Dynamic Duos: A couple of guys from Johannesburg, 15 years later in Sydney

In this week's Dynamic Duos, creative partners and co-founders of Today The Brave, Vince Osmond and Jade Manning, share their awkward beginning and how they bonded quickly, and their unforgettable memories across the world.

In Dynamic Duos, Mumbrella each week asks two colleagues with a professional and personal affiliation to share with readers the importance of workplace relationships in an increasingly hybridised world of work.

Vince Osmond:

Back when I was working at DDB Johannesburg, my art director at the time relocated to Cape Town, leaving me, a mid-level copywriter, without much say in choosing my replacement. I was about to enter a new ‘arranged marriage’ with someone I knew very little about, except for their name. Jade; my mysterious female art director.

When the big day arrived, my bride was unveiled to me. Jade stepped into my office with a black and flannel shirt and a strong goatee.

It didn’t take long for us to bond. Jade turned out to not only be one of the most talented art directors I’ve ever met, but also just a really great guy.

Jade Manning:

Coming from a design background, I didn’t have a direct path into advertising. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of what an art director was until I started the job. After an initial dabble with advertising, which didn’t feel quite right, I was offered the job at DDB, where I first met Vince.

I’d had no interviews with Vince before I started. In fact, I had no idea who he was or what he did. Nothing.

Then, on my first day at DDB, while being given a tour of the office I had the most awkward encounter of my life. As I was walking in, Vince’s previous art director was literally walking out with a box in hand, carrying his last remaining belongings. He casually mentioned, ‘oh, you’re my replacement’, then left.

We had a few moments of awkwardness before I eventually said something like, ‘well, I guess we’ll kind of figure this all out’ with Vince replying, ‘don’t worry, we can just wing it’. From that moment on, we hit it off and have been winging it ever since.

Vince on Jade:

Most memorable moment with Jade: Easy. We had a new business meeting in Uganda. Post-pitch ecstasy hit us hard and we had a pretty big night on the town with the locals.

The following morning, we had an early flight to catch. I made it out of bed, but there was no sign of Jade. I knocked on his hotel room door a couple times, but there was no answer. Without thinking, I tried to open the door. Unfortunately, it was unlocked.

I walked in to find Jade, completely starkers.

With my retinas still on fire and Jade now semi-clothed, we were in a reckless taxi ride to the airport, desperate to make the once-a-week flight back to Joburg. But as we arrived, Jade realised that he had forgotten his passport in the hotel safe. Did I mention this is a once-a-week flight? Anyway, long story short, I got on the plane, sending thoughts and prayers to my friend.

As the fellow passengers grew more impatient, my prayers grew louder. After what seemed like eternity, the plane door opened and Jade appeared – like a scene from a movie. I think I literally cried.

Best word to describe him: Patient and kind.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour he has: Jade’s most annoying habit is that he always runs on 1%, on all his devices. I’ve never known anyone to trust 1% more. It’s pure anxiety for me. At one point I used to carry a giant power bank charger everywhere just for Jade.

Jade on Vince:

Most memorable moment with Vince: Oh, man, we’ve had quite a few. I think the most awesome thing that we continually get to do, because of advertising, is visit some of the most obscure, weird and wonderful places.

From the remote and desolate landscapes of the Karoo desert in Southern Africa to the heart of the Australian outback. You kind of ask yourself, ‘How the fuck did we get here? As just two guys from Joburg’.

Beyond advertising, some of my most memorable moments with Vince is when he transforms into a serial prankster. No matter where we go, I’ve been the target of numerous, relentless pranks. But I think that’s what’s brought so much levity to our work. When times get heavy and exhausting, and you can’t see the wood for the trees, having that awesome sense of humour is an invaluable advantage that carries you through.

Best word to describe him: Unpretentious. Perceptive.

Most annoying habit or endearing behaviour he has: His sneeze. He sneezes like a donkey. It’s this weirdest combination of a sneeze/ laugh. I don’t think he’s even aware of it. To be honest, It’s become background noise to me, but I always get a kick out of seeing new people hear him do it for the first time.

Overall, I think it’s very rare to have a partnership where we are as connected in our personal lives as we are in our work lives – we’re best mates. Being able to work with your best mate on a daily basis, I think that’s super rare.

Oddly, we’ve gone through life experiences similar to those of a married couple. Our kids have grown up together as if they’re cousins. We’ve moved countries together. So our partnership is greater than just a platform to do great work, it’s become a lifestyle that we’ve kind of grown, or “winged” our way into.


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