FACES TO WATCH - 2001: They're young, hot and hungry and they're working very hard at an agency near you. Matthew Cowen profiles the new wave of adland stars

It's that time of year again. Campaign has been scouring the corridors of power to reveal the young go-getters, all under 30, who are establishing themselves as crucial fixtures at a company near you.

It's that time of year again. Campaign has been scouring the corridors of power to reveal the young go-getters, all under 30, who are establishing themselves as crucial fixtures at a company near you.

Only this time it's different. Campaign's expanded Faces to Watch for 2001 is crossing the fence to bring you shooting stars from the client world, as well as those busily making an impact in the fields of direct marketing, media agencies and new-media operations. What's more, we've been tracking last year's young turks to reveal who took that lucrative job further up the agency ladder and who opted for loyalty over sign-up fees.

The growing opportunity for creativity in new sectors of the industry is attracting young talent from an increasingly diverse background, and encouraging young stars to follow less conventional career paths than their chairmen and chief executives probably took when first making their way.

Although several of this year's starlets have emerged from the renowned Watford College advertising course, a similar number have been making waves on the back of graduate degrees in politics or anthropology, or after finding a place at the bottom of the industry ladder and working their way up.

In the same way, adventurous career moves are no longer restricted to media account directors jumping over to newspapers, magazines or TV. By their late 20s, a promising young creative or planner could already have plied his or her trade in, say, advertising, DM and new media - and be all the more sought after as a result.

Many hitherto ignored areas are becoming increasingly attractive to the young and the gifted, but one more than ever stands out in this year's survey. The opportunity for impact-making creative in direct marketing is attracting an increasing number of highly rated young folk, who've previously spent most of their time above the line. At a time when Michael Jones' Saab work can become the basis for a cinema campaign and Alphabet under-30 creative directors Barney Cockerell and Nick Platt are already too established to qualify as Faces to Watch, who can disagree with them?

So, with the headhunters' notebooks are at the ready, we present the risk-taking, imagination-using, Lemsip-drinking leaders of 21st century adland.

JAMIE LABATE, 26 - The Mail on Sunday

Perhaps the greatest testament to Labate's drive and talent is that he made enough of an impact at Dennis Publishing's tiny newsletter, The Week, to be poached by the mighty Associated Newspapers. It's certainly rare for a salesman at a publication so small to attract the attention of a national newspaper.

'We asked around the industry and some of the big agencies came back and said that he's really good at what he does,' Sue Dear, the display advertising director for The Mail on Sunday, who hired Labate as an agency sales executive in November, says. 'He's stepped up a league working on a national newspaper, but you just get an intuition about somebody. He could be a star of the future.' Labate's agency contacts certainly concur. 'He's got tremendous enthusiasm and tenacity,' Tim Irwin, BJK&E's managing director, says.


'We were a bit sad to lose him,' Jim Marshall, MediaVest's chairman, says. And well he might be. MediaVest had the foresight to sponsor Hardisty through an MA in creative and media enterprises at Warwick University after he produced award-winning qualitative research for the agency on media consumption. He'd barely returned to full-time work when Naked swooped.

'He's not classically trained, which is why we found him interesting,' John Harlow, Naked's founder , who hired Hardisty in October, says. Hardisty runs his own folkdevil.com website, which analyses cultural trends, and talks of 'vibeing' with various interesting types. 'His interest is popular culture,' Harlow says. 'He's the sort who could be the future of the industry.'

TRACY BLACHER, 29 - Microsoft

Blacher has been a driving force behind establishing the likes of Ali G and Trigger Happy TV's Dom Joly as the epitome of cutting edge TV in the UK. Small wonder that Channel 4's marketing manager for entertainment programmes was snapped up by Bill Gates' army to become the marketing manager for content and commerce last March. Blacher began life in PR, working on the launch of Channel 5, before jumping to Channel 4 to mastermind the success of US imports such as Sex in the City. Now her remit covers everything from Madonna's recent webcast to the relaunch of MSN shopping. 'She's bright, committed and enthusiastic,' Michaelides & Bednash's partner Matt Andrews says.

LAURIE SMITH, 21 and MATT PAM, 22 - Alphabet Advertising

The copywriter Smith and the art director Pam joined Alphabet last December. This is their first full-time post following a placement at TBWA/London, where they worked on executions for clients including French Connection. The creative duo were Best Portfolio winners at the D&AD New Blood exhibition and won an award at the D&AD Student Awards. They are producing work for e-media-c (a new-media venture led by the Avengers star Gareth Hunt) and Claims Direct. The pair joined Alphabet to work at an upcoming agency where, under the creative directors, Nick Platt and Barney Cockerell, they are involved in the creative process from start to finish. Trevor Beattie, the creative director at TBWA/London, said: 'They're the best young creative team in London by a mile. You have to have people who think differently and look for a different point of view. You want people who will change things.'


Take one English graduate (Hails) and one Psychology graduate (Campbell), mix them together at the Watford College advertising course and, before you know it, you've got a promising young creative team. According to Al Young, the agency's joint creative director, their academic background is a major part of their appeal. 'Their academic record reflects how they approach their work,' he says. St Luke's snapped up the pair from Watford in 1996, but their real impact has been over the past 12 months. Both the 'pause live TV' launch campaign for TiVo and the 'advice for life' work for Woman and Woman's Own have won plaudits across the industry.

DANNY JOSEPHS, 28 - Ogilvy & Mather

'He's one of the brightest account directors we've ever had and we were gutted to lose him,' TBWA/London's chief operating officer, Neil Christie, says of Josephs, who was spirited away from the agency to become an O&M business director in October. 'He's passionate about creativity but conscious of the client's business context and I'm happy to recommend him as a face to watch at Ogilvy because we'd be top of the list to poach him back ourselves.' Josephs left Leeds University in 1994 with a degree in French and management studies and worked his way up from Bates Dorland's despatch office to a position working on the Safeways account, before jumping to Simons Palmer in 1996. 'I've only been working with him for three months but his strategic thinking is good and his creative passion is strong,' the marketing manager for Lucozade Energy, Helen Gorman, says.


Firmly following BMP's tradition of home-grown talent, Morton joined the agency as a graduate trainee in 1996. Since then, he has established himself as a planner keen to exploit new technologies, particularly digital TV. A first in politics from Bristol University set him up for his initial work on Labour's 1997 election campaign and he has since established himself as a planner on the Reuters and National Dairy Council business. He's also found time to take a pop at TV stardom. 'I don't know whether being a Weakest Link finalist qualifies him for advertising,' the National Dairy Council's Andrew Ovens says. 'But Tom is a very talented planner who has been instrumental in developing our 'the white stuff' campaign. Despite being relatively young, he never ceases to amaze me.'

GERRY BOYLE, 29 - Zenith

Say you're a strategic planner out to make an impact in the media industry.

Is the best course of action to get yourself poached by a strategy hotshop or to dedicate yourself to transforming the planning reputation of a giant buying house? Boyle has found time to do both. After jumping from Leo Burnett to Michaelides & Bednash, he joined Zenith as its communications director in August 1999, before being switched to managing partner and head of strategic planning after the departure of Rosemary Gorman.

'He has sharpened up our planning proposition in the past year and a bit and that's why we have been more successful in that area than at any time before,' Zenith's managing director, Simon Marquis, says.


A degree in social anthropology may not sound like the standard background for a successful planner, but it doesn't seem to have hindered Saunders. As a graduate trainee at WCRS he wrote an MBA thesis on advertising in the information age that Stephen Woodford, the WCRS chief executive, describes as 'very influential in terms of the agency's future strategy'.

Saunders worked on the Orange account throughout WCRS' years with the business and established his own reputation within the telecoms sector through his 1998 IPA Effectiveness paper on the campaign. 'He has an extraordinarily visionary and strategic brain,' Woodford says.

MICHAEL JONES, 27 - Lowe Direct

Jones joined Lowe Direct two years ago from Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray. Working with the copywriter Simon Watts, he has won ten awards in two years, including a Caple's silver for Saab and a Campaign Direct award, also for Saab. Jones was also a finalist in the best art director category at the Creative Innovation Awards. During his time at Barraclough Hall, working with the copywriter Rik Haslam, he won awards for Thomas Cook work and also produced creative for Volkswagen, AA and Barclaycard. Haslam, now the creative director at Redwood New Media, says: 'Straightaway it was obvious that Michael was the most creative person I had ever come across. He's determined, has an eye for detail and is fanatical about his craft skills. He always satisfies client expectation but refuses to give in to the easy option.'

JONATHAN THAKE, 27 and LEE TAN, 28 - HHCL & Partners

Thake and Tan had a dream start for a pair of unconventional creatives, landing a placement at the Dutch hot shop KesselsKramer, followed by a stint freelancing at Mother before joining HHCL two years ago. The last year has seen them produce a series of cutting- edge executions including the Tango 'commentator' spot, King Pot Noodle's 'big Dave' ad and a 'too much sex' campaign for Molson Export that contributed to a dramatic turnaround in the Canadian brewers sales. 'Whenever they present work to me I feel relaxed,' the HHCL creative director, Alan Young, says. 'I know there will always be at least one idea that answers the brief brilliantly. They are the best young team I have ever run into.'


Wilsher got into advertising the hard way - and seems to be reaping the rewards. Rather than race off to the careers office after finishing her English degree at UEA, she opted to travel around the world, missed the graduate milk round and, on her return, found herself hunting around agencies for typing work. Instead, she found an account executive spot at BBDO's through-the-line agency McBains and, in just over two years, had made the jump to Lowes as an account manager. She was poached by Fallon in 1999 and now effectively runs the Starbucks and Umbro accounts, as well as working on Skoda, Campaign's Campaign of the Year for 2000. 'It wouldn't surprise me if she ended up running an agency,' the Fallon managing director, Robert Senior, says.

MARK CRIDGE, 27 - Glue Media

Cridge trained as an architect before abandoning bricks and mortar for the dotcom revolution in 1994. He moved to the Birmingham-based new-media agency TW2.com before joining the new-media creative clutch at Modem Media, building up the department as a senior art director alongside Stephen Ackers. Cridge made his reputation working on the Sony PlayStation and Lynx accounts before becoming the creative director of Deepgroup's online creative agency, Glue, in November 1999. Last year brought three nominations at the London International Awards for the agency's Virgin Trains work and the chances are that Tango, Virgin Money and Thomas Cook will bring more gongs in the near future. 'He's certainly one of the strongest people we have,' Deepgroup's chief executive, Gary Lockton, says.

GRANT MILLAR, 29 - British Telecom

Millar has been credited with transforming BT's attitude towards media strategy. It's an achievement that would be impressive in a man of 50, let alone in one still under 30. 'Before he joined, BT tended to think about media last and he's really helped change that,' the company's director of marketing services, Tim Evans, says. 'He's made it much more of a strategic agenda item.' A former Haymarket sales executive, Millar spent three years at MediaVest before becoming BT's media strategy manager in October 1998.

Since then, he has reorganised the company's new-media arrangements and developed cross-portfolio deals with the likes of Emap and the Financial Times. 'He's a whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm,' Jonathan Durden, New PHD's managing partner, says.

CAROLINE PAY, 25 - Mother

Caroline was another beneficiary of KesselsKramer's interest in UK creatives, finding herself whisked off to a three-month placement at the Dutch agency three-quarters of the way into her Watford College advertising course.

Since returning to the UK to work for Mother two years ago, she has made her biggest mark through her early championing of the agency's Finlandia Vodka Source campaign. Pay, and partner Kim Gehrig, also found time to score a Campaign Pick of the Week with their psychedelic Magic FM spot for Emap. 'I remember Caroline's book was like a planners,' says the Mother partner Mark Waites. 'She had great strategy.'


Bjurman and Dufils teamed up at Stockholm's Beckmans School of Design in 1996 before arriving at Mother two years ago. They have since produced the Pick of the Week 'Harvey and Hibby' executions for Harvey Nichols and the D&AD's 2000 Call for Entries. 'The Swedes train people differently,' Mark Waites says. 'Their Harvey Nichols stuff is just beautifully finessed.'

FACES WE WATCHED IN 2000 - by Jenny Watts


Potts and Jex are still busy at Fallon, where they produced the agency's Starbucks, Timex and Radio One work last year. They won a silver at the Creative Circle for Timex and Starbucks, a bronze at the One Show and a silver in the Campaign Press Awards, among other awards.


Andrews still works at FCA! on the Wales Tourist Board business and the New Deal for Lone Parents account. He is involved in the agency's account for Akamai, a web service that speeds up internet connection.

GAVIN DICKINSON at The Mail on Sunday

Dickinson is still a rep at The Mail on Sunday, and proved his prowess by winning the company's 'Strategic Salesperson of the Year' award last year. He was also the paper's representative at the Media Business Course in Brighton.


Tudor and Turner continued to impress at Lowe Lintas last year, creating campaigns including the much admired 'black beauty' Weetabix spot and the Reebok bouncing beer belly. They were promoted to board directors in December.


Griffin continued at Rocket until July, when he was lured over to Sky to become the media manager for the broadcasting giant. The swap client-side sees Griffin responsible for media and brand communications in consumer marketing.


As the client service director at HHCL, Howarth has continued to develop his management skills and is known for producing often surprising communication solutions. He is also seen as one of the best presenters of creative work in the agency.


In true BMP style, Busk is still at the agency, honing his account director skills on Volkswagen. However, Busk has added the agency's Nikon account to his portfolio after being responsible for running and winning the pitch.


Crawford has remained at BMP DDB and over the last year he has continued working on the British Gas account. He no longer works on the Budweiser account and has moved on to the agency's COI business.


Magdalinski has gone on to take upmystreet.com forward over this year. Undeterred by turbulent dotcom fortunes, the company raised pounds 12 million funding in March and has since grown from ten to 44 staff. The site launched a classified service and was taken on to the Open platform. Upmystreet was also the first site to publish the Acorn classifications to consumers online.


Blackett is still MediaCom TMB's most glamourous employee and, over the past year, the board director has continued working on the Audi and Greene King accounts. She has also been instrumental in helping the agency to win the RBS and COI accounts last year. Blackett was the youngest board director that the agency has ever had.


Meredith swapped the job of account director to become a marketing director at Leagas Delaney in March. However, she was to join the swelling ranks at HHCL & Partners in October. Not having had long to establish herself there, Meredith is now the account director on Egg, and will be moving on to other accounts shortly.


Gregor had something of an eclectic year in 2000. Leaving Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters soon after last year's feature, he worked at Fallon for four months. However, after becoming interested in interactive television, Gregor took on the job of editor of interactive content at TWi/Now, where he produces and directs interactive shoots.


Gamble and Labett left Circus in May to head 2.1 at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, an internet initiative that operates on both existing Rainey Kelly clients and new business. As creative directors of 2.1, they have been instrumental in its development. They are in the D&AD annual for work on the New Blood initiative, done for D&AD while at Circus.