Matt Roach & David Lawrie are widely regarded as ‘The Chuck Norrises of Ideas’.
In 2005, they had an idea so powerful, it caused Hurricane Katrina.
Their posters are so eye-catching, blind people who pass them regain their sight.
Their radio ads are so vivid, you can smell them.
In school, Matt’s story ‘What I Did on the Weekend’ won a Pulitzer Prize, while Dave invented a new colour.
They later attended the University for the Creative Arts, where the tutors studied them.
At below-the-line agency BD Network, their ideas were often below, above, through, inside and two decades ahead of the line all at once.
At digital agency Profero, they made a banner ad that crashed the internet in 24 countries.
At M&C Saatchi, they created a campaign so integrated, it achieved consciousness.
Since joining Anomaly in 2015, Matt & Dave have been redefining the zeitgeist with work for Cancer Research UK, LEGO and Freeview, and have declined a knighthood.
For the story of The Duo, read on...
THE EPIC HISTORY OF MATT & DAVE
We first meet in Tavistock College, aged eleven. We hate each other.
We start hanging out with a mutual friend and bond over wholesome activities like making homemade napalm and mountain-boarding into gorse bushes.
Decide to form a rock band. We don't know any drummers so we bully our only musically talented friend – a viola player – into buying a drum kit. Peer pressure wins out and 'Lifeline' is born. We write songs called Hollow and Broken Dreams. Happy stuff.
Our drummer would go on to play viola with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. We later realise we're better at acoustic songs and rename ourselves Made with Trees.
Matt is still unsure what to be when he grows up. Dave, whose uncle is a copywriter, thinks advertising sounds fun. Matt thinks so too.
We experiment with transvestitism when we go to a fancy dress party wearing fancy dresses. The morning after our cross-dressing shenanigans, we collect our A-Level results from college and get photographed for the local paper, still in makeup. Unwittingly doing our bit to challenge gender stereotypes.
We apply to separate advertising courses around the UK and go for interviews. Without knowing it, we both pick Advertising & Brand Communication at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham as our first choice. It seems it's only the beginning for Matt & Dave...
Start uni. Realise we only know how to cook beans. And neither of us brought a tin opener.
During a course trip to Paris in Freshers' Week, we get jumped by some local thugs, but manage to escape with our wallets. We bemuse our new classmates by making a playlist called We Got Beaten Up in Paris, featuring I Get a Kick Out of You and Everybody Hurts.
Spend too little time entering student awards and too much time entering the student union. But we have a fucking great time. We also develop a Coke addiction.
And Matt meets advertising legend Adrian Vickers looking like this...
We graduate with degrees in ABC, 60% liver functionality and zero student awards.
At our degree show, we meet the creative directors of BD Network. We're a bit drunk at the time. Luckily, so are they. We land our first placement.
We don't know what 'below the line' means, but are told we're working there. We work on everything from big experiential ideas to supermarket FSDUs (Free-Standing Display Units)... It's not exactly Mad Men, but it's a start. Dave learns the art of scamping. Matt learns he will always be hopeless at drawing. Here we are, hard at work.
We do our first 'good' campaign: adopting two dozen reindeer for the agency Christmas card. They send us to Scotland's Cairngorm mountains to meet the herd.
The original Matt & Dave illustrations are born, thanks to Tamsin Baker.
We enter Cannes UK Young Lions in the Print category and place in the top five.
Dave marries Melissa Songer. Matt puts his copywriting skills to use in a "crucifying" best man's speech, the theme being 'Why Mel has made a big mistake'. In front of Dave's newly extended family, it portrays him as a childish idiot who will urinate literally anywhere when drunk.
The time comes to fly the BD nest, and a little bird (Twitter) tells us Profero is hiring. Our first brief is to redefine the tone of voice and design of Talk to FRANK, the government's drugs advice service. Shit just got real.
We win our first Chip Shop Award. Our mums cry. We're not sure why.
Profero flies us to Munich to work with Plan.net. Our first experience of working abroad gives us a valuable insight into how the Germans do advertising and how much they love sausage.
After almost two brilliant years, we bid Profero a drunken farewell at our favourite Camden boozer, The Colonel Fawcett.
Following our stints in Shoreditch and Camden, we move to Soho and M&C Saatchi.
We win Cannes UK Young Lions. Queen's We Are The Champions plays on repeat for 3 days.
Our first campaign at M&C goes live, featuring seven short films and an interactive YouTube homepage takeover. All created in seven weeks. It nearly kills us.
The Guardian flies us to Cannes. We don't win the international Print competition but we do the UK proud at the Young Lions party. Dave bumps into David Droga and gets a photo with him right outside a toilet. Matt meets ad legend George Lois, who advises him, "Never let anybody fuck with ya."
Matt writes an article for Campaign on our experience in Cannes. Their photographer makes us look like a pair of total dickheads.
We record our first radio ads, featuring Alex Macqueen aka Neil's dad in The Inbetweeners.
The IOU Team wins at the BIMAs and gets M&C nominated for Digital Agency of the Year. Dave can't be there, so he photoshops himself in.
We bring performance poets to the London Underground to encourage travellers to be more considerate of each other. The campaign generates six million impressions online and our first TV coverage, on BBC London News.
We shoot our next film project: a spoof survival show in which 'extreme saver' Bill Cutter gets dropped into the suburban jungle of Bromley to teach a family his insane saving techniques. Starring comedian Craig Campbell aka @moosefucker. Unfortunately the client loses their balls and it never sees the light of day.
We spend two days in an Edinburgh studio shooting an ad with Rachel Sermanni, one of our favourite folk musicians.
Transfer to M&C Saatchi Stockholm, where we stay in a lovely converted prison. We leave after nine days because the beer is just too fucking expensive. But not before drinking lots of it on Matt's birthday.
Shoot a film for Ballantine's Whisky that involves laser beams, sledgehammers, fake products such as 'Ballantine's Finest Pickled Eggs', and one very angry goose.
Shortlisted at the BIMAs. This time, Dave is able to go. We don't win anything.
Lean Mean Fighting Machine merges with M&C Saatchi. We help the two creative departments bond by arranging a Tuesday lunchtime pub session. 'BUESDAY' becomes an M&C tradition.
Work on a pro-bono project to educate Africa about Ebola. The client is Idris Elba. Our first TV ad airs to 75M people across the continent and is covered by media worldwide. We even write an article for The Guardian. But most importantly, the work makes a real impact in Africa.
We go surfing in Portugal. Dave gets wiped out by a huge wave and fractures his spine. Ironic, seeing as our Africa United campaign is called 'We've Got Your Back'. He also gets a graze on his forehead that looks like the Batman symbol. He has to wear a back brace for months.
A video of celebrities endorsing Matt & Dave becomes the top story on Adweek.
We make an ad with Rachel Riley from Countdown and Dave dresses up as her doppelgänger. Spot the difference.
Our 'Matt & Dave Celebrity Testimonials' video smashes it at the Chip Shop Awards.
We meet Anomaly ECDs Oli Beale & Alex Holder, who tempt us away from Soho and the seven-floor grandeur of M&C Saatchi to a tiny converted ink factory in Farringdon. The agency is a dozen-strong and we're the first team they hire. These were our first and last days at M&C.
Our first UK TV campaign (and last project at M&C) goes live. Not just one ad but fifteen, featuring Bill Bailey speaking in yak, and Rhod Gilbert pulling out his nasal hair with pliers.
Dave becomes a DAD!
Matt creates a special gift for Dave and his wife: a funny (and medically accurate) colour swatch guide to every possible type of baby poo, called 'POOTONE'. More on this later...
At Anomaly's Christmas party, Dave gets so drunk he passes out before dessert.
Our first big project at Anomaly – launching Budweiser Twist-Offs – goes tits up after months of work because the poorly-made caps are lacerating people's hands. We go down the pub.
Matt proposes to his girlfriend. Dave's first question is, "Can I do a speech?"
Matt travels round California while Dave holds the fort at Anomaly between nappy changes.
Dave finally pops the question...
Just kidding. We're recreating Matt's proposal in the UCA Farnham student village on the first leg of a two-part stag do. The second leg takes us to Dublin and the Guinness storehouse, and features a bizarre list of socially awkward challenges for Matt, which sees him busking on a tin whistle, mounting a gypsy's horse and convincing a random woman to give him her bra.
Matt & Livonia have their Eternity Party. Dave defies expectations by not ripping Matt a new one in his speech. Instead, he tugs at the heartstrings with an ode to his best friend. Aww.
We launch an integrated campaign for Cancer Research UK's Race for Life, focused on the real women who are BEATING CANCER by taking part.
Matt sends POOTONE (his swatch guide to baby poo) to publishers and gets several offers, including Penguin Random House UK who also commission him to write a guide to adult poo.
Anomaly has rapidly grown from a dozen staff to seventy. We move out of our pokey, dilapidated shed into the top two floors of a swanky new build on Charterhouse Square.
Matt goes to San Francisco to shoot some LEGO films with the CEOs of Airbnb and Twitch, then to LEGO House in Denmark. Dave has dad stuff to do and isn't remotely jealous.
After 18 months of creating, shooting and producing LEGO's first ever global campaign (featuring kids from all over the world), the whole thing gets scrapped after a huge company restructure. It's more painful than stepping on a LEGO brick. And trust us, it would've won every award under the sun, too. Just keep swimming...
Anomaly promotes us to Creative Directors.
At last, WE are the masters of our fate. We are the captains of our souls.
Mel pops out another baby. Dave returns after three weeks of paternity leave looking like an extra from The Walking Dead.
We launch Gordon's Pink gin, our first campaign as Creative Directors of Diageo. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) does the VO and kisses Matt. Standard.
9 AUGUST 2018
Matt becomes a published author with his adult poo swatch guide. It’s no novel, but it’s a start.
18 AUGUST 2018
Anomaly sends Matt on The International Exchange, a programme for future leaders where you spend a month working for an NGO in another country. He goes to Mozambique and makes a campaign for the Marine Megafauna Foundation. Against all odds, he avoids sunburn. While he’s there, he also becomes a certified SCUBA diver and learns to climb a coconut tree.
Meanwhile, Dave makes a kick-ass film inspiring gamers to ‘Game On’ for Stand Up to Cancer (his dream brief as he’s a huge gaming nerd).
31 JANUARY 2019
We shoot our next Race for Life campaign, ‘We’re Not Superstar Athletes’. It snows so heavily on the second shoot day that it almost has to be called off and fifty extras come dangerously close to contracting hypothermia.
7 MARCH 2019
Matt’s second poo swatch guide is published. Swatch number two, you might say.
Launch our first campaign for Ancestry, having been made creative directors on the account. The main ad makes one of the clients cry. In a good way.