What the funniest advertising idea you’ve seen recently?

CC: That Dior Johnny Depp ad for Sauvage in the desert with the wolf. It gets me every time.

IK: One of my favourite recent campaigns is the Progressive work about becoming your parents. It’s funny, and cuts a little close to the bone. One thing I particularly liked was that the spots worked well initially then they introduced a sort of understated coach-facilitator who helped guide people through lessons. It refreshed a great idea in a way that still tapped into the best parts of the core idea.

Dior – Sauvage, The New Elixir

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What website(s) do you use most regularly?

CC: After Gmail probably DnD Beyond. I have a Dungeon Master side hustle I need to stay on top of.

IK: After spending years triangulating between the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, I’ve tried to taper off my constant news intake, but it's not really working. I love reading fiction and listening to audiobooks so I look at for book ideas.

What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?

CC: A new Panasonic Toaster Oven. I think my children would perish without it.

IK: I got a new iPad that I really like, and I can use it as a second monitor when I travel. My son basically usurped my old one.

What product could you not live without?

CC: Either my new MacBook Pro or my Toaster Oven.

IK: I’ve always loved sparkling water/club soda/agua con gas. When I was a kid there was a brand in northern California called Calistoga that was apparently affiliated with a geyser, although I am a little dubious that it actually came from a geyser or spring at all. Recently, I've discovered a brand that’s cleverly called Waterloo.

What’s the best comedy film you’ve seen over the last year?

CC: Paddington 2 or Elf (I have two young kids, so my film-watching is pretty limited lately).

IK: Oooh, tough to commit to just one... I loved The 40-Year-Old Version and Emma (2020). I liked them both for totally different reasons, but enjoyed them both tremendously.

What comedy do you think everyone should have seen?

CC: The Lobster and Step Brothers, because John C Riley is hilarious in both of them.

IK: Coming to America was a seminal film in my childhood. I had it on VHS and watched it til the tape wore out. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s performances were incredible.

What’s your preferred social media platform?

CC: Instagram, because I’m 'basic' like that.

IK: I’m only really on Instagram. It’s pretty wild because, on the explore page, you get a chance to know exactly what the algorithm thinks of you and sometimes seeing what this AI system thinks of you is pretty interesting. Also, because we’re always bidding on jobs and discussing them, the algorithm is constantly confused with new interests I seem to be having, so sometimes I get very bizarre things in my feed.

What’s your favourite TV comedy show?

CC: The Righteous Gemstones. The wave pool baptism, Keefe’s satanic rave, and Judy’s recounting of her Disney wedding are all reasons to watch the show.

IK: The British version of The Office [below]. I love David Brent’s character. There was something endlessly watchable about a character who’s singularly guided by their need to be liked. But, then again, it also makes him hard to watch at times too.

What’s your favourite podcast?

CC: Maintenance Phase. It’s all about weird American health fads and dieting from the last 100 years or so. There’s a really good one about the term 'snake oil' and how it used to actually work, and another episode about the fat substitute Olestra that was used in Pringles and caused 'anal leakage'. I remember that shit all too well.

IK: I love Richard’s Famous Food Podcast. It's amazing. I also love an app called Audm, where audiobook narrators read long-form journalism from great magazines.

What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?

CC: I haven’t been to too many shows or exhibitions recently, but I loved Jannet Cardiff's sound installations. In one of them she recorded each member of a chamber choir separately then assigned each recording to a single speaker so that there was a speaker for each person in the choir. The 20 or so speakers are placed  in a big room. From a distance it sounded like a regular choir but it was amazing to be able to walk up to each speaker and listen to a single person’s voice.

IK: The last museum I visited was in Mexico City, the National Museum of Anthropology. I particularly liked the exhibit about Tenochtitlan.

What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?

CC: When we started we were often discounted because our reel was very diverse; comedy, kids, animals, visual transition stuff, etc. I think we were viewed as a 'jack of all trades, master of none'.  It seemed agencies and clients wanted directors who were really good at one thing: directors who film cars in the snow, or guys who can do really good cheese pulls. Now it seems that being not that good at any one thing is finally acceptable. Phew.

IK: One of the biggest for us has been the shift in emphasis from 30 seconds to 15 seconds. When we started, 15 second spots were such an afterthought that we would be told on the day of the shoot; “By the way, this has to be cut down to a 15 in a direct lift.” Now, 15 seconds are what will be the most-watched versions and the 30's are spoken of more like a long-form extended cut. It has led to some 15's being thought of more as their own thing, not just some super-condensed version of the 30.

If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?

CC: Make it ok to produce shorter treatments.

IK: I feel like advertising tries to do too much sometimes. I wish more advertising just committed to doing one thing in the short time that we have a viewer's attention.

GEICO – Family

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Who or what has most influenced your career?

CC: A dog named Bolt who ate a lot of pasta on a Geico commercial, which directly resulted in us winning the Grand Prix at Cannes.

IK: My aunt is a photographer and used to bring me along for shoots when I was really little. I remember it seemed so tedious and time-consuming. It felt like there were so many details to keep in mind all at once. But, as I got older, all of those steps and minutia didn’t seem so daunting.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

CC: To bock traffic (credit to my daughter).

IK: Hard to say.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.

CC: I once got second place in a local road race called the Jamba Juice 5k and received 365 free Jamba Juice coupons (presumably one for each day of the year). We used these coupons to pay the crew of our first music video for Joanna Newsom. It turned out that the crew was less excited about Jamba Juice as payment than we expected.

IK: I tried out for the role of Max Fischer in Rushmore when I was 17. Apparently, there was some massive search for that role that was so all-encompassing that it found its way to my high school drama teacher in San Francisco. It was the first screenplay I read, and I liked it a lot. I don’t think I did very well in the audition.