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Uncommon Union brings together strategic partnerships, communications and new technologies in advocacy of important global issues. We were founded to meet the unique challenges of public figures, non-profits, governments, and businesses leaders intent on real change.


Paul Rene Johnson, Co-Founder
Paul began his career as a founding member of a small interactive agency that grew to over 200 people in five years with no outside investment. IN2 was an early and prominent presence within Silicon Alley, pioneering what became the conventions of ad-tech. Following the acquisition of IN2 by Monster, he launched StudioE9, a digital laboratory which introduced leading international brands into the North American market. StudioE9 also operated a lab within TBA Global, a subsidiary of Live Nation, which assisted in the productization of several technologies. Paul then co-founded Uncommon Union (UU) to explore better models for media, technology, research, and community engagement. Ancillary to this, Paul develops his own video game projects which have been exhibited around the world in venues including the Museum of Modern Art / PS1, Galerie Lambert, Postmasters Gallery, ZKM, InterCommunication Center, Eyebeam, Seoul Museum of Art, and others. Paul also likes to occasionally teach and mentor at NYU and Rutgers University.

Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown, Co-Founder

Elizabeth began her career in advertising introducing leading international brands, like Sony Ericsson, into the North American market. This work lead her to co-found StudioE9 in 2004. StudioE9 was an independent digital laboratory servicing global advertising agencies including IRIS Nation and TBA Global. Through the course of her career, her interest shifted from selling consumer products to promoting ideas with the potential to change lives in meaningful ways.  Over time she has built a network of partnerships bringing together celebrities, governments, businesses, and non-profits. Uncommon Union has used these networks to advance such issues as women’s rights, countering violent extremism, war crimes accountability and girls education.


Uncommon Union evolved from StudioE9, founded in 2004 by Paul Rene Johnson and Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown. In our first year of operation, we functioned as an independent digital laboratory that worked with agencies and cultural institutions. Our first agency partner was the London-based, Iris Nation, whom we collaborated with as they established offices in NYC. After winning the Sony Ericsson account for our campaign introducing the first high-resolution camera phone into the North American market, StudioE9 grew to offer a range of mobile and emerging technology services. During this time, StudioE9 operated out of the MoMA / PS1 Clocktower Media Lab. In addition to growing agency accounts, StudioE9 supported MoMA / PS1′s online cultural projects.

This range of work defined StudioE9 as having a uniquely creative and technical culture. Among the projects developed during this time, StudioE9 pioneered streaming and on-demand mobile applications. 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 StudioE9 to open a laboratory in their Time’s Square office. In addition to working with TBA in productizing several new technologies, StudioE9 handled client work for Google, BP, Chipotle, Monster, and Walmart.

Following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, StudioE9 began to leverage connections it had developed over the years in a new way; to support rebuilding efforts. By establishing partnerships between governments, businesses, celebrities, and non-profits, StudioE9 managed to overcome significant logistical challenges. Coordinating with local businesses and displaced artisans, we achieved a distribution of Haitian handicrafts through the GAP. Building on this experience, we went on to found the ethical fashion network, Maiden Nation.