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Zak & Ruan, Creative Advertising Team

4 min, 40 sec read
11:45 AM | 19 November 2015
by Adam Oldfield
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Creative advertising team, Zak & Ruan share with us how they became creative partners and getting experience in the advertising industry.

With a very diverse background, Zak is a copywriter speaking English / Swedish and Cypriot-Greek born in Kuwait, moved to Bahrain and Sweden, then to England for primary school and Cyprus for high school. Ruan is an art director knowing English German and Afrikaans born in South Africa and now lives in Austria.

Why did you both choose an advertising career?

Ruan: For me the thought of going into advertising became clear when I found out the importance technology has at the moment. Advertising is the only area where I can show my hobby as a creative technologist, my degree in graphic design, and my interest in art direction. It’s also the only job that is flexible enough to work at bars and cafés.

"The best piece of advice was 'you’re a smart monkey, but you’re still a monkey.'"

Zak: I chose advertising because I enjoyed history class maybe a bit too much. I used to research so much about propaganda during WW1 & WW2. Even better, I used to translate this into my art classes where I tried to mimic the same style and apply it to current topics. I used to research the influence propaganda had on art for example the Russian constructivist movement. It’s weird to think I was so fanatical about it. Apart from that, my dad worked as a planner in the Middle East and my grandfather was in public relations. I guess the apple never falls far from the tree. Although, I am the first creative.

How was your time at Falmouth studying creative advertising?

We would have not traded it for anything else in the world. Ruan actually studied graphic design and I was in creative advertising. It was during the third year that we would miraculously handle the two courses. It was difficult to create our work so it would fit both criteria but with help from our tutors cross-course collaboration was possible and accepted with certain exceptions for us. Apart from that, getting there and back from London was the biggest pain. Usually a six hour train ride or an eight hour bus ride. However, it was worth it. Sun was shining most of the time.

How did you guys come to be a creative partnership?

We met at university halls where our rooms were opposite each other. Naturally we were forced to be friends. Two years of beer, parties and occasional brainstorms, we finally realised that we had a substantial amount of culture, languages, knowledge of art and copy between us.

"If you have to graduate, don’t do it during a creative review for a masterbrand."

The actual scenario was Zak sitting by a table, pulling his hair out in order to get something coherent and credible for a creative review the next day. I went over to him and found out he was working on BMW. Me, being a huge fanatic of the brand, gave him some insight into the brand and its strong community. Turned out to be really helpful. Simply then and there Zak asked me “Do you want to present this with me?” to which I replied “yeah, sure.” Easy.

From your portfolio, what’s your best piece of work?

Our campaign for ASOS because it really shows the extent digital advertising can go. We live in the YouTube generation. People will research on the internet and talk to online communities before opening a book. Of our own research we found that online tutorials are very respected. Even better, people will attempt unusual things in the comfort of their own room. This could be anywhere from WWE wrestling moves, twerking or even backflips. We used this insight and slapped it on to ASOS and made something incredible.

What have you learnt from your time at Ogilvy?

If you have to graduate, don’t do it during a creative review for a masterbrand. Things happen very quickly, from a brief on Monday, idea by Tuesday, and a fully integrated campaign by Friday. We, unfortunately, had to skip a creative review in order to go back to Falmouth and receive our certificates. It was a shame because we were on a very good track. Also, we found ourselves as the two leading extras in a pizza hut commercial. Furthermore, it was a complete crash course into the deep end of the industry. We were the first creative interns their Unilever department has ever had.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Be patient with HR. Things do actually eventually at some point probably happen. The best piece of advice was ‘you’re a smart monkey, but you’re still a monkey.’

Where do you want to be in five years time?

Settled somewhere after having travelled the globe building our work experience in as many different countries as possible. Both of us are multicultural and we want to exploit this to see as many styles and specialisations each agency has. If we have to give a good guess it would be back in the UK. However, we don’t know what where the journey will take us.

Tell us your best joke?

Pull down your pants.

And finally, if you could share a desk with anyone from the past, present or future, who would it be?

Ruan: Ghandi because I get to eat his share of snacks and food as well.

Zak: Pablo Escobar. I’ve been watching the Netflix series ‘Narcos’ way too much.

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