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young guns

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Drew Bufalini is the latest young creative to decide that the down economy is as good a time as any to open a shop—especially one that uses the relatively inexpensive labor of college students and recent graduates to pitch itself as "the world's first youth advertising and marketing agency."

Bufalini, 27, a former J. Walter Thompson creative, is the only full-time employee at Creative Front in Detroit. About 12 recent graduates work part-time, along with several dozen students. The shop is also recruiting at local art schools.

Jessica Mumaw, a student at Michigan State University, said if it weren't for the new agency, she'd be looking at low-level agency positions when she graduates in December. At Creative Front, she's an "associate founder" and has a lot more responsibility than at a large shop, she said.

Creative Front's first client is Diagnostics Online, a line of Web-based software products for self-diagnosing depression and other mental-health disorders. The shop is putting together a package to market the program to universities.

According to the group's Web site: "Our vision is vast and authentic. We know how to talk to our demographic better than anyone else. How? We're already inside our heads."