Uncommon Union evolved from StudioE9, an interactive firm founded in 2004 by Paul Rene Johnson and Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown. In our first year of operation, we functioned as an independent laboratory that worked with agencies and cultural institutions. One of our first projects was launching the first high-resolution camera phone through a groundbreaking campaign called Image America with National Geographic photographer Robert Clark and Iris Nation. This award-winning campaign pioneered photo blogging and successfully introduced Sony Ericsson into the North American market. 

Our firm grew to offer a range of mobile and emerging technology services. During this time, we operated out of the MoMA / PS1 Clocktower Media Lab. In addition to growing agency accounts, we supported MoMA / PS1′s online cultural projects. This range of work help shape a unique creative and technical culture. 

Awards and significant press for our Viral Loop campaign, developed for Adam Penenberg’s book of the same name, attracted new agency partners. TBA Global subsequently invited us to open a laboratory in their Time Square office. In addition to working with TBA in productizing several new technologies, we handled client work for Google, BP, Chipotle, Monster, and Walmart.

Following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, we began to expand our communications expertise to support rebuilding efforts. By establishing partnerships between governments, businesses, celebrities, and non-profits, we managed to overcome significant challenges. Coordinating with local businesses and displaced artisans, we achieved distribution of Haitian handicrafts through the GAP, Forever 21 and other major retailers. Building on this experience, we co-founded the ethical fashion network, Maiden Nation launched in conjunction with Glamour’s Woman of the Year Award, in cooperation with Chan Luu, Gloria Steinem, Yoko Ono, the United Nation’s Ethical Fashion Initiative and Sean Penn’s JPHRO women’s coop. Uncommon Union’s capacity to build campaigns around important global issues emerged from this work.

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