26 Rising Talents Helping Reshape the Agency Landscape

These emerging talents represent a new generation on Adweek's Creative 100 for 2020

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Creativity, long divided by the agency world into the binary disciplines of art and copy, is today a blurred amalgam of technology, timing, strategy, calculated risk and social responsibility—all brought together by a meticulous commitment to craft. Each day, marketers find themselves surrounded by an infinite landscape of media options, and the creatives below have proven to be some of the best at navigating these new horizons.

Jeff Hodgson and Eli Ferrer
Creative directors, Gut
Based in: Miami

Recent work: Popeyes’ “Open Sunday” campaign marking the return of its chicken sandwich. “Popeyes’ main chicken sandwich competitor happens to be closed on Sundays, and Popeyes is open,” Hodgson says. “What better day to relaunch the sandwich? So, with a well-placed sticker on a road sign, we let everyone know that Popeyes is open and would be selling their sandwich again—on Sunday.”

Other work: “Bagel That” for Philadelphia Cream Cheese. “We needed to find a way to sell more cream cheese by selling more bagels,” Ferrer says. “So we asked ourselves what if everything could be a bagel? So we launched Bagel That, a hole-punching machine that turned anything into a bagel. The device sold out on Amazon.”

Advice for rising creatives: “Bring some of yourself into projects,” Hodgson says. “There’s a reason you’re the one creating the idea, so let your personality be part of it.”

Larry Gordon
Creative director, Laundry Service
Based in: New York

Recent work: Jordan Brand’s live Instagram responses to ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary series centered on Michael Jordan. “It’s the brand’s first time ever doing a truly live content series, and we’ve had some really memorable moments,” says Gordon, “like Teyana Taylor recapping her home birth and Carmelo Anthony telling stories about MJ reprimanding him via text message.”

On living in Harlem: “Growing up, movies like Harlem Nights and Sugar Hill inspired me. Harlem just felt like it should be home,” he says. “Spike Lee is also a huge influence, so I hope he forgives me for not living in Brooklyn with the rest of the creatives.”

Advice for rising creatives: “Bring your whole, entire, authentic self to work. I mean it,” Gordon says. “Come in that door and be who you truly are. Because you are already super dope. So don’t hide it, don’t mask it and don’t ever tone it down.”

Page Jensen-Slattengren
Senior copywriter, The Martin Agency
Based in: Richmond, Va.

Recent work: “Every Bod” for Hanes. “We noticed [men’s apparel] was really lacking in messages of body positivity and diversity—a stark contrast to the body confidence we were seeing in women’s underwear and beauty marketing,” Jensen-Slattengren explains. “We wanted to start a cultural movement to get men to love their bodies. We got told no—a lot—but we persevered, and thanks to an amazing team and brave clients, we created a musical with over 100 men singing in the streets in their underwear.”

On inclusive casting: “Representation in advertising is so much more than just casting women or POC in a 30-second spot. We need to champion the stories and lift the voices of people who are marginalized in mainstream media,” she says. “And that means hiring, casting, working with and promoting people in the disability community, LGBTQ, women and diversity in age and ethnicity.”

Personal mantra: “Anything you can do,” Jensen-Slattengren says, “I can do bleeding.”

Raphael Franzini
Creative director, The Community
Based in: Miami

Recent work: “Our executive director of creative technology and innovation, Chris Neff, and I partnered to develop Bridge Forecast, an app to help drivers avoid the traffic caused by drawbridges. This system is now in the process of becoming a permanent service with the City of Miami,” Franzini says. “Plus, the project led to the creation of a new discipline at The Community, Project Greenhouse, focused on generating ideas that link brands to startups under the power of purpose.”

Other work: “‘Best for a Good Reason’ for Verizon. We showcased the true intention behind everything Verizon engineers do through 50-plus videos over the course of a year,” he says.

On defying expectations: “People hate ads—until they see one they like,” Franzini says. “I strive to create stuff the audience can relate to, enjoy or even use so that, ultimately, they know it’s an ad but don’t feel like they’re being advertised to.”

Rony Castor and Anthony O’Neill
Associate creative directors, Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Based in: San Francisco

Rony Castor and Anthony O’Neill

Recent work: “Not a Gun” for Courageous Conversation Global Foundation. “It’s a campaign that deals with police brutality against Black people. As Black men, it’s close to our hearts and will hopefully spark change,” O’Neill says. “Despite having a nonexistent budget, the entire team was all in—from the agency partners on down, the team made it great.”

This story first appeared in the June 8, 2020, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."