AS THE TEAMS TURN;A SPIN ON THE TRANS-GLOBAL EXPRESS WITH THREE INTERNATIONAL CREATIVE DUOS

Published on .

WHEN ENGLISH SOCCER'S FRENCH-BORN ENFANT terrible Eric Cantona made his comeback for Manchester United after an eight-month ban for launching a flying kick at a spectator, a full-size poster outside the stadium welcomed him back. It was produced and paid for by Tom Carty and Walter Campbell, professional fans of the team, whose daytime job involves turning out the occasional set of storyboards for Abbott Mead Vickers/BBDO.

Better known in London for scripting some of the highlights of Tony Kaye's showreel, the twosome are rapidly emerging as heirs to the creative mantle passed down by the saintly David Abbott. Theirs was the outrageous Mad Max-with-bondage fantasy for Dunlop tires, in which a car evades exploding bombs and rivers of marbles to the railing dirge of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs." It picked up a Silver Lion at Cannes, but became the subject of a blistering attack by veteran creative director Tony Brignull, who described it in Campaign as "... incoherence, a willful abandonment of filmic grammar."

Theirs too were a trio of spots for Volvo, including the crazy stuntman telling us he's a control freak, and "Twister," the story of a tornado chaser that was a strong contender for the Grand Prix in Cannes this year. At first glance, Carty and Campbell have a faintly menacing air about them, all black shirts and minimalist haircuts. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and they turn into a pair of fun-loving Irish lads.

They teamed up at Dorland nine years ago, when Campbell was not long out of art school in Belfast, and quickly found they had much in common-not least a passion for soccer. After a brief sojourn at TBWA they wound up at BBDO, which merged with Abbott Mead Vickers in 1990. Their first real triumph was to win a pitch for the new ultra-cool London radio station Kiss FM, for which they came up with a silent TV commercial of people dancing, precisely synchronized to the music on the radio station. "If you want to find out what they're dancing to," it said, "tune in to Kiss FM."

It was the Dunlop commercial, though, that really put them on the map. "Some people were really vicious about that film," says Campbell, "because it wasn't like anything they'd seen before. But we sat down 15 people in a room, and asked them to write down what it was about, and 13 got it right." The pair clearly subscribe to the theory that most advertising fails through fear of failure. Equally, they believe that every product has a soul that the advertising needs to express. Volvo, for example, was a brand whose heritage was entirely about safety, but the image had become dull and conservative. They turned the brief inside out, to communicate safety by showing danger. After the success of the stuntman ad, it might have been tempting to stick with the same formula, says Carty, "but we are determined to move it forward, so the personality in each film is completely different, as is the atmosphere."

The collaboration with Kaye has been mutually fruitful. They offered him the Dunlop spot at a time when his reputation in London was at an all-time low, after a shoot for British Airways went massively over budget. They both feel Kaye has been much maligned. "Sometimes he's just trying to find his way through," says Campbell. "You've got to delve down and you'll find out what he's trying to get to." They also gave Kaye his first photographic assignment, to shoot stills of children for British Telecom's Phone Day brief, the day every telephone number in the U.K. had to change. The effort won a Silver D&AD Pencil.

Although Campbell started as AD and Carty as writer, nowadays they spurn such titles, inspiring each other instead by a sort of telepathy, welded by their love of Manchester United.

THE STORY OF PAUL FISHLOCK AND WARREN BROWN begins in March 1993, when Simon Collins, then CD at the Campaign Palace in Sydney, apologetically informed the pair that their first team assignment would be a campaign for lean beef.

After all, the brief was heavy on nutrition and information, and the client-the Australian Meat & Livestock Association-had been especially demanding, rejecting all the ideas that other Palace creatives had proposed. "Once you get this out of the way, we'll give you something good to work on," Collins said.

The memory still makes the two smile; not only did that first effort for lean beef win major awards in Australia and abroad but they've been working on the campaign ever since. It also marked the beginning of a creative partnership that has spawned enough groundbreaking work to make copywriter Fishlock, 35, and art director Brown, 37, arguably the most prominent creative team in Australia.

"We'd like not to have our work attributable to us," explains Brown of their lack of a consistent style. "It keeps it more lively for us." Yet, like most good advertising ideas, theirs are simple, clever and executed for maximum impact.

Take lean beef. While other concepts proposed by the agency didn't speak persuasively to the predominantly female target, Brown and Fishlock focused on chronic fatigue, which women attributed to reasons ranging from single parenthood to work-related stress and which may actually be caused or exacerbated by iron deficiency. Remembers Brown, "We had somebody go out with a microphone and ask women why they felt so run down. They said things that we never in a million years could have scripted."

Why are Brown and Fishlock a dynamic duo? "Because we're so different," says Brown, a native Aussie who grew up in a working class suburb of Melbourne. After getting a degree in graphic arts, Brown worked for 13 years in London, six of them at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, where he created award-winning work for clients like Levi's, Audi and British Telecom. He was at Simons Palmer writing ads for Nike when the Campaign Palace lured him back to Oz.

Fishlock, raised in the stockbroker belt south of London, studied advertising but spent a year hauling furniture before JWT/London took him on as a junior copywriter. He left a job at Collett Dickenson Pearce in 1988 for Saatchi & Saatchi/Sydney and won Lions at Cannes three years running for the "Budgie and Cat" series for DHL, those hilarious spots in which a housecat and a canary alternately ship each other around the world in cartoonish packing crates. He joined the Palace in '93 after a short stint as CD at Kazoo, a Batey and BDDP affiliate in Sydney.

Brown has won awards for his own work for Osborne, a spot in which an executive uses a voice-activated computer to call his secretary when he's immobilized by a tiger snake in his office. For Australian Rules Football, his "I'd Like to See That" campaign stars sports celebrities waxing skeptical about the game's ability to offer more action than their own.

Fishlock has also garnered awards for a campaign for Hardware House that features "small prices" in the form of a four-foot-tall elderly couple. The pair also both teach advertising and frequently sit on advertising juries. Brown is even trying his hand at directing for the latest Aussie Rules spot.-Debbie Seaman

THE PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ART DIRECtor Jose Carlos Lollo and copywriter Roberto Pereira at Young & Rubicam/Sao Paulo began about a year ago, and was strengthened by a Silver Lion in Cannes this year, with a commercial for home products brand Singer. In the spot, we see a succession of heavily muscled women posing in bikinis as a VO introduces each and informs viewers of how long they've been using conventional laborsaving household appliances. We then meet a rather svelte young thing, who, we're told, has been using Singer appliances-hence her unpumped physique.

Lollo, who used to be one of the top creatives at Brazilian hot shop DM9, where he was the creative partner of agency president Nizan Guanaes, says he's happy as never before side by side with Pereira. Among their exploits at DM9, Lolla and Guanaes teamed on an award-winning eye bank campaign for the Rotary Club of Sao Paulo that featured photos of people juxtaposed with stunning landscape shots and such headlines as "Donate mountains."

Guanaes' role was to help create the titles for the four print ads. The campaign won Gold in the last Festival Ibero Americano de Publicidade (FIAP) in Argentina, as well as Gold in the Clios and a Bronze Lion in Cannes' Press & Poster Festival.

"I learned with Guanaes that it's nice to win prizes, but you should never keep looking at them," says Lollo. "So I give them all to my mother. Besides, the search for better quality must continue."

The eye campaign was a major success in Brazil, where cornea donations reportedly soared after its introduction. "It was the kind of cam- paign every marketer desires," says a beaming Lollo. "It ran for a really short time, production costs were very low and the results were quite exceptional."

Pereira, who also has a resume full of Golds, Silvers and Bronzes from competitions like the FIAP and the national Creative Club Directory, attended law school before going into advertising, and although as a copywriter he has more literary leanings, he prefers television to print. "In a country like Brazil, where national reading rates are so low, the power of TV is absolute," Pereira says. "My philosophy is to try to be less boring than the TV shows."

Lollo started in the profession 10 years ago in Duailibi Petit Zaragoza, Sao Paulo. "It was certainly the best advertising school I could ever go to," he remembers, as DPZ was the first agency in Brazil to unite the creative team-including illustrators-making them work out of one big room.

Working for a shop that's part of an American-based multinational network has helped them keep up with what's being done in the States. "For years we have copied American advertising, which is certainly the mother of Brazilian advertising," says Pereira. "It was our source during many decades, but today American advertising seems very stiff compared to what the English have been

In this article:
Most Popular