ROBERT LUND, COPYWRITER
FORSMAN & BODENFORS
The pairing of Ikea and Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors has yielded top-notch digital productions like the multiawarded "Dream Kitchens" campaign. But art director-copywriter team Adam Ulvegärde and Robert Lund prove that complicated technology isn't the only way to create knockout online efforts.
Ulvegärde, who's based out of the agency's Gothenburg office, and Lund, who works in Stockholm, were the duo behind Ikea's "Facebook Showroom," one of Creativity's top campaigns of 2009. The pair turned to Facebook to create a buzz-generating campaign by kidnapping one of the social-networking site's most basic functions: the profile page. They created a profile of an Ikea store manager, Gordon Gustavsson, and added an album of Ikea showroom images. Anyone who befriended Gordon and tagged furniture in the pictures could win those pieces. It resulted in some serious word-of-mouth love for the brand.
See work from Forsman & Bodenfors
Recently, the duo created another smart but no-frills, no-budget effort, for Swedish public service radio-broadcasting company Sveriges. The company felt its web presence was getting lost in the shuffle, (www.sr.se) so it decided to spell it out for visitors by lengthening its own address (sveriges.se). Ulvegärde and Lund decided to capitalize on that unconventional move by creating a cheeky spoof on today's many URL-shortening sites: The URL Expander.
Using the online app, visitors could expand any address to ridiculous lengths, and learn more about Sveriges in the process: contained within the super long URLs was additional info on the company.
The pair is all about boiling it down to the basics. "We always tell each other during our idea sessions, 'Yeah, it's a cool angle, but it's way too complex,'" said Mr. Lund. "And if we can't simplify it, it's dead."
EUGENE FULLER, COPYWRITER
MOTHER, NEW YORK
Art director Jed Grossman and copywriter Eugene Fuller have cranked out one 20-second film for every single day a year, created to wake up users with a video alarm clock.
"It's important to keep the simple things in mind," said Mr. Fuller. "For instance, everyone needs and uses an alarm clock, and they're all the same. So why not make a cool one?"
The duo is the creative force behind indie agency Mother's New Balance account. The alarm-clock work, which is a campaign for the sneaker brand, follows another effort from Mother, dubbed "574 Clips," which created hundreds of video clips to show off limited-edition shoes. Since the shoes are handmade, the team wanted the communication to be handmade, too.
"A lot of the work we've done recently has allowed us to really, really make stuff," said Mr. Grossman. "We've become pretty handy with table saws and laser cutters, and it's not uncommon to see us crouched in the corner of Mother shooting a stop-motion test."
See work from Mother, New York
The team's ingenuity about all things creative comes through when they share their interests outside of the agency. Mr. Grossman -- who's had stints at Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the now-defunct Cliff Freeman & Partners and Strawberry Frog -- came to art direction by way of 3-D animation and, er, baked goods.
"My grandfather was an amazing painter and even better baker, so I've always had a fascination with art as well as bread," he said. Mr. Fuller, a Kansas native, was a backup dancer in '90s rap videos. He's worked at a range of shops, including Publicis, Ogilvy and Periscope in Minnaepolis, but at Mother, he said he feels at home. "The framed picture of my mom on the agency wall might have something to do with that."
WIEDEN & KENNEDY, TOKYO
Naoki Ito, executive creative director at Wieden & Kennedy, Tokyo, has little regard for boundaries when it comes to advertising. To wit, some of his branding projects have included music-making shoes, boy bands outfitted in cameras and dragons lurking on the walls of a high-rise building.
The latter is an assignment Mr. Ito worked on as a top creative at Japanese shop GT Inc, called "Big Shadow." The interactive outdoor experience allowed passersby to turn their own shadows into massive beasts, to promote Xbox's "Blue Dragon" game. For Nikon, he strapped multiple cameras onto members of the band Helicopter Boyz until they looked like cyborgs, in an outlandish on-stage demonstration of the camera's projector feature.
Ito's path through the agency world might help to explain his approach. He started as a promotional planner at Japanese agency ADK and eight years later shifted to the creative department. He eventually launched the agency's interactive group and "from there, I wanted to seamlessly fuse mass media, interactive, PR and promotion, so I moved to GT in July 2006," he said. "It may be hard to believe, but at GT I was playing the role of a creative director, art director, copywriter, interactive and PR."
See work from Wieden & Kennedy, Tokyo
That mishmash of skills is coming in handy now that he's an executive creative director at Wieden Tokyo, a post he's held since joining the agency in November. Currently, he's juggling some 40 projects for clients such as Nike and Google, including the recent "Music Shoe" video promoting Nike Free Run Plus.
"It's important to find a [point of view] before finding taglines and visuals," Mr. Ito said. "In an integrated campaign, it's necessary to integrate 'experience' and 'structure.' The internet exists for not only information, but to provide interactive experiences; that interactivity leads advertising to the next level."
NUNO FERREIRA, CREATIVE DIRECTOR
LEO BURNETT, CHICAGO
Messrs. Wagman and Ferreira both hail from Canada (Mr. Ferreira via Portugal), where they worked together at Taxi Toronto. Mr. Ferreira has an art direction and design background, while Mr. Wagman, a writer, narrowly escaped law school. They were both interactive associate creative directors at Crispin Porter & Bogusky, where they worked on Burger King.
They teamed on the BK Dollar Menu augmented-reality banner, which allowed users to simply hold up a greenback to demonstrate what it could get them at the restaurant; they were also responsible for putting Nascar's Tony Stewart in front of a live web audience to determine his true, polygraph-tested feelings about the Whopper. Mr. Ferreira also contributed to the blockbuster, Titanium Lion-winning Whopper Sacrifice campaign, which encouraged Facebook users to sacrifice 10 of their "friends" for a free burger. Over 200,000 friends were iced before Facebook got grumpy and disabled the campaign.
See their work.
"The whole thing was a lesson in what brands need to do in a culture that moves faster than media buys," said Mr. Ferreira. "Plan for the unplanned. Zeitgeist is more important than any media buy." The pair said they had no real intention of leaving Crispin Porter but "once we met Susan and Mark, though, our attitude really shifted." Among the lessons brought from their stint at Crispin: "Be prolific," said Mr. Wagman. "Ideas aren't about catching lightning in a bottle. They come from hard work. .... Quantity doesn't equal quality, but it definitely helps get you there."
SIMON HIGBY, ART DIRECTOR
Despite their sometimes stoic exteriors, Swedes like to have fun. It's a truth that was amply demonstrated by a simple experiment out of DDB Stockholm last year that was one of the most compelling campaigns in recent memory.
Under the leadership of DDB Stockholm Creative Director Andreas Dahlqvist (profiled in the Creativity 50), copywriter Martin Lundgren and art director Simon Higby created "The Fun Theory" for Volkswagen.
The campaign tested the theory that fun can change people's behavior (and, by extension, how they feel about driving environmentally friendly VW cars) via a number of public experiments, including converting the staircase in a Stockholm subway station into working piano keys to convince commuters to take the stairs and adding sound effects to garbage bins to make depositing rubbish a cartoonishly delightful experience. A contest also encouraged visitors to upload their own experiments to The Fun Theory site.
Mr. Lundgren has worked at DDB Stockholm for nearly five years on brands including McDonald's and Skoda and now runs the VW account with the U.K.-born Mr. Higby, who arrived at the Stockholm shop via agencies in the U.K. and Australia.
See work from DDB, Stockholm
Mr. Higby believes The Fun Theory struck a nerve with the public because "we didn't speak at consumers, we spoke with them."
And while Swedes have earned a reputation as digital savants, Swedish agencies are now showing a light touch with post-digital, real-world ideas. Mr. Lundgren says that comes simply from "trying to create scalable ideas that can grow outside the lines of traditional communication, on and outside the web."
Says Mr. Higby, "it's engrained in the Swedish culture. They embrace things; they are not scared to use something new while keeping the best of the old. You don't leave this thinking behind at the door when you enter the office, and it shows in the work."
In their first attempt at creating a mobile app, Nathalie Turton and Lorelei Mathias managed 40,000 downloads and more than 1 million views on YouTube for their demo video. Not so shabby for an April Fool's gag.
The pair was behind the much-blogged-about Google "Translate for Animals" app released last month as a humorous way to promote the search giant's first-ever mobile handset. With a U.K. launch date right around April 1, why not wield a brand as big as Google to make oink, squawk and moo translations into English believable?
"We thought, since the phone has so many capabilities anyway, why not just exaggerate the truth a little?" said Ms. Turton. "And of all brands, Google could get away with it, because people tend to think they can make almost anything possible."
The pair -- best known as Lolly and Nat -- won the U.K. round of the Cannes Young Lions Film Competition in 2008 and, along with the Google work, have collaborated on projects for Martini, Reebok, 3 and the Green Party.
MANDY DIETZ, COPYWRITER
GOODBY, SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS
Professional partners since 2001 and personally hitched since 2003, the Dietzes started out at a small New England agency, Keller & Co., before moving to the West Coast in 2004. After a stint at AKQA, they landed at Goodby. There, they launched into exploits like the Sprint Now Network push, which Mandy says "might be the first fully integrated campaign that started with a website." Indeed, the online opening gambit gave the rest of the campaign a lot to live up to -- the site was a multiplex of information, sprawling with windows of data, live camera streams and fun facts -- a tangible demonstration of the brand's high-speed network. Elements that followed included digital outdoor takeovers and lively spots that served up a non-stop visual feast of random data.
The Dietzes also worked on Goodby's integrated "Come to think of it, eBay" campaign, repositioning the site from tchotchke repository to a shopping hub for more necessary purchases. Among the elements were comedic vignettes on the eBay home page featuring funnymen Jim Gaffigan and Kevin Hart pontificating about their fantastic buys -- such as a toothbrush. Perhaps even more remarkable were, of all things, the banner ads -- windows of entertainment hosting everything from a catwalk to a cooking show while showcasing wares sold on the site.
See work from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
"To us, integrated efforts are best when they're integrated for a reason," said Mandy. "It's not about filling various media so you can say you did. Each execution should make sense on its own, make the most of its medium, and ladder up to a big thought."
While the campaigns reflect the duo's broad range of talents, the pair admits they lean toward the "techie stuff" -- in fact, you might say they live online. Their website, DietzTV.com, catalogs their work, musings and interests and even features a live camera broadcasting the goings on in their office. Though "it's kind of ridiculous," said Aaron. "Nothing ever really happens. Metrics show that at least one person visits per week. It's probably Mandy's aunt."
CLEMENGER BBDO, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
What's a weenis? Not what you might think.
It's the brainchild of Ant Keogh, a multidisciplined creative talent who serves as executive creative director at Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne.
Mr. Keogh is perhaps best known for the Carlton Draught "Made from Beer" campaign specifically, "Big Ad," a big ad that was a piss take on big ads. The spot swept the awards shows a few years back and was named Ad of the Decade by Australian trade Campaign Brief.
Recently, he masterminded the latest Carton Draught campaign, featuring a roving band of musicians singing of the physical cues that tell a man to get out of the office and go have a beer (like the aforementioned weenis, a part of your elbow). Mr. Keogh is listed as art director, executive creative director and copywriter on the campaign, and that's not even the half of it. He also wrote the music in the ads, performed the songs during the pitch to the client to sell the idea and played in some of the spots themselves.
While he's listed as art director, executive creative director and copywriter on the campaign, that's actually just the tip of the iceberg. Mr. Keogh also wrote the music in the ads, performed the songs during the pitch to the client to sell the idea and acted in some of the spots themselves.
"I could always draw well as a kid and that kind of sparked everything off, but I came from the kind of family that would have never understood me becoming an actual artist," said Mr. Keogh. "Consequently it didn't even occur to me until much later. ... When I went to design school I wanted to be an illustrator, but a lecturer told me I wrote funny stuff and should look at advertising. I got a One Show book and learned from that. I think it was probably for the best because I would have gone crazy in a room on my own, illustrating."