Eric Quennoy and Mark Bernath often respond to emails separately but make exactly the same jokes. Self-described "kindred spirits," the joint creative directors of Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, behind Nike's "Write the Future" campaign teamed up four years ago, after serving as journeymen creatives at multinational agencies -- including Publicis, New York, where they met.
"Write the Future" engaged soccer fans for a whole season and peaked in June with an epic World Cup commercial. "It was a long process," Mr. Quennoy said, "We left for four weeks of filming and came back 10 weeks later. But in the end we managed, by sheer willpower, to get every piece of film we wanted."
Both men claim a deep connection with soccer. Mr Quennoy grew up in Australia, but his French father would wake him up at 4 a.m. and fuel him with hot chocolate so they could watch big games together. Mr. Bernath was close to an English family growing up in North Carolina, and played soccer in a travelling team and followed the English Premiere League.
Soccer is a theme in work for other clients, including Heineken, Electronic Arts and ESPN. Mr. Bernath said, "Nike wanted work that had never been done before, or even smelled before. … Now the pressure is on to do the same standard of work for the rest of our clients."