Founded in 2004 by Sherman Wright and Ahmad Islam, Chicago-based Commonground has emerged as an agency to watch. The shop is a star on the MillerCoors roster, thanks in part to its work for Coors Light. The campaign, which uses hip-hop artist Ice Cube to infuse an urban sensibility into the brand, gets extensive play in the mainstream market and helped the brand overtake Budweiser last year as the nation's No. 2 brew. Commonground also handles multicultural for Miller Lite and is the agency of record for MGD, including general market. Other clients include Coca-Cola, Wrigley and Bacardi.
The 75-person shop takes a "no borders" approach: It hires people from many ethnic backgrounds and covers multiple disciplines, including social, digital, experiential and shopper marketing, plus traditional creative. It also seeks to shed labels that have traditionally defined multicultural marketing, preferring a "cross-consumer" approach.