In late 2018, a gripping documentary called 5B came out that told the story of nurses who were on the frontline of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. The movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival last year and covered by the likes of NPR and The Washington Post.

The film originated from an unlikely source: UM. A media agency that makes movies? For UM’s executives, projects like these help Adweek’s U.S. Media Agency of the Year keep pace with a diversity of clients and their ever-changing needs—whatever those needs might be.

“We are here to solve our clients’ business needs. They evolve over time, all the time,” notes Eileen Kiernan, UM’s global CEO. “If we have the skills and the wherewithal to solve that need and step up with a valuable solution, we will.”

In the case of 5B, longtime client Johnson & Johnson came to UM with a conundrum: It was looking for a way to reinforce its commitment to nursing and to squash stereotypes around the profession that harm recruitment efforts. Through UM Studios, the agency’s original content arm, the idea for 5B was born.

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