Deutsch/Los Angeles

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Mark Musto and Mike Bryce know that a satellite dish is worth more than the sum of its metal and fiberglass parts. A satellite dish is a new lease on life; its installers are harbingers of joy. "DirecTV is this cross between technology and entertainment, and you can't just do the technology sell with that. There's got to be a sense of fun involved with the product," says AD Bryce. For the `Installer' campaign for DirecTV, Musto and Bryce had to conceive a series of spots touting the service's free installation offer. In one execution, a DirecTV installer and his client are in the yard discussing the final details of the satellite service contract; as the interaction comes to a close, the burly customer steps past the outstretched hand, going for a big hug instead. "Mike wanted to be a plumber for a long time and liked the installation theme," copywriter Musto jokes of their inspiration.

Since partnering in 1999, Bryce and Musto have worked on Mitsubishi and DirecTV. Musto came to Deutsch/LA via engineering school at New York's Hofstra University, where he was planning to be an architect. "At the last minute I couldn't deal with another four years of school," he explains; that was when he began to take classes at the School of Visual Arts. After a stint in Deutsch's New York office, he transferred to Los Angeles. Bryce found his way to Deutsch after a period at a small L.A. shop called Fattal & Collins. Although, unlike his partner, he has no formal training in another field, he intimates that he has a backup plan in case his advertising career becomes a dismal failure. "If I wasn't doing this, I'd be a superhero. I don't have any superpowers, though, so it really wouldn't work out," he deadpans. Musto, willing to explore this idea, adds, "You're the superhero who gives advice. Like `We should save those people over there."'

Luckily for damsels in distress everywhere, it looks like advertising is going to be a success for the time being. Bryce and Musto express nothing but love and admiration for their current employers. "Let me just say that we think Donny Deutsch is a wonderful man. A handsome man," says Bryce before beginning his encomium in earnest. "Deutsch has been great because it's a great culture of people to work with, which makes our job very easy." Musto chimes in, "Nobody's a hide-their-paper creative. It's competitive because there's a lot of good people, but at the same time there's a real camaraderie."

Which is not to say that the two of them work together smoothly all the time. "There's got to be some tension," asserts Musto. To work out their problems, he says, "We clear the room and we wrestle."

The occasional headlocks and double Nelsons don't really get in the way of warm, intelligent work, as the agency brass has implicitly acknowledged: In December, Bryce and Musto were promoted to associate creative directors, and they now oversee the DirecTV account.

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