Movers and Shakers

When copywriters Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart arrive at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners today, the San Francisco agency will be their seventh employer in three countries in their five years as a creative team.

That frenetic pace is propelled by a relentless curiosity and ambition. Staying in place makes you too comfortable, says Raillard, 31, the chat tier one and the pair’s “spokesman” (“We speak in the same voice,” he says). “It’s important to keep on learning new things,” notes Raillard (at left above). “To be accomplished as a creative, you have to crack as many categories as you can.” He points to the team’s five Cannes Lions in five different categories, for clients ranging from Pepsi to a dot-com.

In advertising, says Mokart, 34, “you train your brain and compete for awards like athletes. There is exactly the same mood of competition as in sports … except we don’t sweat.”

Even before arriving at the shop, “they’ve got everybody energized,” says Jeff Goodby, agency co-founder and creative director. After meeting staffers, they left the impression they would return with ideas, he says. “They want to work on everything.”

Neither of the two started out as a creative. Mokart’s first job was as an analyst at a French bank. Bored, he got hired as an ac count manager at Euro RSCG, Paris, where Rail lard was a strategic planner. They teamed up, but it was three years before they jumped to the creative side.

The two have developed a philosophy based on simple visual messages. “When we conceive a commercial, we like to imagine we are talking to a Chinese kid. If you talk to a child, you’re talking to everybody,” says Raillard.

After stints at Paris shops TBWA, BBDP, Publicis and Leo Burnett, the pair landed at CLM BBDO as creative directors. There, they won Lions for a Brandt campaign in which people surreptitiously destroy their appliances, an spot with bidders vying to get rescued from a burning building and a Pepsi spoof of Dead Poets Society. At Bartle Bogle Heg arty in London, which they joined in April 2001, their Xbox work won gold and bronze Lions.

“Their work commended them to me,” says BBH creative director John O’Keefe. “Short of coming in with 666 stamped on their heads, they were going to get the job.”

To Goodby, they represent a fresh perspective—less biased by established prejudices about what works and what doesn’t—both for existing accounts and a potential foray into the global market. Rather than “opening an office in some cool European capital,” he says, the shop is bringing in “creative people who understand that market and are dedicated to it, but they don’t have to be there.”

“They have a boundless openness to the world that is really infectious,” Goodby adds. “That’s the most important thing coming here with them.”

Raillard and Mokart, meanwhile, are eager to immerse themselves in American culture, from sports teams to Las Vegas. “What you consider clichés,” Raillard says.

They’re already fans of American-style humor, Raillard says, praising its accessibility—”much better than [Brit ish humor] because it dares to be stupid.” They cite director Spike Jonze and Secret Weapon Marketing’s Dick Sittig as Americans whose work they like.

As for the team’s wanderlust, Goodby claims he’s not worried. “Creative people move around a lot if they’re good,” he says. “When they leave, I think of it as a baseball team—you do your best with the personnel you’ve got.”

Raillard and Mokart can’t guarantee they’ll settle down. But, says Raillard, “The West Coast is interesting for us because it is so different—Europe has such a heavy history. We have the feeling America is going to be exciting for a long time.”