Taxidermy and fiddling aren't the most likely hobbies for young advertising creatives, but no one said Ballard, 24, and Ambrose, 27, are ordinary. The two have already taken home a bronze Lion this year for their "Fair Enough" American Legacy Foundation "Truth" campaign, which shows tobacco executives in a sitcom-like setting. They've also created Virgin Atlantic print and a global TV spot for the Miami shop's recently resigned Volkswagen Mini account.
They are a "go-to" team at the agency, says executive creative director and partner Alex Bogusky, adding that the pair readily tops the list of teams the creative directors ask for. "Pretty much without fail, they will contribute something," he says. "Some people come up with amazing stuff, but it's spotty. These guys are really solid—they hit a lot of doubles and triples, and some home runs, too."
The work that stands out the most for Bogusky is the 13-spot "Fair Enough" sitcom-style series. "I love that work. It really had a fresh voice unique for 'Truth,'" he says. "We were kind of nervous about it. It was going into a new area, and we weren't sure what it was going to feel like. That's a fairly big deal. It's a lot of responsibility for a young team."
Ballard and Ambrose are both from Texas and attended the University of Texas school of advertising, but they didn't know each other until they started working at CP+B. Ballard was hired as a copywriter shortly after graduation in 2003. And Ambrose, who graduated in 2000, started working in the agency's studio in 2002 and was named art director seven months later. They're currently working on another round of antismoking ads and on Compass Bank and Virgin."We both have a weird sense of humor," says Ballard. "We have a lot of fun together; that's the most important thing in a partnership."
Oh, and as for those hobbies: Ambrose was schooled in taxidermy by his grandfather, and Ballard plays the fiddle in CP+B's house band, Ironic Trucker Hat. But neither have much time for them these days, with their typical 80-hour work week. "At this place, everything is by the seat of your pants, and that's OK," says Ambrose. "So long as you're willing to work hard, it's going to turn out fine."