Léo Michel and Marie Dutech, Herezie's creative duo that swap interchangeably between copywriting and AD roles,, met eight years ago, in their very last year of school. Following the pattern of creatives linking up in university and finding an unbreakable bond, the two worked together on a few projects and quickly became friends through them. Although they met at Estienne, a Parisian school of applied arts during their Masters degrees, their real emotional connection as artists took place in Shanghai, at their first work experience, where they understood better what bonds them professionally.
When they met for the first time at university, Léo immediately knew that Marie is an extremely brave individual and creative, especially when it comes to her ideas, which was evident from their very first project. “Go all in, or go home,” Léo says about his other creative half. “I think it’s really important to stand up for yourself if you want to create something you’ll be proud of. I guess that’s still true today.” This is somewhat what Marie thought of him upon their first meeting - an adventurous, funny and talented person, she knows that even today Léo still has these qualities and more.
Their first professional project together, according to Marie, was Steinkrebse, a school project made in collaboration with TBWA Paris. “It was much more fun than work actually, we found a way to make our own augmented reality when it was only the beginning of it. I ended up wearing a black morphsuit in front of the whole advertising agency, because you know, when you believe in something there is no other way than going all in.” And this is, as mentioned above, something both Léo and Marie value in a creative process. It is in fact, their similar working styles that bring them closer together and allow them to have a smooth workflow, but their personal characteristics differentiate enough to make them complement each other. “Of course we both have our strengths and weaknesses,” admits Marie. “But I think regarding creation we pretty well alternate roles, we are both AD and copywriter, which allows us to jump from one to the other when we’ve had enough of what we were doing.”
When it comes to the small differences at work, they aren’t that hard to avoid - although the two creatives work at “very different speeds” they find a way to make that process interesting, “cause you will never get the same kind of ideas in different amounts of time and it means one of us is always free to make coffee for the both of us.”
“Of course, you have to disagree, have some battles and sometimes lose some,” tells Léo. “But in the end it’s just work!” Which is exactly the approach they think is best to take when it comes to any sort of creative disagreement.
“It’s important to differentiate between emotion and ego,” explains Léo. “Emotion is an important part of creativity and sometimes you just have to trust it, but get rid of the ego; advertising is teamwork anyway.” And Marie totally agrees: “I think we always find a balance, we love to debate with each other until we finally believe the exact same thing is right but when it’s not possible, we take turns in putting our ego aside to say the other one is right while we feel that’s the best thing to do.”
The work Léo says he’s most proud of is their work with Observatoire des Inégalité on the Monopoly of Inequalities project. “Collaborating with people and projects outside of the industry is always refreshing and keeps us grounded.” Marie adds their ‘Edible Chopsticks’ work to the list of best ones - “Our biggest project in terms of pride and awards, the one that launches our career and a good one above all. We love to do things that matter. It’s our price to pay to do work we can’t always be extremely proud of, but we enjoy so much as it fulfils our hunger for creativity.”
What both Marie and Léo find to be the best part of their work together, is the comfort in having a shoulder to cry on and somebody to have your back in the industry. Marie calls it “incredible luck” to be able to work with her friend, and Léo knows that he wouldn't want to face most of his creative challenges without her. It’s the friendship that makes “all workdays playdays” and the passion that makes the work stand out and be enlisted in the inner catalogue of proud moments. And throughout the playdays, it’s the dialogue, for the two creatives, that cannot be replaced with anything else, and through which most of their best ideas are born.
“I don’t think we can even really grasp how much we learned from each other,” says Léo. “Because we’ve worked together almost from the beginning. But if I had to choose one thing I learned from Marie, is that you must stand up for what you believe in.” Marie abstains from answering what she’s learned from Léo this early on, saying that she is always learning from him, both as a best friend and as a teammate - so, “ask me again in 80 years,” she says confidently.