For the two winners of Ad Age's sixth annual Young Creatives Cover Competition, the prize of a trip to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity comes with a "special" bonus (in addition to seeing their design featured on Ad Age's cover): the pair gets to reunite in Cannes.
(See the slideshow of this year's 12 finalists' designs here).
Both are originally from Portugal, but Pedro Eloi, 27, moved to London 18 months ago as a senior designer at AKQA in London, while Nuno Gomes, 29, remained in Lisbon as an art director at Ogilvy & Mather. Both are WPP-owned agencies.
The boyhood friends have not seen each other since they were both at home for Christmas. Mr. Eloi and Mr. Gomes spent their teenage years hanging out together in the same neighborhood in Lisbon, and then both went on to study at IADE University in the Portuguese capital. Although they have never worked together professionally, they have always enjoyed collaborating on side projects.
The friends represented IADE at creative festivals, promoting the university by using their own brand of street art, and the same sensibilities can be seen in the winning cover design "Weapons of Mass Creation." The illustration incorporates as many of the tools of creativity as the duo could come up with, all arranged to form the shape of a lion's head.
Mr. Eloi said, "At the end of the day, the Lion is the ultimate award for creativity, so everything in there represents part of the creative process, from start to finish."
Although the Ad Age editors who judge the contest see so many entries using the Cannes Lions trophy that it's become a cliché, this year's winners had a different take. As well as the more traditional tools of the trade featured in the design -- including paper, ink, pens, speakers, a guitar, headphones, and new media -- Mr. Gomes and Mr. Eloi enjoyed coming up with ideas that represent the creativity in all of us. "I don't know any creative who doesn't like 'Star Wars,'" for example," Mr. Eloi said. "It's like creativity on steroids." The film is represented by figures of Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi, both made out of Lego bricks -- chosen because Legos are themselves favorites of creatives.
This is the first time the winners of Ad Age's cover competition for young creatives have worked at separate agencies and been based in different countries. Mr. Eloi had to travel from London to Portland for a Nike project in the middle of the process of creating the winning cover, so the time difference made collaboration even more difficult. "Nuno would be awake and working on it, and I would be begging him to let me go to bed," Mr. Eloi laughed. "Our friendship is so close, we love to get together to think up fun stuff."
They are also the first winners from Europe, after the U.S. won the first contest, and creatives from Asia dominated during the next four years. This year's 12 finalists are from the U.S., India, Japan, the U.K., South Africa and Bangladesh.