‘This Is Happening’ in Duncan Channon’s Latest Ads for Upwork

By Erik Oster 

Duncan Channon launched a new campaign for freelance networking service Upwork.

Entitled “This Is Happening,” the campaign examines moments where teams run into various challenges that require ambitious responses and a little outside help.

In “Plateau” that means a business facing the reality of flat sales. The solution? Find a lead gen specialist on Upwork.

Another spot find a business turning to Upwork to find a java script developer when theirs is on maternity leave. In a third ad, “Project: Big Important” it means assembling an entire team on the spot for a project with a fast turnaround.

While it may not have the same kind of widespread cultural appeal as last year’s “Hey World” campaign addressing the likes of Donald Trump and George R.R. Martin (offering the former a social media strategist and the latter a ghostwriter), the approach finds a relatable and relatively entertaining way to quickly position the brand as a resource for business problems that require, or could be aided by, quick freelance solutions.

Duncan Channon handled media buying as well as creative for the campaign, which launched on January 15 in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle and runs across TV and radio.

“This Is Happening” follows the company’s IPO last October, as well as a recent campaign from competitor Fiverr.

“After ‘Hey World’ got people’s attention by tapping pop culture and figures like President Trump and The Rock to introduce Upwork, we wanted to make the new creative relatable to people who might not yet be thinking about the ways that freelancers can help them with their own business challenges,” Duncan Channon CCO Michael Lemme said in a statement. “The pace and style of the new work reflects Upwork’s view that businesses need to move fast and think in new ways, and they’re propelled by the colorful, quirky, capable human beings that help us get stuff done.”

“Companies are struggling to attract talent at a time when they need to make things happen faster than ever. At the same time, the ability to access professionals online can provide these businesses with help faster than ever, presenting a huge opportunity for them to get their work done,” added Upwork senior vice president, marketing Rich Pearson. “That’s why we’re excited to launch this new campaign with Duncan Channon. It shows how the freelancers working via Upwork are empowering businesses and conveys the thrill of accomplishing big


Agency: Duncan Channon
Client: Upwork
Campaign: “This Is Happening”

Rich Pearson – Senior vice president, marketing
Shoshana Deutschkron – Vice president of communications and brand
Kevin Bechtel – Director of brand marketing
Jonathan Cofer – Executive creative director

Agency: Duncan Channon
Jamie Katz – Director of account management
Nick Gustafson – Account director
Sydney McComas – Senior account manager
Mary Beth Carroll – Associate account manager

Leslie Diard – Director of communications planning
Emily McCormick – Associate director, communications planning
Kurt Garvey – Communications planning supervisor
Steven Jackson – Communications planner
Olivia Alley – Communications planning associate

Michael Lemme – Creative director
Steve Couture – Art director
Rick Herrera – Copywriter

Keenan Hemje – Senior broadcast producer
Rita Channon – Senior broadcast producer
Rosheila Robles – Senior project manager
Emily Sarale – Associate producer

Kelleen Peckham – Strategy director

B-Reel Films: production
Magnus Härdner – Director
David Wolfson – Producer
Simon Rudholm – Director of photography
Victoria Resendez – Production designer
Amy Tran – Stylist
Garrett Freberg – 1st AD
Pelle Nilsson – Global CEO
Michael McQuhae – Managing director / EP

Cut + Run SF: Editorial
Pete Koob – Editor
Stefan Manz – Assistant editor
Deanne Mehling – Executive producer
Jess Manning – Producer
Tom Yaniv – GFX

Jogger Studios – Online
Matt Trivan – Flame artist

Company 3 LA – Telecine
Dave Hussey – Colorist
Gabriel Wakeman – Color producer

Purple Moons appears courtesy of Marmoset Music

Squeak E Clean – Sound design
One Union – Final mix
Andy Greenberg – Senior engineer
Jaylen Smith – Executive producer