Creative Director's Choice: Partners + Napier's Pete VonDerLinn on the all-ages appeal of the Go-Gurt kids

Pete VonDerLinn, ECD at Partners + Napier

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the current work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they think are making a difference. Each week The Drum is featuring the words of a creative director or other top creative on the work they find funny, powerful or otherwise engaging.

This week, Pete VonDerLinn, executive creative director at Rochester, NY agency Partners + Napier, shows his love for (and jealousy of) the recent Go-Gurt campaign. See all the creative by clicking the creative works box below the commentary.

I’m not sure which I feel more passion for: My love of food and drink or my disdain for lazy, clichéd advertising. Either way, I’m lucky to work at an agency that has a focus on food and also to have my 8-year-old daughter, Zoe, who recently introduced me to some of the best food creative I’ve seen in a very long time.

Several weeks ago, I was sitting in the family room, pounding away on my MacBook Pro while Zoe was watching a Nick or Disney show where most of the ads are horrifically formulaic.

Then, Tim and Charlie popped onto our screen – two cranky 4th graders at recess. Except these guys are dressed and made up to look like 80-year-old men, kvetching about “lazy” 3rd graders” and how kids today “have never had it so easy,” thanks to their new, easier-to-open Go-Gurt packaging.

When a younger kid stops at their bench to say hi, the sharp retort of “Get a job! You believe this guy?” made me laugh out loud. Zoe too. Like the best Pixar films, it appealed to both the kid and the adult-buying target. Creative and effective. Perfect.

So, of course, I went to YouTube hoping for more. The next 10 minutes were a laugh-fest. Zoe and I cracked up watching spot after spot of Tim and Charlie exclaiming their disgust for 3rd graders. So smart. So good. So not the clichéd crap that makes you think twice about telling people at cocktail parties you make ads.

Kudos to the team at Erich & Kallman and the Gogurt clients for this smart, disruptive work. Keep it coming, guys. And whatever you do, never let Tim and Charlie advance beyond 4th grade. Hold them back so they can keep us giggling.

Pete VonDerLinn is executive creative director at Rochester, New York-based agency Partners + Napier.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, please visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien at

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