This story ends on a Chinese woman’s mantlepiece. It begins in John Hegarty’s office. As months go, August 2014 was a pretty bitching month. After a 10 month placement, Callum and I were given permanent jobs at BBH London. Two weeks later, they shipped us to the China office for a big pitch.
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It’s 1pm just outside of Minsk, Belarus. Its lunchtime and we’ve got Baloney and Potato soup, served kindly by the Babushka, who doesn't speak a word of English. We’re shooting in a plane hanger for our first TV ad for velcom, a Belarusian telecommunications company. Me and my copywriting partner have taken the train from Vilnius to Minsk to work on a campaign during our second month of a 1 year stint at DDB Vilnius, in Lithuania. Don’t worry, I’ve googled it so you don’t have to:
I sat in one of the Miami Ad School NY's classrooms overlooking Brooklyn Bridge when I received an email from AKQA London inviting me to join them for a 3 month internship. I jumped up and called my family in Germany, making stupid remarks like “London calling!” - I couldn’t hold my excitement. I should have known back then that it wouldn’t be the last time I’d say those words. Surely enough, one month later (2014) I moved to London and fled the big apple just before a huge snow storm hit the East Coast.
It was 2011, and the second year of our Advertising & Brand Communication course at the University for Creative Arts (UCA), Farnham. Our lecturer had encouraged everyone to do work experience and gave us a six week window in which to find somewhere willing to take a punt on us.
I moved to Dublin from London a little under two years ago. My Irish girlfriend accepted a job in theatre production, and invited me to come with her. Dublin, and Ireland in general, has a great and thriving theatre scene, but that's a different article…
Here's the lowdown.
Newsflash - getting a job in advertising in London is a tough grind. It's even harder, if not impossible, to do it in a year after graduating even if you're a genetically engineered creative cyborg child prodigy, which I wasn't, but a foreigner trying to get a degree whilst navigating the bizarre social conundrum a.k.a the British party etiquette. A year spent on the Cornish cliffs had made me weak, and rabid pigeons and the Shoreditch twats had made me strong and weak again. One way or another, with a couple of placements under my belt and shiny new degree in tow, it was time to suck it up and head home*.
It was 3 days before my final hand in at university when I got a phone call from a random +65 number (that turned out to be the ECD) telling me that myself and my creative partner had been offered a place each on the BBH intern program in Singapore. Amongst the squealing and extreme happiness we managed to say yes.
I watched a man die on the streets of New York City. He was out jogging ahead of me in the bright summer sunshine of midtown Manhattan, when suddenly and without warning he fell over, quite plainly dead. If you’ve ever seen a real corpse before – as opposed to one on television – quite a few differences are immediately apparent. For starters, the skin takes on a waxy inhuman sheen, gauntly stretched across the skull. There’s a noticeable lack of inner fire, as if the embers of the human spirit have been perceivably extinguished to leave nothing but an uncanny husk. It’s like watching an early CGI movie; something is disturbingly wrong and you want to look away.