Mr. Fishlock, who emigrated from the U.K. in 1988, joined the Campaign Palace after a five-year stint at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising's office here. Mr. Brown started at the Palace six months later, after 14 years at London agencies.
If Mr. Fishlock and his partner have a strategy, it is to concentrate on establishing good relations with clients.
"We're our own suits most of the time," Mr. Fishlock said. "We like to think we talk a sensible marketing game..... We don't fall on our swords for silly little creative indulgences. We don't roll over on everything the client says, either, but we listen."
"I try to keep it very simple," Mr. Fishlock said. "To match ads with the thought processes people go through when they're deciding what to buy ..... give them the ammunition, nudge them along. You've only got to watch people standing in front of supermarket shelves. That's where it has to work: the ad, the packaging, the whole shooting match."
All this has come together during the past two years in highly acclaimed creative work, especially a campaign for the Australian Meat Corp., built around the on-going theme that "lean beef" is a valuable source of iron for women and children. Awards apart, it has also reversed a decline in meat consumption, with sales of beef up by about 28% since the campaign started 18 months ago.
The challenge lies in adding a creative edge to a didactic message. The first TV spot, shot in b&w, featured quick cuts of a series of women, all speaking with the same dubbed voice about their need for iron. The cognoscenti in the media world recognized them all as journalists at women's magazines.
The current TV spot moves the message along by comparing the iron content of beef with other foods. Initially, two plates of lean steak and another food, such as fish, appear to be the same size. Both, the viewer is told, offer the same amount of iron. On closer inspection the fish is gigantic in size compared to the meat, a striking visual portrayal of beef's superior iron content.
"It's quite dry information in essence, comparing the relative iron contents of different foods," Mr. Fishlock said. "In our latest campaign we move along to the biological need for iron. After a couple of years telling people they don't get enough iron, there's now a need to tell them why they need it."
Before coming to Australia, Mr. Fishlock worked during the early '80s at J. Walter Thompson Co. in London, notably on a memorable Winston cigarette campaign that played on growing restrictions on cigarette advertising with the copyline: "We're not allowed to tell you anything about Winston cigarettes ..... "
At Saatchi in Sydney he wrote the award-winning DHL International commercial featuring a cunning parrot who manages to courier the family cat to Africa. The ad, which won a gold Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, was so popular Mr. Fishlock had to do a sequel, "The Revenge of the Cat." Though Saatchi lost the account to the Campaign Palace last year, Mr. Fishlock hasn't worked on any DHL ads at his new agency.
In another popular spot, he adds interest to a campaign about the opening of a national hardware store chain by focusing on Hardwarehouse's fruitless search for sites that are huge enough for such big stores. People try to help by offering ridiculous venues, like the local football stadium.
Like many good creative teams, Mr. Fishlock and his partner often finish each others' thoughts. "I've been in advertising all my life, I've never had a proper job ..... " he begins. Warren Brown adds: "I'm not clever enough to do anything else ..... "