2013: Katrina Encanto and EJ Galang, both from
the Philippines, were regional creatives at MullenLowe in Bangkok. The perseverance they
brought to the cover contest, which they entered three years in a
row before winning, has paid off in their advertising careers,
including two Gold Lions at the Cannes Lions festival for Unilever
work. "The contest really opened doors for us," Encanto said. "We
met so many people at Cannes, made lots of connections, and that
led to us eventually coming to London."
The senior creatives at MullenLowe in London, work on global and
local business. They also work with a group called Inspiring Girls,
and their award-winning campaign "Redraw the Balance"
promotes female role models for girls. In a video, a teacher asks
small children to draw a firefighter, a surgeon and a fighter
pilot. Virtually all the drawings are of men. Then a real
firefighter, surgeon and fighter pilot come in to meet the class;
all are women. The next phase of the campaign, Galang said, focuses
on female characters in animation, where there are few leading
roles for women.
Oh, and they don't just work together; a year ago, they got
2014: Kumkum Fernando was associate creative
director at Lowe Vietnam when he won; a few agency folks liked his
cover so much that they asked for a high-res version to hang on
Fernando has since co-founded independent agency Ki Saigon,
which won Coca-Cola's creative work for all its brands in Vietnam
last year. For Vietnam's Lunar New Year, the agency made a
tear-jerking Coca-Cola spot reuniting two brothers who had had a
falling out. The agency started out in a room in Fernando's house
in Ho Chi Minh City; a year and a half later it has a staff of
eight, soon to be 10. He wants the team to stay small and be a
"really craft boutique agency."
Fernando, whose Ad Age cover showed off his talents as an
installation artist, exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum in 2015,
with three giant boxes
with surprises inside designed to evoke the discoveries of
childhood. Since starting up Ki Saigon, "the art has been on hold
because it's been crazy busy."
2015: Boyhood friends growing up in Portugal,
Pedro Eloi and Nuno Gomes were a senior designer at AKQA in London and an art director at
Ogilvy & Mather in Lisbon when they
collaborated from different countries on their winning cover
design. Since then, Gomes has fulfilled a dream to move to London,
where he has been working with different agencies.
2016: Nicholas Ross and Nicole Hamilton, the
first U.S. winners since 2010, were junior copywriter and art
director at U.S. Hispanic shop Dieste. Ross works on the digital/social team
for clients AT&T and DirecTV, and Hamilton is an animator and
illustrator, which may explain why they created an Ad Age cover
that turned into a virtual reality experience. Ross, promoted this
month to art director, just released his second record with his
band, Funeralbloom, which performs in what he describes as "a
pretty obscure genre, atmospheric post-black metal."