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March 21, 2018 - Comments Off on Sir John Hegarty in conversation

Sir John Hegarty in conversation

If you don't know who Sir John Hegarty is then you are in the wrong place.

And if you don't know, but are too lazy to google him, he's the co-founder of global ad agency BBH.

To paint a picture of how popular this particular talk was at Advertising Week Europe, I couldn't actually get in and had to sit in a cinema screen listening over headphones. Which had a mouse in it.

This discussion was lead by Jonathan Akwue, chair of the Ideas Foundation, a charity working to drive diversity which I highly recommend you check out here:

And asking the questions were young leaders at the start of their creative careers keen to get practical tips on how to zig-zag their way to creative success.

If you've ever heard a Hegarty talk before you'll know what a treat it is to get insight from the man who has played such a massive part in advertising.

When asked about how he arrived at the decision to enter the world of advertising he described his journey to art school, in an attempt to be the next Picasso – and to get the ladies. Turns out this was not for him and he decided to attend the London College of Printing, though you may know it by its current name, London College of Communication. He says it was here that realised that the world could not be changed with a shade of blue but by ideas.

On the topic of diversity, he was not shy to declare that he detests the phrase ethnic minority and chooses to use ethnic essentials instead. "Creativity thrives on diversity". He believes that the more culture and different ways of thinking that can be shared the better, and the diversity you put into an agency comes out in its work. He also shared that this is why he is against 'Brexshit', that Britain's choice to cut itself off from other cultures is sad and foolish.

The next trend? Better ideas. Honestly, he says stop worrying about the trends and start refining your ideas. Tech will come and go but a great idea won't need it. And his thoughts on data are pretty much the same. "Big data is bullshit". The greatest story about data is the story of the birth of Christ – they went for the census and got more then they bargained for. The knowledge aquired by big data might be useful but using it is better. "Have an idea that influences the future."

How does one become inspired? Well, look around, there's inspiration everywhere. Take off your headphones, read more, read different and surround yourself with people who inspire you (basically, sack off all the people weighing you down.) Great creatives are optimists, they do interesting things with passion and in return are rewarded with interesting things happening to them. Yes, there's still such a thing as being too optimistic but it's encouraged. Optimists can be brought down but you'll struggle to bring a pessimist up.

And finally, he preached the death of the brainstorm. There's no proof that any truly wonderful idea was born in a brainstorm but there is plenty of evidence to prove that it's actually the work of great individuals. In a brainstorm you're working as fast as the slowest person in the room - rushing towards average - will more people in the room really help? Or, will creativity strike when you aren't even trying?

March 21, 2018 - Comments Off on Why f**k ups are fundamental

Why f**k ups are fundamental

Caroline Pay and Vicki Maguire - Co-chief Creative Officers Grey London

If there was one talk I wasn't going to miss at Advertising Week Europe, it was this one.

And here's why, only moments in Vicki proudly stated,"If you don't like profanity, fuck off now."

The tone was pretty much set from there.

There was so much from this talk I want to share with you and it all starts with the stigma of failure. We are told over and over again 'don't fuck up'. Well, that's wrong. Learning how to fail well is a skill that should be taught to everyone. Scientists spend years, and hundreds of millions of pounds, failing repeatedly until a conclusion is drawn and everyone goes home calling the whole thing a massive success. Surely, creatives should do the same? Failure is crucial to growth.

Some of Vicki and Caroline's fuck ups include forgetting the client was on the all staff email, forgetting to draw buttons on a design for shirt during a valiant attempt at getting into the fashion industry, and leaving three jobs with no backup plan. Note: none of these fuck ups stopped either of these incredible women getting where they are now and certainly aren't slowing them down by sharing them today.

Here is a selection of things to remember when you have the fuck-up fear.

10 ways to make fuck ups glorious
  1. Remember no one will die (hopefully) - We are creatives, not brain surgeons. Have fun and try to relax a little
  2. Don't have a plan B - Backups mean you don't believe in yourself. With Plan A you could end up a monumental success or a total fuck up but you definitely won't be in the safe space you are right now. 
  3. Thank people who failed you - Be grateful to the people who let you down. It could be a CEO or it could be a tutor from uni, either way, they got you further on your journey.
  4. One-downmanship is better than one-upmanship - Advertising has enough people puffing out their chests. Be humble, remember that you and no one else is perfect. 
  5. Have a fuck off fund - Get three months rent and bills together and don't be afraid to use it. 
  6. Hire failures - This one's for the bosses out there but also for future you, employ people who can admit their mistakes.
  7. Exercise your failure muscles - Practice bouncing back. It's not easy by any means but get ready to get back in the game. 
  8. Fuck imposter syndrome - Stop making tea for people, stop offering up your seat in meetings, stop hiding your ideas. You got the job now do it. 
  9. Fail out loud - Share your fuck ups, learn from your fuck ups and don't act like you've never fucked up. 
  10. Fail together - This one really speaks for itself, don't throw others under the bus, share your fails and get over it.

Following the talk there was a Q&A, and here are my three favourites:

Q: What would you say to a junior who's CEO is afraid of failure?
A: Leave.

Q: What about if clients are the ones afraid of failure?
A: Show clients you're willing to jump with them and they will jump. Prove that taking a risk is necessary to success.

Q: What's the best bit of advice you've ever received?
A: You're no good to me unless you've failed three times.

And in case it wasn't clear already this talk was absolutely fantastic.

If you're still not sold on the number of fabulous fuck ups out there check this out:


March 17, 2018 - Comments Off on Michelle Pegg: Champion Northern Creatives: Part 1

Michelle Pegg: Champion Northern Creatives: Part 1

After recent expansion the YCC are proud operate in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, New York and Newcastle. My part in the YCC is reppin' the North of England and Scotland and I'm extremely proud of my Northern roots. I want to share with you not only why we're canny mint* but also share the stories and highlights of some of the region's most talented, brilliant and all-round awesome dudes and dudettes at the top of their creative game.

Without further ado please enjoy Part 1 of our Champion Northern Creatives, starting with a woman who I'm sure I've seen manifest another set of arms to complete deadlines, she's actually squeezed the 25th hour into a day and was responsible for chucking me my first permanent design role... some years ago. Meet Michelle Pegg, Founder and Creative Director of Curate Creative in Newcastle.

Michelle! Thanks for agreeing to meet with me today in the uber-cool, Pink Lane Coffee in Newcastle.

No problems, Adele!

Tell me a little more about how you got into the creative industry.

I went to Newcastle College to study Graphic Design and when I finished I went to Edinburgh for work experience, which eventually led to a Junior Graphic Designer position. So I accidentally ended up staying there for 5-years working as a Graphic Designer within ad agencies as well as interior design companies which gave me a massive range of skills.

Ahh yes, working across different sectors can give you different perspectives and disciplines which you might not find if you stick to one particular niche.

Exactly, if you don't know what to do, just give it a go and figure it out. Say yes to everything. I believe having flexible skills and a give-it-a-go attitude has kept me in work all these years.

What was the most difficult hurdle you had to overcome to become a creative/get into the creative industry?

Probably getting that first placement. My first one was working in a really small company with small businesses and charity organisations for clients, which was good because it taught me how to work with smaller/tighter budgets.

Would you say that forced you to be more creative?

Well yes, you need to think about where the creative could best have impact and stand out without the huge budgets of TV, radio or print ads.

What has been one of your favourite or most fun projects across the board? Regardless of budget?

Recently I got to work on a campaign for Virgin Active, which meant we could work on radio, online TV, press, social, events, snapchat, Instagram, Facebook - so many avenues to get the message across and to create something really fun but effective for our client. We worked with a media agency which meant the channels we worked with could have the best impact and we had great fun working with the production company and radio team too. Seeing the idea through from the start to the finish was really important. As well as ultimately helping to increasing sales and awareness. It was the most successful campaign they've ran in 6 years which we’re pretty proud of!

Amazing, design however pretty needs function - something you've always drilled into me.

Exactly, it needs to get a message across, have a purpose, provoke a reaction. Whether that’s to help drive sales, get people in the door, to read something or to sign up with their data, and when you get pulled in different directions it's good to go back to that core idea/goal. If it doesn't do that, we haven't done our jobs properly.

What was your experience with working collaboratively with other agencies like that?

When everyone's working towards the same end goal it's great - you're obviously working for the client but also as an agency and individuals you want to shine with the ideas and results you create.

After leaving agencies you went out on your own - what was the build up to that like?

After several years at various agencies as well as in-house experience, when I left my last post, I just felt it was the time for me to try and make a go of it on my own. Even though it was pretty scary. I started by testing the water with the contacts I had built up over the years and went from there. The thing I found was the freedom was great but you also might find it restrictive too as you're only one person with a set amount of hours in the day. I wanted to build on this and work on all sorts of projects of all sizes, which is why I founded Curate with my business partner David - to build a great team and grow and not feel restricted. We’ve found collaborating and bringing in key people on specific projects really works too as no two projects are the same, we make sure we bring in the right skills to get the best results for the job in hand.

Combining forces, nice! What did you learn from being on your own?

Being quite frank, being on your own means you can make your own decisions. There's no one to have to compromise with, but on the flip side there's no one to bounce ideas off either. Your'e always in the driving seat running your own business or as a freelancer and that can be scary... but in a good way! Pushing you on to the next job because you need to know you have work coming in and also maintain what you have. Working with David and founding our business means any problems are shared as well as having more time to utilise and work on even more cool things!

So, now you need more people and more desks?

Yes! We have a heaps of Scandinavian boxes needing unpacked back at the office. Now we're looking for people to join the team.

One thing I will say is I’ve had the privilege throughout my career so far to work with some amazing, determined and very talented people so far. Whatever stage of their careers they’ve been, working with a team that just click and support each other so well is a lucky position to be in. For which I’ll always be thankful for and we all know we’re always here for each other wherever we are. You never lose that. I’d love to have that same camaraderie, that special something that just works in this new team.

*Touching moment, Adele is holding back the tears*
We have discussed in the past the importance of having your own creative outlets. You were a massive part of the Northern Correspondent (Northern based magazine) weren't you?

Yes, I don’t like to pigeon hole myself! Even now I consult and get involved in projects that I feel are important or excite me. I joined the Northern Correspondent team a few years ago simply because I wanted to get involved with something outside of my day to day work that wasn’t as commercially driven, but was creative and inspiring. I love magazines, and the Northern Correspondent was a great way of telling stories about the North in a long-form journalism magazine.

I joined early on as Art Director/Designer of the magazine and worked with Ian Wylie (leader of the project) and Chris Stokel Walker producing several issues that involved local writers, journalists, artists, illustrators, photographers and poets. And we distributed issues for sale via a launch event for each issue which was in the form of a discussion on various topics, one of which was part of the Northern Design Festival where we held an event with talks and discussions entitled People and Print - Where ideas create communities.

We also distributed via a fantastic network of local bookshops, coffee shops, and art galleries across the north. Co-ordinating all of this was an excellent way of meeting a whole range of very talented individuals who all kindly contributed their skills to help get those stories out there. It was a not for profit project so no one made money from it, but it was valuable in so many ways and I’m very glad I was able to be a part of it.

Amazing, as a creative if you find something you love you need to pursue it!

It’s so true that you have to find ways of doing the things that you love and enjoy, they don’t just land at your feet. And once you start doing these things and getting involved, and just trying things, you never know where it will lead.

Published by: Adele in Ad-vice, Opinion, Outside Of London

March 15, 2018 - Comments Off on When it all gets a bit too much…

When it all gets a bit too much…

After having attended my fair share of industry talks, I must admit that I’ve become a bit cynical. Unfortunately, I’ve often found it to be the case that many speakers attend these events to be in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, using the stage for their own publicity. But the event I attended last night was different. It was genuine, and eye opening. The people on the panel were there because they wanted to help others. Which is the same reason why I’m writing this article.

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March 8, 2018 - Comments Off on

As part of the Young Creative Council I’m incredibly lucky to work with, and meet some amazing young women. So, for International Women’s Day 2018 we’ve launched a platform with the ambition to celebrate a different female rising star every day for a year. (and beyond, I hope)

In a world where only 11% of creative directors are female, what chance do young female creatives have?

As a regular visitor to colleges and universities I see lecture theatres, classrooms and studios full of talented, ambitious young females (and more often than not, it’s the males that are the minority) yet when it comes to the industry the numbers just don’t add up. Something isn’t quite right here.

The dropout rate for young females in the creative industries is frightening. With a lack of role models, mentoring and funding it’s no surprise young women are turning their back on ad land. is part of our plan to change the stats.

We’ve created a platform for student, intern and junior creatives to be recognised for the awesome job they’re already doing...with the ambition that, by International Women’s Day 2019 we’ll have 365 incredible women who are STILL in the industry and are smashing it.

Help us change the stats by nominating a #BadassGal you know, and sharing with your networks.

Here's a sneak peak at some of the Badass Gals we have coming in the next few days...


#1 Pip & Lib 
A Welsh-Scandi furniture designer, and one of London's Young Poets. Pip and Lib are a creative team at Anomaly and co-founders of Phlegm Collective. The pair are on a mission to destroy society's unrealistic idea of 'perfection' and are already making waves, after their work was picked up by The Metro and Huffington Post. 

#2 Robyn Frost
Winning a yellow pencil at the D&AD New Blood Awards for her work on The British Army, and being one of the 2017 Creative Conscience finalists Robyn has already taken the industry by storm. But it's not just her work that we think makes her a Badass Gal. Robyn has written articles for both Campaign and D&AD, as well as speaking at events like Glug and Silicon Beach.

#3 Shanice Mears 
From intern at an agency to co-founder of an agency. Shanice is co-founder and chief talent scout of The Elephant Room, a new breed of agency who are committed to changing advertising. Shanice is living proof that titles, levels and experience mean nothing. It's your ambition, determination and passion that will create the change you want to see.


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March 4, 2018 - Comments Off on Meet Newcastle BANG! BANG! Event Sponsors, Komodo Digital

Meet Newcastle BANG! BANG! Event Sponsors, Komodo Digital

Komodo Digital is a team that thrives on new challenges and strives to work with the latest technology, from drones to artificial intelligence. They're a work hard, play hard bunch, where they take their client work seriously and themselves less so.

I caught up with and their Commercial Director, Armin Talić, to talk about Northern talent, apprenticeships and how you can stand out from the crowd when it comes to securing a role in the creative industry.

Would you agree the North is a great place for creative talent?

The North nurtures great creative talent through university, we're producing very strong candidates to enter the industry... however, what I’d love to see more of is opportunities in the North for us to retain this amazing talent.

Good point, there needs to be the job availability to help our graduate retention. What would you like to see more of in the North to support young creatives coming through?

Scrap the current 'apprenticeship' model for creative businesses... it's a funding farse and SMEs simply can't offer credible or structure experiences for candidates. I'd replace current incentives with performance based grants. If a business is performing well from P&L, their funding should be much lower than that of a business struggling. This should be coupled with regional insentives for large businesses to engage with SMEs in their region.

Interesting! How do you as a business support graduates and/or collage students?

We offer 1 placement per year for a student to work with our team. They're on-boarded like a Junior, with the same direct support associated with that role. We don't hold their hand and don't expect too much from them either. We partner with Northumbria University, via a partnership with Jamie Steane, to engage with and source the best candidates from their design degrees each year. Our 2 most recent design hires have been through this partnership and have lead to exceptional candidates joining the team.

Why is taking part in events such as the YCC’s BANG! BANG! so important to Komodo Digital?

As much as we try to build a studio that people want to work at, we also need to maintain a profile in our industry. Partnering with fantastic organisations like YCC allows us to build mindshare amongst candidates actively seeking new opportunities. In short, it's hard to be somewhere that people want to work, if no one knows about us.

What advice would you give to young creatives looking to get into the industry?

Create a strong portfolio of work outside of your academic course work. Challenges like "Daily UI" are a good start and provide structured encouragement. The best employers look for the best candidates, so you should think about gaining experience outside of your discipline to better understand the wider implications of your work.

Big businesses will give you a very different experience than small businesses. If you want to learn under your own steam, then joining a smaller and more agile team might be a good place to start.

Find out more about Komodo Digital here, discover new job opportunities and join us at Campus North 20th March.

Published by: Adele in Ad-vice, Outside Of London

January 30, 2018 - Comments Off on YCC & OMB: The Brief Encounter Results

YCC & OMB: The Brief Encounter Results

Last week, we partnered up with the One Minute Briefs for an epic brief encounter to “Advertise the creative industry in the North". We had awesome responses from the wonderful OMBLES and our three winners were *drumroll please!*... @JohnSoonaye @_paulturner_ @John_Protheroe

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January 24, 2018 - Comments Off on YCC x OMB: The Brief Encounter

YCC x OMB: The Brief Encounter

This Thursday (25th January) One Minute Briefs and the Young Creative Council are coming together for the first time in an epic “Brief Encounter”. The YCC are now spreading their little wings north. Having started in London and branched out to the bright lights of New York, Berlin, Amsterdam – we’re now alllll the way up north in sunny Newcastle – to reach more creatives, more agencies and ultimately help more canny (lovely) people do good stuff.

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November 29, 2017 - Comments Off on Creative Social Presents: F**k That’s Good

Creative Social Presents: F**k That’s Good

We sent @jensties down to last weeks last ever CS Presents, here's the DL! 

There’s plenty of crap out there. But there’s also plenty of creative goodness. And it’s the latter that is the focus of Creative Social’s ‘F**k That’s Good’ evening.

The premise is simple. Ask six people, who are already killing it in their respective fields, what blows their creative mind. And since it was Creative Social’s last CS Presents event, each speaker was asked to name their expected trend for 2018.

If you didn’t make the event - we got your back. Here’s a digest of what went down.

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