How did you choose your partner?

Hi there.

I was just thinking the other day about what made me work with the ADs I’ve chosen to work with (as opposed to the ones I’ve been put together with).

I only have two examples of this situation:

  1. My first AD, Paul, was one of the other students at Watford. If you’ve been there, or to any of the other advertising colleges, you’ll know that you kind of get a veritable smorgasbord of other creatives to choose from. Our year had around 30 people, and we were ‘given’ our partners for each project by the tutor, Tony. So you’d work with a few people and maybe there’d be some chemistry, or the work you produced was really good, and by the time you’d worked with everyone and now had to select someone more long-term, you’d have a good idea who that person might be. But it was also a bit like the school dance, in that your ideal date might already be betrothed to another, leaving you in a panicked flap, hoping your second choice might still be available (and not offended or put off by the fact that they were not your number one selection). So my first choice was another copywriter, called Jane (God knows who’d have done the art direction if we’d paired up), but she was already committed to her flatmate, Dave. I think they still work together, and have certainly spent many years at WCRS. So I then decided to ask Paul, and here’s why: we were doing a campaign for Linda McCartney’s veggie ready meals and came up with the idea of a tiny version of Linda sitting on the shoulders of models as they went down catwalks, suggesting they eat more substantial food (thin models were a big deal at the time). It was pretty odd, and not to everyone’s taste, but I thought to myself, ‘If this guy is happy to go with such weird stuff, I’d like to work with him’. So that was that. It seemed to work out until our laziness caused our boss at AMV to split us up, but that’s another story that I’m sure I’ve told on this blog already.
  2. Daryl was a very different situation. It was 2004, I think, and I was partnerless at AMV. Daryl was also partnerless, but that didn’t mean we’d automatically partner each other. I’d known Daryl for seven years, but we hadn’t really hung out that much. To be honest, he’d been more successful than me, so I wasn’t even sure he’d want to team up. And a further complication on my side was that a new AD was about to join, and it had been suggested that I’d work with her. But I was more interested in working with Daryl because he’d created better, more popular and more awarded TV ads, and I wanted to improve that part of my skill set. I can’t remember what happened next, but I soon found myself in the basement of the Dorchester Hotel sitting in a small room with Sharon Osbourne while Daryl shot an ad with Ozzy next door. When the shoot was over, Daryl and I went for a pint and asked each other if we wanted to give it a go, and that was that. Not sure exactly what Daryl saw in me, but I think he liked the fact that, like him, I was a massive ad nerd, who knew D&AD annuals backwards. I’d also written a continuation of one of his campaigns. My executions got into the Book and his didn’t, but in a way we’d kind of worked together already.

What about you?