Mandy began his career on the agency’s graduate trainee scheme. However, the pair shared an ambition: to write ad campaigns. “JWT runs a role reversal course to help employees from outside the creative department understand what it is like to write ads,” explains Mandy. “We had already started nicking briefs and writing together so we decided to give it a go and it was during this course that we realised we could work well as a team.”
With a few ideas on paper, the pair put an envelope of their work under creative director Nick Bell’s door. His response was to offer the duo a three-month placement, on the condition that they resigned their current jobs and accepted that if they were no good, there wouldn’t be jobs for them at the end of it.
Fortunately for them, their decision to take the plunge was justified as they were offered jobs at the end of their placement and – according to JWT’s Mike McKenna – are now producing some of the agency’s most provocative work, across a wide range of media.
“It might be a 60 second TV ad or it might be a content idea or some ambient stuff – you only know what is best when you’ve worked out what you need to say and who you need to say it to,” says Mandy.
One of Mandy and Welch’s biggest campaigns to date is the Joy of Text work they created for Vodafone’s student-aimed unlimited free text message offer. The pair created press and posters that played on the visual style of Charles Raymond and Christopher Foss’ illustrations for the classic 70s sex manual, The Joy of Sex. They then instigated the start-up of Joy of Text societies at universities around the country which went on to run text-themed club-nights and events. A book that parodied The Joy of Sex was created and Mandy and Welch also came up with activity that involved two hippies driving a camper van around the country spreading the Joy of Text message.
The pair’s ability to think beyond the bounds of traditional advertising is positively encouraged by JWT’s creative directors. “We’re working with Craig [Davis, JWT worldwide creative director] to develop a cool phone application we came up with that could work as a stand-alone product,” reveals Mandy. “And we’re in talks with a major youth TV network about a TV show or brand content idea.”