We step out of the box today by featuring a pair of creatives in Six Things, but for good reason. McCann New York Chief Creative Officers Sean Bryan and Tom Murphy have been a pair longer than they've been married to their own wives. This month, they celebrate 20 years together as a team since they first met at JWT New York. Some context: That was when "Friends" was a hot new sitcom, OJ was driving around in a white bronco, and Sean "had an ill-advised goatee."
Since then, they moved to DDB, where they worked on Budweiser, BudLight and Cars.com as well as the launch of McDonald's "I'm Loving It." In 2004 they moved to McCann's flagship in New York and became chief creative officers three years ago, helping to add a dozen new clients and expand the agency's category-base. They also led some standout work, for clients such as Verizon, Sony, Staples and Holiday Inn. We most recently saw them on Jose Cuervo on a Cinco De Mayo campaign that made a gorgeous mural of U.S. citizens' ridiculous interpretations of the holiday; the funny, but eye-opening Evolve campaign that used dildos and maxi-pads to highlight the importance of gun safety for Evolve; and a Nikon effort showcasing the fun family life of gay fathers Kordale and Kaleb Lewis.
But they share a lot more than just work, as we'll find out in this edition of Six Things.
1. Sean & Tom were paired up by author James Patterson and director Tom Kuntz, albeit not directly. Sean wrote a skit for the office Christmas party which amused then-CCO James Patterson enough to give him a shot at copywriting. Around the same time, Tom got a job there based on a referral from his college friend, junior art director Tom Kuntz.
2. The pair wrote and illustrated a series of four children's books, including the award-winning "A Boy And His Bunny." Sean handled the words; Tom drew the pictures. Sean chalked the books' success up to a strong writerly voice. Tom is pretty sure it was the visual approach.
3. They took a job together in Chicago that they thought would be a two-year stint, but they ended up staying there for six-plus years. They collectively gained fifty pounds.
4. Tom and Sean each got married, five weeks apart. Years later, they each had sons, born two months apart. And then after that each had daughters, three months apart. This is either a cute coincidence, or pretty creepy, depending on who you ask.
6. Sean thinks Tom is a music snob. Tom thinks Sean has the musical taste of a thirteen-year-old girl. But while Tom favors obscure indie rock and vintage reggae, and Sean prefers Katie Perry, thankfully they can generally agree on which song works in an ad.
Bonus: They have been told they bear a striking visual resemblance to these guys:
People often confuse the two of them, which is understandable given the Irish surnames and monosyllabic first names. They have devised a helpful device to help with this issue.
Sean = Sh = Short, Tom = T = Tall