The mind of the hot creative

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Mother, London

Caroline Pay & Kim Gehrig

What do you find particularly inspiring at the agency where you work?

The day off for Mother's Day.

What are your influences as a creative person? Shopping, dogs (Caroline). Cats (Kim).

What are the last few CDs you bought

(or what's on your MP3 player?) Cinema Paradiso soundtrack. Magnolia soundtrack. Royal Tennenbaums soundtrack. Polyphonic Spree. Spiritualized.

What directors do you think are doing good work now? Directors we love who turn us down: Spike Jonze. Michel Gondry. Frank Budgen. Mike Mills. Directors we love even more because they work with us: Traktor. Dannie Kleineman. Ringan Ledwidge.

Who are some of the other people in the ad community where you are who are inspiring in some way? A.J. McGraw and Steve Gandolphi at Cut and Run. Alex Nichols Lee at Scramble Sound, London. Rhodri Thomas. Craft Services in general.

Pay and Gehrig teamed up nearly three years ago. The team, as they describe it, comprises a copywriter from Croydon who can't spell and an art director from Sydney who can't draw. Pay came fresh from college via KesselsKramer in Amsterdam, and Gehrig came straight out of Central St. Martins. The pair has created campaigns for Magic FM, Dr Pepper, Britart, Trebor Mighty Mints, Cup a Soup, Sneak Magazine and are now working on the relaunch of Coca-Cola's Lilt and more ads for Schweppes. They're also spending most days up to their eyeballs in drugs - for the government's new three-year campaign. Under their (very cute) belts: a D&AD Gold for Britart, a Campaign Gold for Schweppes, a Silver Lion for Cup a Soup and several other goodies from around the globe.

King, Stockholm, Sweden

Chad Williamson, Copywriter

What do you find particularly inspiring at the agency where you work? The creative process at King is what inspires me. It's very different from anywhere else. It took me months to catch on to "the King way." I'd love to explain the creative process that takes place here, but I'm legally bound not to do so.

What are your influences as a creative person? I'm not a big guy, never have been. Therefore, I got beat up quite a bit in school. I guess having socks that matched my shirt didn't help either. It didn't take me long to realize that I could easily distract the playground bully by telling a joke, doing a monkey dance or whatever happened to come to me first. Somewhere along the way, this survival tactic became my actual personality. I'm pretty sure that's why I'm a creative person today. Not to mention I also sucked at sports, so what else was I gonna do? Of course, music and film also inspire me. My favorite movies are Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Stand By Me, Gummo, Bowling for Columbine and Coming to America. I'm also a big fan of Gary Larson and his Far Side cartoons.

What are the last few CDs you bought (or what's on your MP3 player?) Well, the last music I bought was probably Rob Base and DJ Easy Rock (in 1987). My favorite band is G Love and Special Sauce ... or is it Beck? I guess it depends on what day you ask me. Lately I've been enjoying the sounds of the Strokes, Black Eyed Peas, the Streets and Van Morrison.

What directors/photographers do you think are doing good work now? Terry Richardson rocks, but, I can't name a single photographer or director when it comes to advertising. I'm just not that kind of ad guy. I have a hard enough time remembering the names of my friends and family. I just come up with ideas and try to explain them well enough so that someone better informed can hire the right person for the job.

Who are some of the other people in the ad community where you are who are inspiring in some way? I've been moving around a lot, so my inspiration comes from people from all over. While attending Miami Ad School in 1999 and 2000, I met several interesting characters including Lee Clow, Cliff Courtney in Miami, Jeff Tressider in Minneapolis, Lori Nygaard and Chuck Meehan in San Francisco and also Ron and Pippa Seichrist, the founders of MAS. But most of all I was inspired by all the other students that I studied with. Other significant influences include Johan Kramer (KesselsKramer), Chad Rea (founder of 86 the Onions in L.A.), Peter Viksten (founder of Vardag, Sweden), along with the talented and lovely Lina Jonsson. Their attitudes, ideas and spirits are unfortunately uncommon.

Williamson is a graduate of Miami Ad School. After internships with FCB/San Francisco and KesselsKramer in Amsterdam, he worked at an agency known as frank, also in Amsterdam, on Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, Canon, TDK and D66 (a political party) before moving to King in Stockholm, where he's working on "a bit of everything," most recently Volkswagen.

Forsman & Bodenfors

Stockholm, Sweden

Johan Eghammer & Oscar Askelof

What do you find particularly inspiring at the agency where you work? Everybody is involved in everything at this agency. Everybody helps everybody. There's no such thing as Mind Your Own Business here.

What are your influences as a creative person? All the small and boring everyday things. The drag of having to wash clothes, the queue to the cash machine, the constant inability to reach Coolness.

What directors/photographers do you think are doing good work now? Directors: John O'Hagan, Frank Todaro, Brian Buckley, Johan Renck. Photog-raphers: Berno Hjalmerud, Lasse Karkkainen, Carolina Henke.

What are the last few CDs you bought (or what's on your MP3 player?) Def Leppard's Pyromania, Foo Fighters' One by One.

Palmer Jarvis DDB, Toronto

Dean Lee, ACD/AD; James Lee, ACD/CW

What do you find particularly inspiring at the agency where you work? Dean: The possibility that my peers are going to say "That sucks." Teams are encouraged to come into each other's offices at very early stages of the creative process to critique the work. That open door policy was created to ensure teams hear comments from those who haven't been thinking about the project for weeks and it helps to stop teams from falling in love with bad ideas that aren't communicating properly. That flow of fresh eyes on your work and being the fresh eyes for others is inspiring. James: I find it inspiring simply to be working at a place that's vigilant about making something that's better and cooler and smarter, especially since ads can really suck if you let them

Who are some of the other people in the ad community where you are who are inspiring in some way? Dean: Reel Appetites catering service makes the best breakfast burrito.

What are your influences as a creative person? Dean: Eavesdropping and watching. By listening in on conversations and observing the way people live their lives, I find inspiration for ideas. I end up asking myself, "Why do people think that way?" or "What if people didn't act that way?". It's not a conscious thing that I do. It's not like I have a glass to the wall of my apartment or a telescope at my window but if you go to any restaurant, movie or bus stop, you can't help but overhear the public. If that doesn't work, then I steal other teams ideas during that whole open door policy thing I explained earlier. James: I find that taking a walk often works. There's always something happening out there that's a perfect moment if you choose to look at it in just the right way. And if I have my MP3 player with me, and the right song syncs with the way the world looks at just that instant, the experience is almost cinematic. Music always works for me. Kubrick, too. The occasional episode of The Family Guy. Illicit substances can also work but the results are somewhat erratic.

What are the last few CDs you bought (or what's on your MP3 player?) Dean: Coldplay and Audioslave. James: "Kill the Moonlight," by Spoon.

What directors do you think are doing good work now? Dean: My favorite work on the air right now is VW's "Squares," directed by Malcom Venville. The entire team on that spot did a great job. I love the music, the aesthetic, the idea. I wish I did it. James: Chris Smith. Chris Cunningham. Jonathan Glazer. Mike Mills. They all seem to be pushing a little bit harder and trying for something that doesn't necessarily pander to the immediate expectations of their audience.

Dean's work has been acknowledged in many awards shows including the One Show. His hobbies include drawing and erasing. James' work has appeared in the One Show, and he is a two-time Gold Lion winner at Cannes. In his spare time, he enjoys tidying his desk.

BBH/London

Claudia Southgate & Verity Fenner

What do you find particularly inspiring at the agency where you work? BBH is based in a great location in London. Soho is such a creative place to be. There's never any shortage of galleries, shops, backstreet cinemas, funny little book shops and weird, interesting people. Also, we find working with so many clever, dedicated people inspiring.

What are your influences as creative people? We are influenced by everything around us - things that make us laugh, things that we remember. We love to spend hours in book shops and take photographs all the time with a digital camera.

What are the last few CDs you bought (or what's on your MP3 player?) Norah Jones, Forty Licks, Chili Peppers, Missy Elliott, Eminem, 8 Mile soundtrack.

What directors/photographers do you think are doing good work? We love the work of Mert & Marcus, StyleWar, Alex & Martin, Rankin and Michel Gondry and we think Baz Luhrmann is a god.

Who are some of the other people in the ad community where you are who are inspiring in some way? John Hegarty.

The team of Southgate and Fenner made its way to BBH from Central St. Martins. Since, the pair has worked on Levi's (including TV spots "Temptation" and "Flirt" and print ads "Kiss" and "Cheek"); Impulse; and the Tony Scott-directed "Scorsese" spot for Johnnie Walker. Honors include nods at D&AD and the BTA awards for Levi's.

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