Creatives You Should Know 2014: Lauren Costa and Denise Zurilgen, Ogilvy New York

They Think in 'Human' Terms, Even When it Comes to B-to-B

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Denise Zurilgen, left, and Lauren Costa, Ogilvy New York
Denise Zurilgen, left,  and Lauren Costa, Ogilvy New York

Denise Zurilgen and Lauren Costa, both 32, are only now coming up for air after a massive, unconventional broadcast campaign for IBM that ran during the Masters Tournament. "Made with IBM" was the latest run in the brand's Smarter Planet push and involved 60+ different spots that each aired only once throughout the broadcast. The spots, which featured everything from live action to graphics, showed endless ways the marketer has influenced the lives of business and individuals from all walks of life.

Ms. Zurilgen described the campaign as "27 minutes of content interrupted by golf" and required the concerted effort of the entire IBM creative team, with run and gun productions by three production crews happening all around the world. Given the volume of the work, the pair said the experience was an all-hands-on-everything project. "You could have written a spot that someone else shot or edited and finished," said Ms. Costa. "That's how it had to be."

"Made with IBM" was their first big assignment together since they paired up as a team five months ago. Before that, each had already made a creative mark in the industry. Ms. Costa started as a journalist at the Washington Post and Rise magazine, before she decided to jump into advertising and take a post-grad program at The Creative Circus in Atlanta. She landed her first job as a copywriter in 2009 at Wieden + Kennedy, N.Y., where she worked on clients such as ESPN, Delta, Coke and Target before moving to Ogilvy in 2012. There, she was was one of the creatives on IBM's award-winning "World Smallest Movie," a charming film about a boy and his pet atom -- made, literally, by moving atoms one by one. She was also writer on "Ninjas vs Superbugs," another whimsical animated tale that showed how the technology giant is fighting antibiotic resistant superbug with new polymers it has developed.

Ms. Zurilgen, a grad of Pasadena's Art Center, has turned out notable IBM work of her own, including the visually stunning "Smarter Questions" campaign that coupled provocative headlines about common business problems with eye-catching graphics. At her previous agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, L.A. she art directed compelling work for The Grammys and Pedigree. The latter included a hilarious print and broadcast effort that tweaked Pedigree's signature campaign style of black print, photography and yellow background with funny portraits of dogs with outrageous human smiles.

Although b-to-b isn't always the bastion of creativity, the pair sought roles at the agency to work specifically on IBM, given its impressive advertising legacy with Ogilvy. All the while, they've been having plenty of fun bringing a human story to the brand. "Business people are still people, and you still need to tap into a human connection," said Ms. Costa. "If someone's looking to buy a server, they're looking at it the same way we look at buying cars or vacuums. There's the logical connection and the emotional one. As long as we get on both of those, we're successful."

See the rest of the 2014 Creatives You Should Know.

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