NEWSMAKERS/RICHARD FLINTHAM AND ANDY McLEOD: The BMP pair whose Doritos spots wowed D&AD - This creative duo appears surprisingly modest about its coup, Emma Hall says

They are doing their best to be co-operative, but through the smog of heavy hangovers, Richard Flintham and Andy McLeod are not finding it easy.

They are doing their best to be co-operative, but through the smog

of heavy hangovers, Richard Flintham and Andy McLeod are not finding it

easy.



So we start with some untaxing basics about the BMP DDB creative team

who picked up a gold and two silvers at D&AD last week (Campaign, 23

May). Flintham, the art director, is from near Lincoln and McLeod, the

copywriter, grew up in south London. They met and teamed up at Hounslow

college, but left six months before the end of the course to take a job

at BDDH.



As they talk, memories of the previous night start to filter through,

and the brain cells move up a gear. Although the results had been

leaking freely for days, the duo still doubted whether or not they had

really landed the gold. ’We didn’t want to expect the gold and then be

disappointed when we got a silver,’ McLeod says.



The Doritos TV sponsorship idents that won them the big prize broke the

mould in that field and, like the zany Tango idents created a few years

ago by HHCL and Partners, they have moved the category up to a new

level.



The turgid equivalent - Wella’s sponsorship of Friends - demonstrates

the lack of imagination that is usually applied to even high-profile TV

sponsorship credits.



Flintham and McLeod had fun making their award-winning campaign, which

they scripted loosely before going into the studio with John Thompson,

the actor who plays Fat Bob in Steve Coogan’s Paul Calf creations and

the barman in Men Behaving Badly.



Flintham explains: ’We had starting points rather than scripts, and we

tried out 20 or 30 jokes for each of the characters. Then we listened to

our bellies and to what the engineers were laughing at before deciding

which ones to use.’



That makes it sound rather easy, but the pair are renowned for their

’heads down’ approach. Derek Day, a creative director at BDDH, says:

’When they went they left a hole at the agency. I wish there were more

creatives like them because then we would suffer less attacks for

profligacy and fewer demands for cutbacks.’



The two may look very different - McLeod appears cute but dangerous

while Flintham seems approachable and kind - but there is no straight

man/funny man or good guy/bad guy contrast.



Rob Jack, now a copywriter at Bartle Bogle Hegarty and a former

colleague of Flintham and McLeod at BDDH, believes their interchangeable

roles ’gives their work huge strength and diversity’.



Flintham says: ’We talk about things for a long time and we often

disagree over ideas, so if we find something we both like, we’re

convinced it’s good.’



McLeod and Flintham are this year’s crown princes of the London

advertising scene, but they couldn’t be less like Tom Carty and Walter

Campbell, the enigmatic Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO creative team from whom

they have inherited the title.



Where Carty and Campbell are fanatics with a forbidding air, Flintham

and McLeod are scruffy, familiar, and, in the BMP mould, unassuming and

bashful about their success.



Dave Waters, the creative director of Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, where

the pair went after four years at BDDH, says: ’They are realistic. They

are keen to hang on to a good idea but won’t get precious about the

frilly bits.’



But they have their faults. John Webster, the executive creative

director of BMP, says: ’Andy is bolshy. When they joined, he fought all

the time, but now that more of their work gets through, he has less to

fight about.’



And, Webster believes, they still have a lot to learn. ’They need more

experience, they must learn to compromise and find out about dealing

with major clients and big, long-term campaigns.’



Flintham and McLeod aren’t as young and inexperienced as they look -

they have loads of awards, and they made Campaign’s Faces to Watch in

1995. At BMP, they are ’directors of creativity’ in the agency’s

flexible group system. Richard is 29 and Andy, who is 31, has bought a

house in Clapham with his girlfriend, Rachel Walker, who is head of

planning at Duckworth Finn.



Their first work for BDDH appeared in 1990, starting with a spot for

Edam cheese and followed by work for the Institute of Practitioners in

Advertising and Christian Aid.



Once they got the hang of print work, they moved to Duckworth Finn for

more TV experience, and produced films such as the Pizza Hut ’Klingons’

spot.



They also created TV work for Lyons Coffee, Liverpool Victoria, the

Independent Television Commission, Daewoo, and Energis, as well as

earning a D&AD silver for a press ad for Dial-a-Cab - a project they

initiated themselves.



Waters says: ’They got hold of every brief and tried their hardest to do

their best on each one. They didn’t let go easily.’



The TV success got them noticed by BMP, which they joined in July

1995.



Two months later their first BMP work on air was the agency’s inaugural

’pork pies’ party political broadcast for the Labour Party. A ton of

work followed, for Schweppes, the Ministry of Sound, Doritos, more

Labour Party creations, Marmite and the Volkswagen Passat launch.



In their office the morning after D&AD, among all the work in progress

there are congratulatory faxes and post-it notes with joke messages from

headhunters and Bill Bernbach.



Outside, party noises are escalating as their achievements are

toasted.



The guests of honour shuffle out and soon the pair move on to the pub

which the agency booked for a day of celebrations.



After a few pints, they are back on form, relaxing with colleagues and

planning the work they want to get through tomorrow to make up for all

this lost time.