“I never really thought of advertising as a career path, purely because I didn’t know it was a career path. And then when I looked further into it, I realised it was all of my pet interests and skills combined,” says Keilan Grant – one half of Ben & Keilan, a copywriting and art direction duo.
Both studied Creative Advertising at Falmouth University, teaming up in their final year after the pair, who were housemates at the time, realised they were on the same page in terms of style and ambition. Parmenter says he was drawn to advertising largely because of its speed, describing it as a “constantly changing industry”.
Both Parmenter and Grant say their style has changed significantly over the course of their degree. Currently, their portfolio is filled with playful work – from a campaign that challenges passersby to snap on their Marigolds and touch disgusting things to an ‘Un-twat the Cat’ idea for Felix – which is a far cry from their early days at uni. “When we first joined Falmouth, we felt like we had to imitate what was happening already, and what we were seeing already in the world,” Grant explains.
“I was a big fan of creative writing, and I loved, when I was doing research into the course, the fact that you could sell something in a few words. I loved the idea of refining something down, so it was natural for me to go into the copywriter role.”
“You never know what’s going to be around the corner,” he says. “I just like the idea of having seconds to capture someone’s attention, and I think I love the buzz. People’s attention spans are shortening, so it’s a creative challenge, and we love that.
Parmenter agrees, saying, “We liked having a laugh with our work, especially when we were making student work, by not putting any constraint on ourselves and having fun with it. When you’re having fun, the work’s fun, and people can see that.”
Grant also enjoys copywriting, but says the visual side of things has always been foremost in his mind. “When I think of ideas, or any part of life, it’s always more of a visual aesthetic or colour in my head. Whenever I think of an ad, it’s almost like I can clearly just see it like a photograph in my head.”
And the duo’s approach is paying off. Grant and Parmenter won a D&AD New Blood Award for their Top the Drop Top Trumps brief, and have just landed themselves their first junior creative roles at Iris Worldwide, following a three-month placement there.
“So when we were creating spec work it was very moodboardy and very worthy messaging. The more we went along in our journey, especially in the last year when we’d partnered up, it was like, we’re actually getting a bit sick and tired of the way things are at the moment.
“There’s been a few years where brands have got onto social messaging, and they should, and it’s good, but it’s almost oversaturated now. Actually, maybe we want to go more the David Trott way of thinking – which is either make them cry or make them smile.”