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8 December 2022

Meet Nuevo, the progressive and creative agency driven by purpose

As part of our quick fire questions series – or QFQs – we spoke to Jax Davey, CEO at Nuevo about learning, adapting and putting sustainability and purpose at the heart of everything.

Purpose is a huge driver for me; it was one of the reasons I joined the Royal Marines at 17, why I founded my first creative agency focused on shining a spotlight on incredible veteran brands, and why I decided to sell the agency to Berkshire Hathaway and work with them to develop innovative technology for the defence sector.

Nuevo was born after seeing first hand just how bad the creative industry is for the planet. In fact, it’s so damaging that it’s now overtaken the aviation industry in terms of carbon emissions.

We knew with our skill sets and backgrounds we could dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of productions through intelligent planning and smart decisions, this was Nuevo’s first step into this space.

Tell me about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?

Nuevo is a new breed of agency. It’s an agency constantly learning, adapting and trying to make a difference. I never wanted to settle and just be a standard agency, I wanted sustainability and purpose to underpin everything we do. We’ve recruited amazingly talented and world class creatives, operators, strategists and producers with a founding mission to clean up an industry and help build impactful campaigns that don’t destroy the earth.

We work with brands to realise their purpose, brands that want to make a difference and the ones that are willing to make and invest in change. Brands we work with don’t want to just navigate with zero responsibility, they want to establish and pioneer something new and communicate this transparently with their customers.

Ordnance Survey is a good example. We’ve helped and worked with them for a long time now. They’re an amazing brand and we’re helping them to emerge as a known brand into an understood brand. People just don’t realise what OS does and what they have as a business. It’s the perfect example of finding a purpose and building a campaign.

How has the business evolved since its launch? When was this?

Nuevo was launched in 2020 to offer a totally unique and progressive creative offering. We’ve gone from two to 20 staff since then and we’ve massively evolved our exciting sustainability goals and methodology. The most important thing is that we continue to learn, invest and grow – sustainability and building a better world is something that is evolving so we have to keep up and be willing to adapt, amend and grow Nuevo. We’re now really starting to become a truly credible and insightful agency and clients are now placing a huge amount of trust in us.

Tell us about the working culture at Nuevo

It’s certainly unique in every way. From the people and they’re own pursuits, to the way in which we operate – it’s been a massive factor in what I wanted from a business. If you develop and build a culture only good things can come out of it.

For example, one of our operations staff – a former Royal Marine – recently traversed across the fifth and final of the largest islands on planet; Baffin Island. We supported him in every manner and didn’t request he use annual leave before, during and after the expedition. Likewise, one of our other colleagues is heavily involved with a disabled children’s horse riding summer camp, which is a week-long outdoor venture where 16-20 children get the chance to experience activities they wouldn’t normally get the chance to partake in. We ensured the colleague had our full support with taking time away from work and sufficient recovery time.

If we ever start to remove or chip away at those culture values that’s when I feel we’re failing. Culture comes hand-in-hand with Nuevo as an agency and our sustainability and creative service values.

How are you funded?

We have been super lucky to work with incredible clients from the inception of Nuevo, and even luckier to grow an incredible team that have attracted new clients month on month. Mix that with strategic partnerships such as Flight story and it creates an incredible growth model.

What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?

The education element; getting clients to fully understand why they’re partnering with us. We knew this would be a long process – how we articulate and communicate this. We offer not just creative, strategic and production services but also impact reports and advice on the ways in which projects and productions should be created. By creating this ecosystem, which of course changes as we learn and grow, clients then understand the full impact of the work Nuevo is doing compared to a traditional creative agency.

Another big challenge has been tackling sustainability within the marketing and advertising industry. It has been difficult as it’s such a fast-paced environment and one that is hugely dictated by budget and timelines. Trying to get organisations to rethink parts of the process that they have done for so long can sometimes be seen as counter productive.

How does Nuevo answer an unmet need with clients?

We don’t know all the answers and I think this is the beautiful thing. We are now starting to find answers. Ultimately, every brand today has to make huge organisational changes to stay afloat. The creative world has been slow to adopt but, we’re not here for a witch hunt, we’re here to collaborate and educate, shift marketing into a better place and share this with clients and whoever wants to listen and partake. As cliche as it sounds, the time for collaboration, communication and openness is now.

What’s in store for the future?

Simply, we want to inspire a huge shift in the creative industry and one thats makes it a more sustainable and honest space. We are working tirelessly to inspire, educate and collaborate with organisations around the world to understand the negative impact the advertising industry is having on the planet but, more importantly actually create solutions that will lead and guide the way.

Purpose-led is a popular term right now, but it should be agenda point one. Once you have this, it’s about articulating and understanding this as responsibly as possible.

For Nuevo, we’re going to elevate what we’re doing and build on bringing in credible staff and work with more brands who want to action positive change and build a better future.

What one piece of advice would you give other founders of future founders?

Think, evaluate and say yes. We overthink everything in life, at least I did for so long. If I was asked two years ago to go up on stage and deliver a 15 minute speech about something I cared about, I would have immediately said no and hidden away.

I’ve truly fallen in love with storytelling through experience. Life is about delivering and telling your story, whatever the subject and on whatever platform. Whether it’s chatting to a friend or chatting to thousands of people, find a purpose. Find a purpose for absolutely anything that helps people. Also, don’t stand in the shadows and do things alone. I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with amazingly talented and genuine people – in my professional and personal life – and without them I certainly would not be the person I am today. That dream big mantra is so real, whatever the circumstances are. Always see yourself as a visionary, in whatever you set out to do, and stay inspired, enthusiastic and make sure that purpose stays firmly at the forefront.

And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?

I can’t for one second say my day is planned from start to finish. It’s diverse, sometimes quite mad, but it’s all for greater good if that makes sense. I’d say I have anchors in my routine for sure. Exercise is obviously key for me, but I also have a young son and an ambitious and successful partner, so we always grab hold of those anchors and do the things we love outside of our professional lives