent over 18 years in the advertising and design industry, working across the most recognised and influential agencies in London. In his most recent post as Chief Creative Officer of Grey London, Nils oversaw the most profitable and awarded years in the agency’s 52-year history, and became one of the youngest agency chairmen in the world leading its brands globally and locally.

In 2015, Grey London became the only agency in the world to win two Grand Prix at Cannes Lions and under his creative guidance Grey was named Most-Awarded Agency of The Year twice in just three years at D&AD.

Nils was voted in to the Ad Age Creativity 50 and named the Most Creative Person in Advertising Globally by Business Insider.

Thanks to an unconventional background in design, his most recent work for Tate Britain won the Grand Prix at the Design Week awards and picked up 15 Lions at Cannes.

A creative champion, agitating for change and diversity in the industry, Nils is a regular speaker and judge at industry events, is on the board of trustees of D&AD and is listed among the Sunday Times 500 Most Influential People in the UK.

Over the last year, Nils has led the inception and launch of the ethical capsule coffee brand Halo to global acclaim. More recently Nils has founded the Uncommon Creative Studio alongside Lucy Jameson and Natalie Graeme. Uncommon is a creative studio building brands the real world is happy exist.