Amercian Academy of Dermatology "Towels"
Clay Weiner, 29, Copywriter Years in business: 1 Notable Bling: 1 Bronze Lion, Art Directors Club Young Guns 2004, 1 Silver One Show
Alan Vladusic, 27, Art Director Years in business: 5 Notable Bling: 2 Bronze Lions, 1 Clio, 1 Andy, Junior Art Director of the Year Publicis/Germany
Team Lowdown: At 28, Clay Weiner had a resume that any comedy writer would kill for. The Columbia grad had worked in sketch comedy with Late Night with Conan O'Brien's Robert Smigel and on The Dana Carvey Show, contributed to The Onion and written and starred in a quirky MTV branding package as super-hipster dancing machine Intro Guy. After a short stint at Cliff Freeman, Weiner joined Publicis/N.Y., where his cube was adjacent to that of Alan Vladusic, who came to New York from Publicis' Frankfurt offices around the same time as worldwide creative director David Droga. When Weiner and Vladusic were assigned to work together as a creative team about a year ago, Vladusic, a visualist of the strong, silent type, was still working on learning English. The fact that they produced Lion-winning work straight out of the gate -- Stoli's "Frozen" outdoor campaign, which shows owners who have frozen all their pricey possessions to keep the vodka cold -- they attribute to a language barrier, which they say helped to yield simple, yet powerful ideas. Having also created PSAs for MTV's "Rock the Vote" campaign (done outside of Publicis, but with the agency's permission) provoking young people to think about same-sex marriage, and another for the American Academy of Dermatology about the danger of skin cancer, Weiner and Vladusic will focus their energies next on a trio of alcoholic beverages -- Stoli, Heineken and Beefeater. (Melanie Shortman)
Little known factoids: Alan: "Before I did advertising, I did nothing. I did shit. Hanging out, selling car radios and fake designer clothes. Now I do advertising and that is all I do." Clay: "I've never understood boredom. I've never been bored. I've always got multiple projects going on."
Virgin Mobile "Snowflakes"
Adam Alshin, 28, Copywriter Years in Business: 4
Justin Gignac, 24, Art Director Years in Business: 1 Notable Bling: ADC Student Award, Andy Student Award, ADC for IBM and nycgarbage.com
Kim Haxton, 25, Designer Years in Business: 6 months
Team lowdown: Alshin, Gignac and Haxton gravitated to one another when working for clients at Fallon/N.Y., and somehow the three became the agency's resident creative threesome. Citing a "good vibe" together, the twenty-somethings seem to have a penchant for the bizarre -- Alshin and Haxton did the "Chrismahanukwanzakah" campaign and Gignac was an art director on Ogilvy's IBM/Linux campaign featuring the eerie blond kid (he also has a sideline gig selling N.Y. trash -- see www.nycgarbage.com). On their first project together, the triple-threat combo of copywriter, art director and designer used their powers for good, taking an unusual "Become a drug dealer" approach on a multi-media campaign for charity Keep a Child Alive, which provides generic drugs to kids with AIDS. Alshin, who also previously worked on Kirshenbaum's NYC2012 Olympic efforts, attended Art Center College of Design, Gignac graduated from New York's School of Visual Arts and Haxton, who previously did freelance work on Scion out of Attik, studied at Miami Ad School and Art Center. The three are now pooling their efforts on upcoming work for Virgin, Starbucks, Brawny and TIME. (Melanie Shortman)
Method to the madness: Alshin: "I love the twisted weird stuff. Here you can do it for Brawny, and they're able to sell it." Haxton: "I like to ask the target questions instead of shoving things in their faces. You can imply and ask questions and achieve more."
SAATCHI & SAATCHI/LONDON
Leo Premutico, 26, Senior Writer Years in Business: 6 Notable Bling: 8 Lions, 4 Clios, 2 Andys
Jan Jacobs, 34, Creative Director Years in Business: 12 Notable Bling: 12 Lions, 2 ADC, 4 One Show Pencils, 3 Clios, 4 Andys
Team Lowdown: By 25, Aussie native Leo Premutico had already made waves in Singapore at Colenso BBDO with his chilling Gold-Lion winning outdoor safe driving effort for Environment Waikato, which placed on car windshields flyers featuring gruesome, life-size photographs of a girl's post-crash face. This caught the eye of then Saatchi/London ECD Tony Granger, who lured Premutico to the U.K. and teamed him with native South African Jan Jacobs, a veteran creative who had just previously worked with Granger in N.Y., overseeing the New York Times print work that put Bozell/N.Y. on the awards show map in 2003. Together the pair created the unnerving but brilliant NSPCC "Ventriloquist," and the Gold Lion-honored print for Coco De Mer, fearing the stunning fractally-represented orgasms. They just completed a new round of TV for the latter, and word has it that come this spring, both will rejoin Granger at Saatchi/N.Y. As for their incredibly fertile partnership, "I just got lucky," Premutico notes. "One of the reasons I love working with Jan is we can talk about things in life and human behavior and we end up in really interesting areas." (Ann-Christine Diaz)
Method to the Madness: Premutico: "Just make mistakes. You can't just do a few ideas and think you're going to hit the mark once every five ads you write. To an extent, it is a numbers game. It's working hard but also then taking time back and being able to judge work objectively."
John Smith's "Babies"
Chris Bovill, 28, copywriter/art director
John Allison, 27, copywriter/art director
Years in Business (Team): 3+ Notable Bling: 2 D&ADs; Gold Lion; BTAA Gold, Silver; Creative Circle Platinum, Gold, Silver; Slovakia's 3rd Best Ad Award for Tekken 4
Team lowdown: Brits Chris Bovill and John Allison, who met in art school at the University of Manchester, were just about to call it quits on their advertising careers after two years of fruitless pavement pounding around London. But in 2001, that move was averted after TBWA/London creative director Trevor Beattie noticed them at a young ad talent show and welcomed them to his team. Within their first year, the duo produced the Gold Lion and double D&AD-awarded "Babies" for the John Smith "No Nonsense" campaign, featuring an average Joe who blithely yet quite graphically recounts how he explained the birds and the bees to his child. Tending naturally toward dark comedy, the pair also conceived the superbly disturbing spots for PS2's The Getaway, including one filmed from the POV of a hogtied victim, and a campaign that makes crafty real-life comparisons to Tekken game triumphs. Printwise, they created some stellar outdoor for adidas and magnificent optical illusions for Absolut, for which they also constructed a life-sized, bottle-shaped igloo with iced-out living room innards. Other exploits include a three-week David Blaine-esque appearance in a British department store showroom window, and next up for the team is more for John Smith's, as well as their latest coup, a full-blown campaign for Sony's PSP, with "Mountain" Grand Prix-winning writer Tony McTear. (Ann-Christine Diaz)
Method to the Madness: Allison: "We're into the big idea. We're not an executional team. That's kind of what we're obsessed with, trying to get to some new ground. And the way we work is just a lot of sitting around, talking, lots of rubbish. We're not really influenced by ads. A lot of teams will troll through old D&AD annuals, but Chris and I usually start with what films we've seen, things like that. We'll just go to the cinema and then go and get hammered, rather than look at old ads for inspiration."