VMLY&R hires BBH creative duo behind Audi 'Clowns'

Doug Fridlund and Mikael Alcock join as part of Laurent Simon's bid to put VMLY&R on map in London.

VMLY&R: Alcock and Fridlund
VMLY&R: Alcock and Fridlund

VMLY&R London has hired Doug Fridlund and Mikael Alcock, the creative duo behind Bartle Bogle Hegarty London’s lauded "Clowns" ad for Audi.

Laurent Simon, the chief creative officer who joined VMLY&R from BBC Creative at the end of last year, is building up the creative department as the agency attempts to put itself on the map creatively in the UK.

Fridlund and Alcock wrote and art directed respectively "Clowns", which was one of 2017’s most effective campaigns and won more than 30 awards globally, including five Cannes Lions and an IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix. The work was named one of the top film ads of the decade by Campaign.

As well as handling the Volkswagen brand, the duo worked on Absolut, Virgin Media and Weetabix during their five-year stint at BBH. They secured jobs at BBH after a placement at the agency in 2014, following placements at Adam & Eve/DDB, WCRS (now Engine), Lucky Generals and Mother.

Fridlund and Alcock met in 2012 on the Watford advertising course. Fridlund, originally from Sweden, speaks several languages, including Japanese. Alcock, who is from Finland, has a background in fine art and studied sculpture and special effects.

Simon said: "Talents like M&D come few and far between. Great track record. Work that has scale and impact. And they're good people. Greatness awaits."

WPP merged its agency networks VML and Y&R in 2018 and hired former Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO group chairman Justin Pahl to run the London office. Pahl told Campaign last year that creating "momentum", driving greater engagement with clients and delivering better work were the agency's priorities for 2020.