campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 12 March 2010 12:00AM
REBECCA POPLE - TV producer, Grey
Rebecca Pople has the job title of TV producer, but in the eyes of most at Grey, she transcends that tag.
She is known for being able to integrate moving image, digital and social media with style and professional control into any project, and has "creatives clawing at her desk for advice and tips", according to Nils Leonard, the executive creative director at Grey.
Pople, who has been at Grey for 11 years, was also integral to two of the agency's biggest ads of the past couple of years in "timesculpture" for Toshiba and "watch your own heart attack" for the British Heart Foundation.
Leonard says: "She doesn't work in telly. She is that brilliant mixture somewhere between a creative, a creative director and a producer. She is how things of note get made."
SAM WATTS - Analytics manager, SMG Performance
If you've never really been able to get your head around economic modelling, then Sam Watts is your man. Not only is he an econometrics whiz, having led SMG's modelling projects for the likes of More Th>n and Bupa, but he is also able to make it all seem very simple.
The economics graduate started out at Lehman Brothers as a researcher and subsequently moved into media, taking up a data management role with SMG four years ago. Now he is creating solutions for clients and informing the agency's winning pitches, such as last year's RSA and Autoglass, with his insight.
Nigel Waring, the director of SMG Performance, says: "Sam combines great analytical intelligence with strong business intelligence. He has the rare gift of making complex econometric processes understandable."
LAURA DAVIES - Broadcast group manager, PHD
In a seven-year career in media, Laura Davies has worked at three agencies and on such high-profile brands as Coca-Cola, L'Oreal and Confused.com.
Three years into her time at PHD, Davies combines excellence as a buyer with the responsibility of account handling on one of its largest accounts, Confused.com.
Starting agency life at the music specialist Mediamix, where she bought space for the likes of Ministry of Sound and Telstar, Davies then moved to Universal McCann, where she worked mainly on the Coke and H&M accounts but also on L'Oreal and Johnson & Johnson.
Andy Spray, PHD's broadcast director, says: "Laura has quickly risen to the position of group manager, where her work ethic, enthusiasm and ability rubs off on all who work alongside her."
NICOLAS MOERMAN - Graduate social media planner, Proximity London
Nicolas Moerman, a 23-year-old Belgian export, stood out at a summer school on social media and brand-building run by Belgium's Proximity BBDO, winning an internship at what he calls "the mothership".
"He's just plugged in very easily," Adrian Hoole, the planning partner at Proximity London, says. "We were to look after him for six weeks, but very quickly it was obvious that he is a very bright guy and a real natural."
Proximity duly offered him a full-time job, and Moerman is involved in the direct agency's follow-up to its DMA Grand Prix-winning RNLI campaign. He also helped define the social media element of a Royal Mail record-cover stamp promotion, which challenges people to shorten the lyrics of their favourite song to fit a Tweet. "He's a bit of a geek but a strategist with it," Hoole says.
ROB FERRARA, LIZ FRANKLIN - Creative team, Rapier
Rob Ferrara and Liz Franklin haven't wasted any time in establishing themselves in the world of direct marketing.
Having begun their careers at Rapier, the pair were quickly snapped up by Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, but such was the potential of the team that Rapier's founder John Townshend pulled out all the stops to get them back.
Since rejoining the agency in 2008, the pair have grown into a mature team with real creative director potential, as shown in their award-winning work for Mercedes-Benz, Telewest and Virgin Media (last year's "Sky letter" helped them pick up a silver at the DMA Awards).
Such is the confidence that Rapier has in the team, the pair have already been asked to lead some of the agency's key accounts, including the integrated Bauer Media business.
EMMA HOUSTON - Media manager, MediaCom
Emma Houston is a client's dream. She has a fearless attitude and keeps her positive side out, while being able to expertly multitask under pressure.
Previously at MediaCom's Scottish office, she worked on accounts such as Baxters, the Scottish Government and Subway before joining the agency in London in 2007.
Houston is responsible for the day-to-day running of Sky, one of the agency's biggest accounts, and Steve Beckett, the broadcaster's head of media, is a big fan.
She has also just taken on the Wrigley's Extra account.
"Emma is one of the most talented members of the MediaCom planning team and balances strategic acumen with implementational excellence perfectly," Claire Ferguson, a managing partner at MediaCom, says. "Her clients are always raving about her."
ALEX RODRIGUEZ - Account manager, Visa Europe, Saatchi & Saatchi
Co-ordinating a financial brand that spans 19 markets is no mean feat, but that is just what Alex Rodriguez has been doing - and during the maelstrom of a recession.
Shortly after stepping into a full-time post in 2006 after completing Saatchi & Saatchi's summer scholarship, Rodriguez became the de facto point of contact for all Visa's European agencies, thanks in no small part to her diplomatic nature.
"Alex is one of those people you have in your agency who makes you wish you could split DNA, because then you'd know you'd be unstoppable," Michael Rebelo, the managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi London, explains.
It's a testament to her versatility that Rodriguez has now had her remit as account manager extended to Kerry Foods, a client that she helped the agency secure.
MARCUS CHALONER - Digital video and film designer, Superglue
Having joined the agency as an impressionable post-graduate from Falmouth University, Marcus Chaloner was soon proving to clients why glue's digital film department deserves its "super" tag.
Colleagues say he's one of those rare talents who can match visual and creative sensibilities with highly agile, multiplatform technical skills. Working across VFX, motion graphics, Flash development and 3D, Chaloner is considered to be a truly versatile designer. Awards juries have agreed, with his campaigns for the Royal Marines and Mini winning Cannes Cyber Lions and One Show awards.
Apparently, Chaloner's calm and professional personality is also an asset, though Superglue's chief, Simon Cam, does point out this well-loved Welshman unleashes his darker alter ego after a few pints.
CHARLIE EDGE - Communications manager, Mediaedge:cia
Charlie Edge is at an early stage in her career but is already earning her strategy stripes. Before the swine flu pandemic, she wrote Mediadedge:cia's communications strategy documents for COI and responded rapidly with communications planning once it hit.
Edge has been working on MEC's Morrisons account since she joined the agency three years ago, managing a media plan and a large account team, as well as selling in multimedia partnerships, working on cross-agency groups and executing daily client requests. She also works on accounts including United Biscuits, Canderel, Appletiser and Capri-Sun.
Susan Heyworth, MEC's client services director, says: "Her attention to detail is unparalleled and she has a gravitas in front of clients which belies her age."
PETER ZEZULKA - Planner, Grey
There are plenty of scarily intelligent planners in advertising, but there can't be many who have an MSc in theoretical and astrophysics hanging on their wall.
Although, by the looks of Peter Zezulka's awards haul, there would be no room for it on his mantelpiece - after just two-and-a-half years at Grey, he has already won golds and silvers from ceremonies such as the Marketing Society, IPA and APG Effectiveness, and Euro Effies.
Simon White, Grey's joint managing director, says: "He was born to be a planner. With both his left brain and right brain working overtime, it's his perfect role."
Zezulka says he chose advertising over astrophysics because he wanted a job that allowed him to use logic and creativity - which actually fits perfectly with his love of theatre acting and directing.
DANI CHARLTON - Account manager, MySpace
Increasing agency spend is difficult enough as it is, but to grow revenue by 76 per cent in a declining market even for a global brand is no mean feat. However, Dani Charlton's cheerful and enthusiastic approach has proved infectious with agencies and clients alike as she persuades advertisers that online goes beyond the click.
A constant source of ideas, Charlton has developed several for clients that have seen significant take-up across Europe.
Simon Daglish, MySpace UK's commercial director, says: "Dani's ideas consistently create great results for advertisers. She is that rare beast that has great ideas and knows how to implement them. Nothing is ever too much and you can absolutely rely on her delivering over and above what is expected."
SID ROGERS, HARRY BUDGEN - Creatives, Adam & Eve
If Sid Rogers and Harry Budgen's work at Adam & Eve is anything to go by (the ruthless areyoupopular.co.uk and the Phones4u Christmas wrapping paper featuring an Asbo Santa, gangster elves and a suicidal turkey, for example), you'd be forgiven for thinking they are slightly disturbed. In fact, Rogers would rather not talk about his personal life because "it makes people uncomfortable".
But this couldn't be further from the truth, according to Ben Priest, a founder of A&E. "They are the most helpful, no-bullshit team you will ever meet," he says.
Since joining straight from Central Saint Martins, Rogers and Budgen have worked on six TV ads, seven radio ads, three press campaigns, an outdoor campaign and a website, and become "a very important part of the Adam & Eve family".
CHRIS CAMACHO - Head of paid search, SMG Performance
Chris Camacho has played a key role in doubling the yearly growth of the paid search service at SMG since he joined two years ago. A former account manager at Mediaedge:cia, Camacho has brought major improvements to SMG clients' business performance through his search strategies. So much so, he was recently promoted to head of paid search.
He has delivered strategies for Europcar Group, Flybe, Honda, Autoglass, Bupa International, Premier Inn, Samsung and More Th>n. Highlights during his time at the agency include smashing Europcar's pay-per-click targets within months of winning the account.
Nigel Waring, the director of SMG Performance, says: "Chris understands the various roles that search can play in driving the clients' business and is able to communicate these effectively. He promises a lot and delivers every time. Clients really value his contribution."
RORY FORREST, BEN BEALE - Junior creatives, Grey
Apparently, instead of carrying business cards, Rory Forrest and Ben Beale have a Bluetooth keyring that automatically sends their details out. This and the fact that they design clothing, such as reversible hoodies for Sears in New York, makes them sound exactly like the type of people Nils Leonard, the executive creative director at Grey, wants in his creative department.
He says: "They are junior creatives remarkably free of the generic traits of ad college. They don't have a book of one-liner gag ads - rather, business solutions and things that make you smile."
Indeed, Beale admits to only wanting to get into advertising after watching How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Forrest's dream is to be a mayor.
Despite only having been in the industry for three months, the pair are not short on experience, having worked in agencies around the globe while at university.
DANIEL DAYNES - Account manager, MPG Media Contacts
Daniel Daynes joined MPG Media Contacts three years ago and quickly established himself as a valued member of its digital team.
Since MPG restructured its operations last year, Daynes has become an important part of its video integration unit, which offers solutions across media.
And his contributions at the agency have already made an impact on the wider industry. Kelly Parker, the business director at the agency, says: "Dan's thinking is genuinely beyond his years and this is best demonstrated via his development and running of the famous BBC Mighty Boosh series three launch campaign.
"Dan's ability to integrate digital and traditional media thinking led to groundbreaking and award-winning communications solutions that included the first digital shopfront in the UK."
BEN ARMISTEAD - Planner, MCBD
Ben Armistead has certainly made an impression at MCBD since moving to the agency from Publicis London in 2005.
Originally joining as an account director, Armistead led accounts including Millets and played a major part in the brand's "pop-up tents" campaign that won two golds at the Campaign Direct Awards.
His sharp mind soon elevated him to a new role as a planner last year, where, according to the agency's planning director, Carl Ratcliff, he has shone.
"The love affair between planning and Ben started with immediate effect when he transferred just under a year ago," he says.
"Since then, Ben has won business, friends and respect across the agency and beyond for bringing fresh life and energy into a discipline always in search of such."
BEN BEAZLEY, KYLA ELLIOTT - Creative team, Fallon
With CVs that include luxury product development, prop design for the BBC, interaction design, Central Saint Martins degrees and a masters at the Royal College of Arts, it's no wonder Fallon snapped up Ben Beazley and Kyla Elliott in 2008 - and just a week after an agency turned them down because their book was too far from traditional advertising.
Having recognised the pair's diverse skillsets, Fallon put them to work on a broad array of briefs, ranging from leading the creative on Sony's Twilight campaign to spearheading the Campaign Big Award-winning BBC Blast Studio - a live and interactive art installation.
Richard Flintham, the executive creative director at Fallon, explains: "Ben and Kyla have an enthusiasm that is matched only by their professionalism. They treat every job as a project and never just an execution."
DIANA COURTNEY-EVANS - Planner, CHI & Partners
In an agency striving to be the master-of-all-trades, Diana Courtney-Evans' talents have proved to be a valuable resource.
She has demonstrated just how at ease she can be across all disciplines in her work for TalkTalk, with the latest "bright dancing" campaign shining on TV, online and through a direct marketing campaign. She has also produced strong work on Nestle, helping the agency to pitch for and win a number of briefs from the confectioner.
Sarah Golding, a managing partner at CHI & Partners, says: "Diana epitomises everything the modern planner should be, she is at home in every form of communication and just as confident in front of clients as when she is knee-deep in data."
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk