Gradwatch 2023: Izzy and Alma, Falmouth University

Creative team Izzy and Alma were chosen as part of our annual Gradwatch showcase, where we celebrate the next generation of talent in the creative industries

Many creatives seek out brands and audiences that they align with themselves. This is not the case for Falmouth graduates and creative team Izzy and Alma, who actively pursue projects that wouldn’t typically be on their radar.

“A running theme with the work we do is targeting products or people that we personally don’t use or identify with. Not being part of the group we’re targeting can often be seen as a ‘weakness’, but we think it provides us with an edge because it allows us to have some distance from the issue and see the bigger picture,” say art director Izzy and copywriter Alma. “It forces us to go to a different depth of research, and not to rely solely on our own experiences and biases.”

The pair’s graduation from Falmouth’s creative advertising course seems perfectly timed. Their portfolio is filled with the kind of upbeat, unexpected, and downright weird ideas that the industry is craving (and delivering) after the tide of purpose-led advertising.

Campaign idea for Andrex to place the brand front of mind when people are hooking up

For instance, repositioning Andrex washlets as a hook-up staple, or making Pizza Hut the go-to when weed smokers get the munchies. Even when their ideas have meaningful outcomes – their Gillette campaign concept addresses the lack of baby changing tables in men’s public toilets – the delivery is often lighthearted.

The pair enjoyed their course, which taught them “so much about work and life boundaries”, and allowed them the time to get industry exposure and one-on-one contact with their lecturers. While the pandemic impeded on their social lives during their studies, by the time third year came around the world was mostly back to normal.

The duo have also managed to see some benefits to all the disruption. “We actually feel like the pandemic in some ways impacted our partnership and move to the industry positively,” they say. “We learnt to work together even when we were apart and we’re able to communicate our visions through other means besides in person. We’ve also become quite good at keeping our work ethic even in uninspiring environments.”

Pizza Hut concept designed to make it a go-to for weed smokers

Now that they’ve graduated, the biggest challenge for them is finding their place in the “creative ecosystem,” they add. “We’ve also struggled at times with being more straightforward and asking for what we want, but we’re working to unlearn that and have been making some headway with it. I think as a girl-girl team it can sometimes be an intimidating environment to push your work in front of people, but we’ve learnt that if we don’t ask, we don’t get!”

So far, they’ve gained experience at Iris on a range of advertising briefs, from TV to social, and also spent time in PR at an agency last year, working on shoots for North Sails and working with Alexandra Burke to promote Elvie’s wireless breast pumps. “It’s definitely an art having to please the client while staying true to the integrity of the creative work,” they say.

Gillette campaign idea addressing the lack of baby changing facilities in men’s toilets

Their long-term ambition is to work together abroad. “While we love the UK and want to have a good chunk of our career here, we would love to challenge ourselves to make advertising that resonates with other markets. We’d love to get to a point in our careers where people look at a piece of work and know: that was definitely from the minds of Izzy and Alma.”

The duo have already set about getting their names – and faces – out there. A glance at their website shows the pair introducing their portfolio projects dressed up in humorous costumes, showing a willingness to get behind their creative concepts. It stems from advice they were given to build a brand not just for others, but for themselves, too.

Concept for Butterkist filled with “sweet and salty” opinions about movies, inspired by the insight that people love hate-watching as much as they do watching for pleasure

The idea is to “find assets that we feel represent us as a team and carrying it through to everything that we do,” they say. “Show up to the book crit with matching T-shirts, comp your faces onto every deck, write emails with a tone of voice and inject your colours into all touchpoints of your branding! Your ideas matter, but ultimately you have to come across as a nice person to be around too.”

“In a way it also acts as a filter and helps us establish our compass for what agencies we would fit into culturally,” they add. “If their reactions to our costumes and the way we do things isn’t positive, then it’s clearly not the right workplace for us.”