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"Matt and Yama are tremendous young talents. I had the pleasure to work with them and was impressed with their work ethic. They put everything into everything they do. With a smile. They also contributed to our most high profile campaign to date."
Laurent Simon (Chief Creative Officer)
WE INTERVIEWED OURSELVES, SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO!
So, who are you anyway?
In case the words at the top didn’t give it away, we’re Yama & Matt. One of us is a cinema-going football fan from Afghanistan; the other is a Devonshire metalhead copywriter. Top marks for guessing which is which.
How’d you end up in advertising?
Well, we never went to ad school. We met through JOLT Academy, a diversity scheme that brought people from different backgrounds into the industry. It gave us a week-long crash course in advertising and then placed us at a bunch of London agencies. We’ve learnt pretty much everything on the job.
What agencies have put up with you so far?
Before we joined VaynerMedia, we did a 9-month stint at VMLY&R London. And before that we did placements at all these ...
Wow! You've probably worked on loads of brands then?
Yep. We’ve made creative work for Ford, TUI, Subway, Cisco, Wren Kitchens, Adidas, Department For Transport … Feel free to stop us at any time.
Won any awards?
Just won a Wood Pencil at the D&AD Awards 2020! It was for our work on Pint Block. Considering how crap the year has been (cough cough, Covid) this piece of news definitely lifted our spirits!
Yama: Football has always been my passion. I love watching it. I love playing it. I love talking about it. I also like all manner of movies and documentaries, especially the political kind. I like a good moan at the Tories.
Matt: As for me, I go to rock and metal concerts all the time – when we’re not in lockdown of course! Love a bit of craft beer too. Not crazy about Brewdog’s advertising, but they make a killer IPA.
The first thing you do when you get to work is ...
Yama: Drink coffee!
Matt: Make Yama’s coffee.
What are your biggest achievements outside of work?
Yama: I raised £400 when I did a tandem skydive for Cancer Research UK. Passing my driving test first time. And I once managed to stay awake for 62 hours straight at uni. I don't recommend it.
Matt: I’ve completed two half marathons. But my biggest achievement has to be a ten-minute stand up act I wrote and performed at university. It’s the most daunting thing I’ve attempted. But taking the piss out of my own farmer accent makes for great material.
Name the thing you like most about your partner.
Yama: I love how dedicated he is to succeeding. His level of dedication has definitely rubbed off on me.
Matt: Yama’s way of thinking, for sure. It’s unlike any other creative I know and when it comes to conceptual briefs, I wouldn’t have anyone else by my side.
Name something you DON’T like about him
Yama: He always need the work to be perfect. Emphasis on 'always!'
Matt: I zone out whenever he mentions football. And he’s constantly giggling at things he finds way too funny. Like ‘Banana Hammock.’
Of all the creative industries you could have worked in, you chose advertising. Explain yourself!
Honestly, it was never an industry we intended to go into. Before we teamed up, we were both craving something more creative, but never considered advertising until we came across JOLT. But now that we’ve spent two years as a team, we absolutely love it. You literally get paid to come up with ideas. It doesn’t get better than that!
What ads make you go, "F**k, I wish I made that!"
Ogilvy’s TV spot for Sipsmith Gin is a sheer masterclass in every way. The stop motion, the script, the voice acting – if only we could have been on that set.
What ad makes you go, "F**k, that was awful!"
Heineken did this horrific ad (it’s since been banned) where they promoted low-alcohol beer by having a bartender slide it past a row of black people and into the hands of a white woman. The end line was, ‘Sometimes, lighter is better.’ It's the most cringeworthy thing we’ve ever seen.
If you weren't a creative, what would you be?
Yama: A professional footballer player. Obviously in the Liverpool team alongside Virgil van Dijk.
Matt: Probably an author, as I love writing so much. I wouldn’t mind being in a band either. But I’d need a few singing lessons first!
What's the hardest thing you've ever overcome?
Yama: Seeking help for depression. Admitting you suffer from it is the hardest step. Boy, that took a dark turn …
Matt: Believing in myself after two years of pulling pints and serving tables. When you’re pursuing a dream and getting nowhere, it really knocks your confidence. But I’m glad I persevered, or I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? And don't say, “Barbados.”
Obviously, we want to be shaking hands at Cannes Festival and picking up awards. And we’re passionate about becoming a midweight/senior team in one of London’s best agencies. One with a good mix of clients and a great culture. Having said that, we’re open to experiencing agencies outside the UK too. Know any in Barbados?
And lastly, if you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would you NEED to have with you.
Nothing useful please ...
Yama: Sun Tsu’s ‘Art of War’, even though I’m not one for reading books. A football (which I’d call Wilson). And a Banana Hammock, just to annoy Matt.
Matt: A crate of craft beer, my CD collection (yes, I still buy CDs) and a Golden Retriever, as I’ve always wanted a dog. If you have any puppies lying around, please DM me!