How did you meet and how long have you worked together
Ben: Well, it’s a classic relationship origin story. It was a cold bitter day in February of 2016…
Myles: Here we go. We met at a bar. Organized by a recruiter.
Ben: We convened over warm lobster rolls and dark ale.
Myles: More like Ben plied me with cheap booze, and then somehow convinced me to attend the agency’s holiday party. The details are fuzzy, but I had apparently signed a contract.
Ben: It was a match made in heaven, and we haven’t looked back since.
Myles: The contract was binding, and I can’t get out for a few years yet.
How would you describe relationship between you two? In what ways has the dynamic changed since you first began working together?
Myles: Think of the perfect buddy-comedy duo, and then understand it’s nothing like that.
Ben: Sometimes we’ll get into it over a direction and our teams will tell us it’s like Mom and Dad fighting.
Myles: It’s not really fighting when I’m always right, and I’m simply giving Ben time to come around.
Ben: The key is, never give up because Myles usually will.
Myles: I’m not a fan of nagging. But in all honesty, we know and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We’re able to capitalize on the former and cover for the latter. So, the more we work together, the faster we work to only our strengths.
Tell us about the first campaign you’ve worked on as a duo.
Ben: It was this idea for JetBlue called “Flybabies.”
Myles: My most hated thing about flying is crying babies.
Ben: Having just become a Dad, my worst fear was my kid crying on a flight.
Myles: The idea was how can we make the most hated thing when flying the most loved thing? So, we rewarded passengers with free flights if a baby cried on the plane.
Ben: We did it for Mother’s Day, so I could at least tell my wife I got her an ad campaign if I screwed up all the other gifts.
Myles: Which he did.
Do you have a favorite campaign you’ve worked on together? What makes it special?
Ben: We love all our children.
Myles: Agreed, but if we had to pick one, it would probably be the “Be a Masshole” campaign that advocated for Transgender rights during the 2018 midterm elections.
Ben: We have a lot of family and friends in the LGBTQ community. We also have a lot of family and friends that are “massholes.” It was about getting both groups to see their commonalities and have one support the other at the ballot box.
Myles: At first we wanted to shoot it all over Boston, but budget restricted us. So, two days before the shoot we rewrote the script to take place in one bar. Scaling it down ended up making it that much more authentic and impactful. The project died pretty much every day, but we always found a way to keep it going.
Ben: When it launched we were nervous about what the reaction would be because of all the swearing. And then we started getting emails from parents with Transgender kids, and they were so thankful someone was finally saying all the things they were thinking and wanted to say, but in a way the blissfully ignorant would understand.
Myles: We spend all day solving business problems, and selling stuff. So, it’s nice to do some good with our creative muscles.
What has been the hardest part of working together? How do you resolve creative conflicts?
Myles: The hardest part of creative process is explaining what’s in your head and making sure it appears the same way in someone else’s. So, we can be quick to disagree sometimes merely because the picture we’ve painted is different.
Ben: But if there is a disagreement over ideas we go downstairs to the bar, grab a beer, and chat it out. That was pre-Covid. Now, we just get on the phone and talk it out, or do it over texts.
Myles: I’ve been known to use the “eye roll” emoji a lot. And to be clear, I’ll still grab a beer for it.
Ben: If things get really heated, I’ll send a dog GIF and that usually breaks the tension—Myles loves dogs.
Myles: This is actually true.
Is there any advice you’d give to young creatives looking for a partner, or a duo just getting their start?
Myles: When you first meet a potential partner, try not to talk about advertising, at all. Try and cover your passions, movies you like, how you relax, music, art, food, how you like to work, etc. If you jibe on a lot of those things, then talk advertising if you must.
Ben: And start with someone who is much better at something than you are, and then use it to both of your advantages. Like for instance, Myles is a Kiwi and has this really charming accent. Whenever we need to have a hard conversation with a client, I just ask him to do it because it comes off much better from him.
Myles: He just does that because he likes the way I pronounce “deck” in front of clients.
Do you have a dream account that you haven’t had the opportunity to work on?
Myles: The Mars tourism campaign once the RFP goes out.
Ben: I think Skim Milk is flying under the radar and you could do something surprising.
Myles: Jokes aside, I’ve always wanted to write ideas for my beloved All Blacks.
Ben: For me it’s less about the account and more about the opportunity. I would rather we do something brilliant for a brand people have written off, than something mediocre on a supposedly prestigious brand. We like the underdogs. Myles just makes an exception when it comes to rugby.
How has the pandemic impacted working with your partner? Do you have any creative tips on how to collaborate when you’re working from home?
Ben: Texting internet memes have been a great source of concepting inspiration for us.
Myles: Ben has a tendency to text ideas at all hours of the night. Maybe don’t do that.
Ben: Using the “laugh” emoji or the “thumbs up” emoji to respond to an idea is way more encouraging than the “eye roll” emoji.