Damian Claassens, Agency: AKQA, Age: 30

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HIS STORY For such a young guy, Damian Claassens has certainly logged a lot of miles. The associate creative director has worked on three continents during his career-living proof of the global flavor of interactive advertising. Much of that worldly presence can be credited to Claassens himself, the digitally-inclined creative who helped found the interactive divisions at Leo Burnett/Sydney and Ogilvy & Mather in his native Australia. The next stage of Claassens' professional development landed him in Europe, where he spent three years advancing the interactive cause during stints with Blueberry/London and Framfab/Copenhagen. And just this year, Claassens made the move to the U.S. to join AKQA, where he's been working on projects for clients like Coke, Xbox and ESPN.

For the well-traveled ACD, each stop of the international journey has been invaluable to shaping his career. "I'd say working in Australia, Europe and America have all been great fun in their own ways," he says. "Australia is probably the most challenging, since it's a smaller market. Europe is challenging because you're communicating with so many different countries and cultures at the same time. And America definitely has the best food. Mmmm ... Nutter Butters!"

As for why he's been so eager to cross oceans, "When I first got into digital from print, it felt like shackles had been removed. There were so many new ways to do things, more avenues to explore. What you can do in print and TV can be done in digital, but it doesn't really work the other way around. Basically, if you can imagine it, you can do it in digital."

HIS RESUME Claassens racked up over a dozen interactive industry awards during his time in Australia and Europe, where he designed innovative creative for such diverse clients as Kellogg's, IBM, Heineken, Nike and Volvo. His personal favorite project? "I did some work for Sprite a while back that featured a human-sized hamster named Donny," laughs Claassens. "Enough said."

IF THERE WAS NO INTERNET, HE WOULD BE "Doing something where I was still designing and being creative. I've thought for a long while about doing architecture. I've always been fascinated by the effects that buildings-and the spaces they contain-have on people."

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