"Ram every department full of ‘beautiful weirdos’… People work best when they don’t match. Creativity needs difference… it creates sparks."
No-one embodies this philosophy more than the authors of those words, John Allison and Chris Bovill, who are leaving their roles as joint heads of 4Creative to lead Warner Music’s content studio. The duo, who joined Channel 4’s in-house agency in 2012, are among the most celebrated creatives in the UK. Here, Campaign rounds up some of their greatest hits.
Channel 4 rebrand (2015)
Allison and Bovill helped the broadcaster rebrand itself for the first time in a decade. Industry leaders lavished praise on the campaign, calling it "magical", "very fresh" and "stunning and persuasive". It also helped Channel 4 win Campaign’s Advertiser of the Year in 2015.
Channel 4 Humans (2015 & 2016)
For the launch of the series Humans, 4Creative created an unbranded campaign for Persona Synthetics, the company that makes the synths in the TV programme. The fictional brand opened a pop-up shop in London selling "synthetic humans", a stunt that helped drive a record number of viewers to the first episode.
For the second series, the team launched a "product recall" campaign for synths, which included a Facebook Messenger chatbot that became increasingly self-aware and erratic when interacting with users.
Skoda "Cake" (2007) and "Mean green" (2010)
While at Fallon, Bovill and Allison made two of the car brand’s most popular ads. "Cake" showed a group of white-clad bakers making a cake replica of a Skoda Fabia to the tune of My Favourite Things.
The sequel was a dark twist of the original spot, featuring snakes and a baker shooting an arrow.
Cadbury Dairy Milk "Dancing eyebrows" (2009)
Also at Fallon, the duo created memorable work for Cadbury Dairy Milk, including a quirky spot about two children with acrobatic eyebrows.
Channel 4 "4NewsWall" (2015)
To get young people to vote in the general election, 4Creative created the 4NewsWall, which showed gifs about the news and picked up a gold at the Campaign Big Awards.
Channel 4 "Underdog" (2015)
As Channel 4 faced the threat of privatisation, the pair oversaw a humorous campaign in which a furry newshound quizzes TV stars about the virtues of being a not-for-profit public-service broadcaster.
Film4 idents (2014)
These D&AD black Pencil-winning idents paid homage to famous films such as The Shining and The Graduate.
Channel 4 "Born risky" (2013)
For the channel’s first brand campaign in its 35-year history, the team enlisted people with communication difficulties to introduce some of the biggest shows and highlight how the broadcaster pushes boundaries.
In a later iteration of the campaign, 4Creative produced a four-part series starring Grayson Perry, who explored gender identity and talked about his experiences cross-dressing.
Channel 4 "We’re the superhumans" (2016)
Last but not least, the team’s campaign for the Rio Paralympics will go down in advertising history. It was Campaign’s Campaign of the Year in 2016 and scooped two of the five black Pencils at this year’s D&AD Awards.