U.K. newspaper The Guardian has positioned itself at the forefront of new era journalism with interesting social-media-driven moves, such as putting its daily news list online and creating a Twitter-bot to answer your news-related questions. But Editor Alan Rusbridger's "open journalism" philosophy really crystallized in the eyes of the public with the launch of the magnificent "Three Little Pigs" spot, out of BBH London, which added controversial dimension to the classic children's tale. The idea was conceived by young creative team Matt Fitch and Mark Lewis.
"The Guardian was one of the toughest briefs we've worked on," says Lewis. "After a few weeks and some failed attempts at various scripts, we decided the simplest way to show every aspect of how this brand works was to literally show it in action."
"Once we'd turned that corner, the idea itself came pretty quickly--what if The Guardian reported on the story of 'The Three Little Pigs,' and through open journalism we discover there was more to the story than we thought?" adds Fitch. From there, the duo we explored other executions with scripts based on other familiar stories like "Cinderella," "Hansel and Gretel" and "Humpty Dumpty," but "The Three Little Pigs was always the favorite," Fitch says.
Longtime Partners in Crime
The two have been friends since they were twelve years old and have been "up to no good ever since," says Fitch. Their previous exploits include playing in a band and working at the "same boring job in the same government office."
Fitch studied illustration and art direction at St. Martins College and Southampton, respectively, while Lewis studied copywriting and art direction at Watford.
Eventually, they both found their way to advertising-- "The decision to team up came about by accident, largely because Mark needed a partner and I had nothing better to do," Fitch says. The pair served stints at VCCP and BMB before joining BBH two years ago.
Since then, the duo has been on a winning streak, literally. Outside of The Guardian spot, a clear contender for this year's Cannes Film Grand Prix, they were behind last year's multi-awarded campaign for Google U.K. Conceived within a 48-hour timeframe, the effort used phonetics to depict various Google Voice commands, turning the typical outdoor campaign into something interactive.
Outside of advertising, the pair has written a superhero comic called "Frogman," that Fitch is currently illustrating. "It's a labor of love and when it's done we're going to try and publish it," he says. "It's a bit silly with loads of jokes, puns, nerd-references and a sex scene between a frog and a lady of the night."
As for how the two collaborate, "I'm the art director and Mark is the copywriter, but at the risk of sounding cliched, we come together to form a third brain," Fitch explains. "We both help and influence each other on copy and art direction. Sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't, but because we've been friends for so long we work well together--we can rip each other to pieces without offending and know what the other is trying to say even when they're not saying it clearly. It's a great help and advantage."
Mark Lewis and Matt Fitch--More to Know
On how they get out of a creative rut:
Matt: I basically get really angry at myself for being rubbish, doubt my ability, sulk, then try to distract myself with a movie or a visit to the pub and hope the solution will present itself.
Mark: Stare at the page and will an answer to appear, when that fails go and make a cup of tea. Usually some random thought pops into my head between my desk and the kitchen.
Mark: I admire Bruce Lee. He's the epitome of practice and changed the way people perceive martial arts movies--a lot can be learned from his life and teachings. Inside advertising I would say any creative that has made a piece of work I wish I had done, inspires me.
Matt: I find music and the people who make it very inspirational. Rule-breakers like Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Prince are all heroes of mine because they all did their own thing. Within the advertising industry I'm a big fan of Dave Trott and George Lois--I love their attitude.
What Makes Them Laugh:
Matt: I recently discovered 'Cat Breading'. It's fucking hilarious. Google it.
Mark: Eric Cartman
What They Do to Relax:
Matt: it sounds boring but I like to just take myself away from advertising and be a normal person: go to a gig, spend time with my girlfriend, see my mates, watch Spurs underachieve… It helps to take a step back.
Mark: I study Aikido, so usually visit the dojo (aka university basement) to get thrown around by other black belts. I also have an unhealthy obsession with Fantasy Football and constantly tweak my team throughout the week. I'm currently second in the league, but that's all about to change (and then the title will be mine Ben Shaw).
Check out the full list of Creativity's 2012 Creatives You Should Know.