Collaboration and Independence Is Key: Cat Samarista & Claire Zimmerman

Laundry Service
Full Service
Brooklyn, United States
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Cat Samarista
Senior Copywriter 160over90


How did you meet and how long have you worked together?

The ad gods brought us together as interns at SapientNitro in Miami. On day one, we bonded over a couple of beverages, and it just worked! We parted ways for a few years, working on side projects here and there, then Laundry Service reunited us. We still got it.


How would you describe relationship between you two? In what ways has the dynamic changed since you first began working together?

The best part about our partnership is that we’re actually friends IRL so working together is really easy! So whether we’re partners or peers, we always motivate and support each other. We’ve been lucky to have that consistency throughout our careers. Whether it’s checking in on each other personally or giving each other space when we co-present, we’ve got each other’s’ back. 

Our dynamic hasn’t changed much over the years, but we’ve grown tremendously. We’re even stronger creatives from when we first met, so joining forces again makes us feel pretty unstoppable.


Tell us about the first campaign you’ve worked on as a duo.

Our first agency project was for the Miami Heat, doing OOH and in-arena stuff for their app that was pretty dope. But the first project we really worked on together outside of work and really loved was Unsolicited AirDrop. In 2018, right after the #MeToo movement broke out, we were set to go to Cannes Lions and realized no one was talking about it.

When we went, we AirDropped unsuspecting people, much like an unsolicited advance, and sent them to our website to donate to the Time’s Up Foundation. We’re always trying to hack tech for smart concepts, not just for tech’s sake, and it made perfect sense here. The site also had instructions on how to become part of our mission, and we even got some AirDrops back!


Do you have a favorite campaign you’ve worked on together? What makes it special?

Right now, we’ve been really excited about what we’re doing for MTN DEW RISE ENERGY, shaping the tone-of-voice for the brand, plus expanding the VC for digital and .com. But we’re especially stoked about our official AR filter, Lion Mode, on Instagram and Snapchat. We brought the 2D brand lion logo to life into an immersive, expressive filter! It was a really cool process and we’re excited to see what people do with it.


What has been the hardest part of working together? How do you resolve creative conflicts?

Our hardest part is just a normal part of communicating with other people. Just making sure we’re listening to each other and giving space for each other, even if we’re super amped about an idea or push. Basically getting too excited over a project but remembering to cool your jets and collab. 


Is there any advice you’d give to young creatives looking for a partner, or a duo just getting their start?

It’s a common thing that’s said, but side projects. It’s a great way to own a project from start to finish and get work for your book that truly represents your thinking, craft, and teamwork. And in finding a partner, it’s good to find someone who has a different perspective than you; then you can poke holes in each others’ work, make it better, and be an overall well-rounded team.


Do you have a dream account that you haven’t had the opportunity to work on?

CS: I’m not a sporty person, but I absolutely would love to work on Nike one day. Or Headspace, because I’ve meditated for a while with it. Or Spotify. Claire’s got Nike to the max though and I’m jelly.

CZ: While Cat meditates and works out I’d love to work on an alcohol brand. Bud Light would be awesome. Oh, Postmates too!


How has the pandemic impacted working with your partner? Do you have any creative tips on how to collaborate when you’re working from home? 

Honestly, our process hasn’t changed a ton. We’ve always worked really well digitally. When we were on opposite coasts, we really nailed down collaborating over Google Docs. The way we work is to get everything down on paper – insights, links, thought starters, word vomit – then chat it out and see what sticks. A good balance of collaboration and independence is key.