Susan Credle and Steve Rutter, BBDO/New York

By Ad Published on .

Susan Credle and Steve Rutter have been together for more than a decade at BBDO, producing such memorable ads as "Switch" for M&M's, which featured the candies unflinchingly consuming their own kind (voted by consumers as their all-time favorite brand ad), as well as a more recent one in which a hotel pillow chocolate turns out to be a chatty, neurotic M&M's guy. These days, much of their time is also devoted leading other talented creatives on this brand and others, most notably Cingular, which the pair launched three years ago and continues to develop today.

Can you describe your dynamic as a team? Credle: We gravitate toward the same sort of values-smart, fun, we serve the client before we serve ourselves. We're as interested in the business part of it as the creative, strategy and thinking about what you can do with the money you've been given. Rutter:Even going way back, we've always gravitated toward campaigns that had legs-a big enough idea that's going to live beyond one execution, rather than quickie one shots.

How does this apply to M&M's? When we started nine years ago, we were told we had to use the characters, which we were not thrillled about.They were such dorks. They had these really stubby limbs and no eyelids, which gave this impression that they were always really bright-eyed. Tom Michaels,the director of marketing at the time told us we had to use them but let us change them. It became, what do we want these little M&M's to be? Instead of doing one funny commercial, we sat down and gave them all personalities. We looked at sitcoms, even Shakespeare-classic characters that make up a troupe-and we developed them.

What are some of their personalities? Rutter: Red is scheming and insecure. Yellow-simple, carefree, clueless. Blue is confident, comfortable contemporary. Green is strong, sexy, and smart.

So which color does each of you resemble most? Rutter: When we have meetings they'll introduce us, "We have red and yellow with us today." The shorter and bustier, the tall and dopey? I don't know if that's a compliment.

Any other interesting tidbits? Credle: We gave the green one boots because her ankles are very thick. Rutter: When we started, we considered giving her Betty Grable legs, but that looked a little freak but if you gave her chair legs they look a little weird just going straight into a shoe.

So as a team how does it work now that you're creative directors? Credle: I'm about to run to London to do an edit and Steve's going to run the ground crew here on the next round of Cingular. Because there are two of us, we're able to stay a little bit more in contact with the work and a client's never without one of us. It's actually working very well and we cover a lot of ground.

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