Each year when the industry gathers on the coast of France to celebrate the work, a new crop of creatives get crowned as the ones leading the way toward new ideas and new methods. This year Ad Age identified six teams or individuals that represent the people behind advertising's best ideas (and top Cannes contenders).
They include a pair known for elegantly weaving brand messages with social good, the team behind the statue installation "Fearless Girl," the woman steering U.K. hotshop 4Creative, the duo behind one of the year's most shocking ads, the polymath winning Pepsi for China and the identical twins behind "Meet Graham."
The identical twins are Tom and George McQueen, and "Meet Graham" is the the unnerving campaign for Australia's Transport Accident Commission from Clemenger BBDOMelbourne that brought together an artist, a trauma surgeon and a road-safety engineer to create a grotesque sculpture of a human body redesigned to withstand a car crash.
Tali Gumbiner and Lizzie Wilson spent nearly a year working on Fearless Girl, the bronze statue defying Wall Street's iconic charging bull that caused a deluge of excitement and controversy. Gumbiner, a senior copywriter who has been with the agency for about two years, focused her energy on the language around Fearless Girl -- from the tweets and plaque details to the writing on the State Street website and in the film. As a senior art director, Wilson, who has worked at the shop for three years, collaborated with the sculptor and used her artistic judgment for mood boards and specific details such as the girl's ponytail.
Alice Tonge is the mind behind several impressive creations, including "We're the Superhumans," the latest in the string of envy-inducing ads from the U.K.'s Channel 4 for its broadcast of the Paralympics. The film is a lively Broadway-style production celebrating the super-abled from all walks of life, as they shoot and score or pump gas and brush their teeth. It's a frolicking, festive romp, with out-there scenes featuring touches of humor and a swingy track, performed by the Rat Pack-era-inspired "Superhumans Band," featuring disabled musicians from around the world.
Andrew Lok co-founded one of China's hottest local independent agencies, Civilization, where he wears many traditional agency hats, including creative director, art director, copywriter. But he also taught himself to direct and has stepped behind the camera on successful branded short films. Now he's writing catchy songs for his videos, too. Lok came to China in 2004 and worked for Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO before co-founding Civilization in 2012. For years, Lok got a big break directing a 12-minute tale about male friendship for AB inBev's Sedrin beer. That led PepsiCo to take a chance on his directing skills last year for Chinese New Year. His film telling the life story of a performer famous for playing a monkey king in a Chinese classic became one of China's all-time hit brand videos. Civilization is now an agency of record for PepsiCo soda and snacks in China.
Martins Zelcs and Bryan Stokely didn't realize what they were getting into when they took on the brief for "Evan," a high school love story turned horror tale for Sandy Hook Promise. The spot shocked the viewer into noticing the warning signs of gun violence—by showing how easy they are to miss. "Evan" was a pro bono project, but the pair honed their chops on big brands. At BBDO, they work on Twix, Bacardi and Foot Locker. At their previous agency, Droga5, their work included Newcastle's regional Super Bowl ad featuring 37 other brands and a campaign for the Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch.
Tylynne McCauley and Brian Farkas, but they're affectionately known as McFarkas. That's the moniker they now go by at 180LA, where team nicknames are seemingly required. It's also where they conceived "Boost Your Voice," the remarkable campaign for Boost Mobile that converted some of the company's stores into polling stations during the 2016 presidential election, helping to empower low-income and minority communities where many of the storefronts are found. At 180, they most recently debuted an uplifting, beautifully crafted animated tale for University of Phoenix. It took Rosie the Riveter into the digital age with the story of a single working mom whose new IT degree allowed her to build a better life for her family after automation eliminated her old job.
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