Jack Nolan and Graham Mills have worked together for 11 years. Their
names, and the longevity of their relationship, might lead you to
imagine two bearded, middle-aged creatives - but both are in their early
30s and Jack is, in fact, a woman.
They have been working at Ogilvy and Mather Direct for 16 months -
their first jobs at a below-the-line agency - and provided a fresh
approach, which is unhampered by creative prejudices. ‘There’s a certain
snobbery about below the line, but it’s just about good ideas,’ Nolan
Both admit they never planned things to happen that way. Having teamed
up while studying for art degrees at Ealing College in 1984, Nolan and
Mills worked for above-the-line agencies, such as Starkey Proops Hardy
Stansfield and Lewis Broadbent Advertising, before going freelance in
1992. Only a chance assignment at O&M Direct changed things, and ‘days
turned into months’, Nolan says.
Mills describes their work as ‘3-D advertising’, as recent projects for
IBM and Bahrain’s Woolwich Guernsey building society have shown. IBM’s
conference mailer to promote the AIX computer management system included
a single juggling ball and the promise: ‘Now you only have to keep your
eye on one ball.’ Meanwhile, homesick expatriates targeted by Woolwich
Guernsey were mailed a tea-bag and the invitation: ‘Drop in for tea and
Even with two-dimensional work, the output has been impressive. A recent
Amex Gold Card mailer to encourage holders to take spare cards used a
hand-written letter from an imaginary sibling on holiday complaining
about losing luggage and missing flights. ‘Any chance of a supplementary
Amex card?’, read the heart-wrenching sign-off.
The pair have already received one award - for the Guernsey Woolwich
campaign. More look certain to follow.