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September 21, 2016

Ad-ventures Abroad | Copenhagen & NYC

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.

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September 6, 2016

Graduating to a Job

So you nailed your degree. Smashed a First. Got the scroll. Looked silly in a mortarboard and gown. Made your parents proud. And probably got a bit pissed in the process.

Just wait until you get that first bill from the Student Loans Company. Fuckers. It’ll make you want to sleep in until midday for the rest of your life.

So now’s the time to knuckle down and put the effort in and get that first proper paycheque. In an industry that lives and dies by creativity, your degree result is less important than your trusty portfolio – unless you decide to head into planning or account management. You know that dissertation you slaved over? Yeah. Ummm. Yeah…

It’s September. Unis are going back soon. The next intake is starting their final year – and will be trying to secure placements sharpish – so you need to get your skates on and secure your first job.

Applied for loads of stuff and heard nothing back?

You’re doing it wrong.

Stop applying for stuff. Start doing stuff.

CDs like doers.

People in charge of placements like non-ad work.

And recruiters like people that are keen.

It’s not rocket science. It’s advertising. You’ll be promoting brands daily. So start promoting yourself.

Get out there.

Meet people.

Email people. Not generic mailboxes.

Send a letter to your favourite creative. It doesn’t have to be creepy. (I can’t tell you the last bit of post I received that wasn’t a birthday card, a bill or an Asos delivery…)

I haven’t seen a team since New Blood – the first week of July – and yet I, according to Campaign, work for the sixteenth best agency in the UK.

Where are you all hiding?

Surely you’re not all emailing just VCCP, W+K, BBH, AMV BBDO, Anomaly and CP+B?

Or are you?

Spread yourself out.

Find agencies that do things you like doing. Then find some more. There are literally thousands of agencies across the UK.

Aim high, yes. But be happy at settling for a middle ground agency. You can always work your way up. I have.

After all, working in advertising at a small place is a million times better than working in a supermarket. And beneficial for your career.

So start putting your book in front of people.

Getting opinions.

And be prepared to start again. Or even switch creative partners.

If you’re hitting a brick wall in terms of meetings and interviews. You’re doing something wrong.

Go for a chat (not a book crit as such) or buy a creative a pint and get advice from them. You may have been doing it wrong all along – or just looking in the wrong places.

Getting a job in advertising ISN’T easy. The best get snapped up quickly. The next best are the ones that stick at it and never, ever, ever give up.

Just make sure you’re in either of those two groups. And not someone that didn't just do the minimum.

June 24, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 4

Get the dish on DAY 4 right here:

Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

This morning started with a fun brainstorming session for another cool brief that creatives Holly and Julie had just started working on. Later we began to go through some of the work that I have been doing this week, and they gave me some really helpful suggestions on how push them a bit further. So another great day at AnalogFolk! Despite all of the flooding and train issues. I can’t believe it’s been day 4 already, It has gone so quickly!!

Max – CHI & Partners

Day IV

When I arrived in the office today everybody was in a pretty good mood after taking home a cyber gold lion for Lexus' hoverboard last night. Had a casual celebration champagne for lunch and kept on working on the super bowl brief for the rest of the day. Everything is set up for a big finish tomorrow.

Tom & James – Wunderman

Having woken up expecting to row ourselves to work, the journey to the Wunderman office was relatively pain free.
Today our heads were down as we were finalising ideas for the big pitch to the ECDs tomorrow, where we will be presenting them the fruits of our week of labour. A crit with the jovial Richard and Nigel was a welcome break and we got some great advice from a very experienced team.
Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

Day 4 began with Aims getting up at 6am to vote and Sylvs remembering why she usually cycles to work after a nightmare experience on the tube. We spent the morning refining our ideas for McVities before showing them to the team at lunch. We were helped on with more sweet treat offerings from Vicki, this time including an incredibly sour apple bon bon which definitely gave us the punch in the face we needed to get inspired. After some great feedback from the McVities team we started the party early with 4 o'clock beers for the No Cannes do Party which included the best perk you can think of. Free Prosecco. We're feeling great now. It may be a different story tomorrow morning...

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June 23, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 3

Here's the wrap up from day 3!

Tom & James – Wunderman

Day 2 + 3 (because we were naughty yesterday and didn’t submit an entry): We had a hectic day. Presented initial ideas at our first ‘creative review’ and ended up having to ditch most of them. We consoled ourselves with falafel over lunch. Spent the rest of the day reworking the others – then it was off to the Cannt Be Replaced Speed Crit…

Today has been a little calmer. Developing the chosen ideas from yesterday further and getting stuck into a portfolio crit with one of the CDs. So far so good!

Max - CHI & Partners

After half the day working at (what at least already feels like) my desk I got the chance to join Will, a copywriter at CHI, doing some life writing for the Euros at a clients office. That basically meant sitting on the 12th floor next the the thames, watching the games and coming up with hilarious stupid puns. Iceland made my day.

Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

We started day 3 with a brilliant briefing from the lovely Vicki Maguire and the McVities team which was made even better by the constant supply of products (you really can't beat a chocolate digestive.) After demolishing nearly an entire packet of biscuits, we felt substantiously queasy and took advantage of the sugar high to quickly rattle off some ideas. After lunch we went through our concepts for HSBC which seemed to go down well and we ended the day on a high that wasn't brought on by sugar!

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Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

Another great day at AnalogFolk. We had Eddie the filmmaker in today to record me answering a few questions for the YCC Cannt be replaced video. A couple of the questions I answered were what I thought the next big thing was going to be? And what sort of advertising I wanted to make in my career? I’m looking forward to the final edit of the video. I somehow don’t quite think I’m going to be making it onto the big screen though.

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Matthew & Penny @hellomattdunn @pennylam65 - Karmarama

Today was an eventful day. Dickie came back to us with feedback on the work we did yesterday. It seems we impressed! Put straight onto a new brief for a digital bank. Half way through the briefing we all noticed an electrical burning smell. Seconds later we're all evcauated outside. Nothing like a bit a drama!

Charlie & Emily @Em_pemm @CharlieRaymont - GREY

Day 3: Today we where lucky enough to be briefed on McVities, and of course along with this we had the responsibly of sampling some of the products, and by some, we mean a lot so there goes our summer bods. As well as this to finish the day we had a great, insightful feedback meeting with the HSBC team.

June 22, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 2

Sarah & Jules @theafghanhound1 – GREY

Today we met Vicki Maguire, fresh off the plane from Cannes, who revealed she will be giving us a brief involving coffee tomorrow morning...intriguing. Inbetween that we had a creative wander down Leather Lane and got a meaty HSBC brief. A Tuesday has never gone so fast.

Max - CHI & Partners

Arrived pretty early and surprisingly dry this time. A massive super bowl brief came in today and I can't wait to get my teeth into it! After a huge vietnamese lunch I had to do the little interview for the roundup video. surviving the first nervous minutes it ended up being really fun. On my way back I almost casually ran into the partners office but luckily was safed before I actually got in.

Matthew & Penny @hellomattdunn @pennylam65 - Karmarama

Today we were trusted to our own devices. Feedback from yesterdays work proved fruitful and was told to develop some gems. Working closely with Richard the CD is extremely rewarding. Highlight of the day was afternoon tea!! Victoria sponge cake and Lemon drizzle was on the menu today. Looking forward to tomorrow, we have a new brief coming in!

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Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

A better morning than yesterday, as there was no rain, no confusion with the buses, and I had the pleasure of meeting one of AnalogFolk’s friendly K9s. The weather was so much better today! So we took the opportunity to have some lunch in the park, where I met some of the other designers from the agency. I also had my first review going over some of the initial ideas I had come up with yesterday and earlier this morning. Now it’s time to begin to develop some of them, and see where they go tomorrow.

Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

Day 2 consisted of warmer weather and enough risky agency Christmas card ideas to offend any good Catholic Grandmother. We had a break from the tinsel and candy canes and enjoyed a food market lunch in the park with the other teams Emily and Charlie, and Sarah and Jules. After getting back we got a great brief from HSBC and emails for 3 briefings tomorrow so now looking forward to a busy day Wednesday. The day was pretty relaxed compared to our evening. We attended the Cannt be replaced book crit night just around the corner. 8 crits in 24 minutes was intense but fun and we made some connections we hope to keep! So thanks YCC and Cannt be Replaced for another great day!

Charlie & Emily @Em_pemm @CharlieRaymont - GREY

Day 2: Today we carried on working with our christmas brief for half the day. After we explored the heavenly food market at lunch we then given a live HSBC brief to work on. We spent the rest of the day racking our brains to come up with some (hopefully) worthy ideas.

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June 21, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 1

So over the course of the week we'll be sharing daily anecdotes from the teams! Here's your first instalment.

Charlie & Emily @Em_pemm @CharlieRaymont - GREY

Day 1: Despite turning up to GREY looking like drowned rats due to the 'first day of summer', as far as first days go this one has been brilliant. We have been made to feel welcome by a great creative team (Stevie and Emily), as well as being saved by other GREY colleagues from the coffee machine that nearly exploded on us.. Our first brief has us singing Christmas tunes and thinking about all things sparkly. We are really excited to see what tomorrow brings. Thats all folks, Charlie and Emily.

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Tom & James - Wunderman

Things Tom & James did on Day 1 at Wunderman:
1. On arrival, we got off at the wrong floor and ended up in ASOS’ office. They seemed nice.
2. We finally met our hosts – the lovely Charlotte & Lucy – who were even nicer.
3. We signed a Non Disclosure Agreement to work on a super secret brief (shhhh…).
4. We grabbed lunch. Tom highly recommends the kebab place round the corner.
5. James was soundly beaten at table football. Twice.

Max - CHI & Partners

The first day of London summer. I had quite a hard time to get to soho in pouring rain and packed tubes but when I finally got there I got a super warm welcome. Equipped with a cup of coffee I got a little tour through the office and was introduced to the creative department. After a delicious welcome lunch I jumped onto the first brief. By now I switched to good old english tea. The rest of the day day went by pretty quickly and I left the office with the sun shining. It actually is summer in London.

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Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

Weather was chucking it down this morning, making it even more difficult for me to navigate my way around the bus stops near Waterloo, frantically trying to figure out which queue I was meant to be standing in. Turns out I was in the wrong one. A really good first day at AnalogFolk. An awesome agency with a great vibe to it. And apparently it was a quiet day too! Met Simon my Creative Director, who briefed me on an exciting new project. Slightly terrified though as I’m currently the only one working on it! Had some great food from the market for lunch today. Had some Falafel in pitta it was delicious, but they give you so much! It was near impossible to eat without making a fool of myself.

Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

We arrived at our first day at Grey, rain soaked, excited and equally as nervous. Sat in the reception area we tried our best to point out the other two creative teams using the memories we had of their LinkedIn and website photos we had unashamedly creeped the day before. We watched as member after member of Grey came in, collecting their awaiting guests before we were greeted by Amy, introduced to the other teams and taken up to the 4th floor. After a mini tour, of which we only remembered the location of Thursdays free bar, we met the lovely creative team of Emily and Steve. After polite introductions we quickly started on our first brief- try to top last year's beard baubles Christmas card. A mean feat. The beard baubles had been spoken about by American new channels and none other than Philip Schofield on everyone's favourite morning tv programme. So what could we suggest for this year? The awful weather hammering against the windows outside helped us to forget it was the first day of summer and we got well and truly into the Christmas spirit. With turkeys and stockings, christmas trees and bells dancing around in our heads we conjured up ideas from the truly shite to the surreal. We finished the day with a handful of ideas we were happy with and looked forward to the next day when we would get to show and tell.

Matthew & Penny @hellomattdunn @pennylam65 - Karmarama

First day and they where gentle. Got to meet some fellow creative's and the big chief himself Dicky. No messing about though. Straight into working on some OOH for JustEat followed shortly by some tag lines. All in all a great first day! And they have a GIANT football bouncing around in the office!

Sarah & Jules @theafghanhound1 - GREY

We're Sarah + Jules and we met on the Watford course.
The first to text 'stripes' each morning gets to wear them.
Jules won today
On our first day at Grey we met a guide dog that guards a sweets cupboard, worked on a Christmas brief in June and got showered in Sharpies by the creatives.

June 20, 2016

Creative Equals | Creating advertising more women (and men) buy

As a woman working in advertising, you’d think that an event about equality for women in advertising would be just my kind of thing, right? Right, but the problem is that it should be everyone’s ‘kind of thing’. Luckily, the audience at Creative Equals’ first event was fairly diverse. And just as well, as the main message from all speakers was that addressing the gender inequality in advertising is going to take a bit of teamwork.

So, what’s the problem exactly? We’ve got more female creative directors than ever before, and we’re currently riding a wave of ‘Fempowerment’ advertising. You only have to look at the overwhelmingly positive reactions to spots such as Like A Girl by Always. We’ve certainly made progress, and our last speaker of the evening, Eloise Smith, ECD at MullenLowe Profero, insisted that now is actually a great time to be a woman in advertising.

But it wasn’t always like this. Having more female creative directors doesn’t mean equality if those directors have swallowed the misogynistic advertising culture of the past, and are simply regurgitating it now. And the numbers are still painfully unequal, with only 11.5% of CDs being female.

Rachel Pashley, global brand planning partner at JWT, even called out some ‘Fempowerment’ advertising as detrimental to the feminist cause. Rachel explained that some of these ads actually bring you down as a woman just so they can swoop in and rescue you. And when these pro-women ads that actually are empowering, we don’t want them to become part of a trend, with a shelf-life like all the others.

Rachel also highlighted how businesses and advertisers need to wake up to ‘female capital’; she wasn’t the only speaker to mention how women are responsible for 80% of spending. So isn’t it in the industry’s best interests not to alienate us as consumers?

Simon Richings, creative partner at AnalogFolk, brought an entirely new perspective to the debate. He would of course, being a man. Describing how women are not the only ones to suffer stereotyping, Simon highlighted two damaging male stereotypes in contemporary advertising: ‘Stupid Dads’ and ‘Hot Guys’. It’s only when Simon put a name to these portrayals of men that I began to recognise how common they were. I was dismayed to see the (thankfully banned) Huggies ‘Dad Test’ ad Simon shared. The spot went as far as to suggest that dads are so stupid, they can’t even look after their own babies. Then, of course, the mother has to help them, and thus the stereotype hurts both genders. On the other end, we have the ‘Hot Guy’: a god-like, and unrealistic, man who appears in adverts unrelated to beauty products. There’s no doubt that these stereotypes, and the pressures placed on the shoulders of men by advertisers, entertainers, and the media, contribute to the biggest killer of men under 45: suicide.


It’s clear, then, that inequality and stereotyping are more than just women’s problems. But Hayley Mills, International Strategy Manager at OMD, claimed the problem is even more far-reaching. Hayley spoke about diversity of race, age and physical ability as well as gender. And as Laura pointed out earlier in the evening, the recent attack in a gay club in Florida demonstrates what happens when stereotypes of any kind aren’t destroyed.

Hayley insisted that just as there’s ‘female capital’, there’s ‘diverse capital’ that isn’t being tapped into; so many disabled people are ignored by businesses who don’t make their products accessible. The best way to convince businesses to change in this regard is to show them the rewards. Like that if fashion brands included Black and Asian people in their advertising, they would be attracting an audience who spend 44% more on clothes.

Being more inclusive of everyone not only benefits the brands, it benefits the ad agencies who work for them. Laura, also co-founder of The Great British Diversity Experiment, explained that diversity agency-side enables the ‘authentic self’ to come through – a self that is free from masks, and comfortable enough to be fully creative. Of course this means diversity in terms of race and gender, but equally it includes things like passions, and anything that makes us unique. When we build creative teams from two (or more) truly authentic people, their distinct experiences, outlook and ideas can spark off each other. This produces far better work than if the minds that had created it were the same.

Both Laura and Simon agreed that the solution for us as advertisers in reaching diverse audiences and side-stepping stereotypes, is empathy. Laura claimed empathy is even more important than the holy grail of adland: ideas. You can see where she’s coming from. Empathy allows you to see to beauty in diversity, and highlight it in your ideas. Simon referenced possibly my favourite TV ad of the year so far – Lynx’s ‘Find Your Magic’ spot – as a positive example that celebrates the diversity of things that can make a man attractive.

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Laura’s advice to creatives starting out is to tackle briefs that are different from what you are familiar with, ones that show you can understand people different than yourself. Yes, she agreed that the big changes need to happen at the top, but we always have a choice who at the top we’re working for, and giving our creativity to.

The reality is, ads such as ‘Like A Girl’ are very niche, so what can we do to change ordinary advertising? Eloise thinks we should consider the three L’s: Lusting, Leading and Laughing. We need to show female desire more in advertising. Only 5% of women think that advertising understands what they find sexy, so Simon’s ‘Hot Guy’ stereotype is not only damaging to men, it’s off the mark when it comes to attracting women too! When it comes to portraying leadership, advertising hasn’t caught up to entertainment. You only need to look at Game of Thrones, where all the most badass leaders are female. We need to allow women to be the lead in ads, and not just when we’re selling tampons and surface wipes. We need to show women laughing. It’s sadly unrepresentative of our senses of humour that men’s brands are funny, but women’s are serious. Women value humour highly, so whether you’re trying to get us to go on a date with you, or buy your product, you need to make us laugh. All this is really about advertising demonstrating that it knows women, not stereotypes of women. Speaking from personal experience, as a woman of mixed race, Hayley described how incredibly isolating it is when you don’t see yourself reflected in any media or advertising. And Rachel believed that we don’t need a brand to save us, only to see us as we really are.

One brand which does this very well is Nike Women. AKQA are the agency behind the award-winning work for the sports brand, and ECD Masaya Nakade is the man behind the agency. Masaya talked us through how they aim to understand their target audience, and express this to them. Nike knows we perspire just like men do, so they don’t airbrush the sweat off their models. And I love the copy in one of their most famous print ads featuring long distance runner Lauren Fleshman. It begins,

 

“Don’t give me small pink versions of a man’s running shoes. I am not a small pink version of a man.”

In Masaya’s opinion, we shouldn’t approach a brief asking ourselves “how can we make women buy this product?” Instead, we should think about how we can make this product something that women would want to buy.

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We’re in a very optimistic position. Creative Equals’ event was not an opportunity to berate and blame the advertising industry or the brands they work for, or to despair at the lack of progress. It was the coming together of a diverse range of speakers, all with something practical and inspired to say about what we can do, and celebrating what we have already achieved. Rachel, who created the Female Tribes initiative to help JWT understand and reach women, discovered through her research that 76% of women around the world felt that it’s never been a better time to be a woman. We are at a cultural tipping point, with 86% of women thinking that femininity is a strength, and not a weakness. It’s a means of power and influence that should be embraced rather than ignored in favour of being ‘like a man’.

Many people within the industry believe that “advertising can change the world”, so let’s use this power to change it for the better.

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Written by: @LaurenMesservy

June 12, 2016

Creative Social | Being Different

We sent young talent Jord & Lib down to Creative Social's Being Different talk, here's what they had to say:

There was a great line up right from the start, with one of our favourite advertising creatives, Dave Bedwood doing a talk. The event was all about being different, and we could definitely tell that from the line up. Dave Bedwood has previously set up his own agency, Lean Mean Fighting Machine and has recently become Creative Director at Analogfolk, Laura Jordan Bambach from Mr President, Miriam who created some hilarious ladybird books, Tey Tarty from stay in school, and Danny ….. who is …. artist.

The event, as always, kicked off with some cheeky free beer tokens.

The first to speak was Laura Jordan Bambach who explained how the Great British Diversity Experiment, was discovering how diversity within advertising can stir up better solutions to problems and that a lack of diversity still remains within advertising. A topic which comes up a great deal at the moment and is widely covered. A topic that also, as a white, middle class male and a white middle class female partnering, leaves us to question whether we are actually diverse enough for the advertising industry, and if it is a case of hiring people from different countries, should we go to a different country.

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Second up was Miriam Elia. This talk was very different. She showed us her most successful art work to date. Where she released a parody of the Penguin books’ with a Peter and Jane style to highlight the barbed ironic points about both modern art and the ethics of how authors portray the world when reducing its complexity for children. It was a hilarious book, but it ended up that Ladybird tried to sue her and had told her to remove the logo. So once the logo was removed she was ready to sell again. And they sold very well. However a year later Penguin created their own spoof books, which you all may have seen, these include “The Hipster”. This made us think of an idea advocated by Steve Henry, “prototyping”. Miriam had just gone ahead and essentially made a product for Penguin. This made them angry and they hated it. However once they saw the successful sales, they then created the product themselves. An idea they would have never had done without Miriam's Prototype. It was a very interesting talk, showing that you should do something you really believe in, make things happen in the world and get people talking about what you're doing, but also be careful with people potentially using your ideas.

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The third on the list was Tey, talking about how craft and voice come together and how he discovered his. He gave a very outlined description of his life to date, talking about the art school he went to in New York, all the places he has lived, his childhood in Liberia, and as an adult in San Francisco, La etc. He finally became settled in London. Which is where he truly found that his work encompasses his voice within his craft. This lead us to think about our past experiences and how that voice has come through in our work. We both fully believe that personality should be in everything you create, however as Tey pointed out getting the right balance is a skill you have to learn. It was good to hear that it took him to live in all these places, experience all the things he did and eventually found it, because you don't just go to one place and have everything that you’re looking for. It takes time to find yourself and let yourself come out through your work, with the craft that you have learnt.

Dave was up next, and with a not so planned speech, still managed to have the audience captivated and laughing. His first point about being different was to get out of the game, take a step back from the advertising world and realise what people actually care about. He said that if you say ‘Creative’ to anyone outside of advertising, they won’t think advertising, they will think about films, novels and things that they actually are entertained by. Another thing that he mentioned was the Total football approach, where the advertising agency should all be a team with the same goal and that everyone should be able to do everyone else’s job. Another thing he mentioned was to get rid of the powerpoints in a bid to create more collaborative work.

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And last of all was Danny, who instantly stripped naked, painted himself in a blue paint and had 12 volunteers make prints by pressing paper to his body. It was definitely pretty different. Although when asked about it, he said the reason for doing it was about people’s aura and capturing a little bit of that moment.All in all, the event was a great experience. Learning a lot from very different perspectives and applying that learning to advertising.

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If you want to get in touch with Jord & Lib tweet them: @LibbiPap @_JPMorris

Or take a look at their folio here: //cargocollective.com/JordandLib

May 24, 2016

Break through the noise, that’s what you’ll be paid for

It’s getting to that time of year where if you’re an advertising student, you’re probably thinking: “Shiiiit, I best get myself one of those placements.” By now you’ve Googled the words ‘Creative Advertising Placements’. Been on the IPA’s website (you know who they are, right?). And filled out a perfectly thought out application form for BBH’s Barn (hopefully you didn’t miss the deadline). If this is all you’ve done, or dare I say less, it’s time to pull that finger out of your arse, and start using it to scratch your forehead, whilst you think about how you’re going to make yourself stand out.

Be your own brand

Hey you. Creative type. You’re about to enter the world of communications and branding, so for starters, you need to brand yourself. You don’t have to make a campaign about yourself (or maybe you do), but in order to stand out from the rest of your mates and other ad schools, it’s time to stop thinking like everyone else.

What are you going to be known by? ‘Tom and Ben’ or ‘Vikki and Hollie’? How many people do you know called Tom or Ben? Will your name be remembered? Probably not. Unless of course, you’re so brilliant that you’ve already won 10 awards.

Why not do something a little different? Creative team Newby and Wells did, by using their domain name in a unique way: //pleasecrit.us.

But if you’re going to call yourself something wacky, don’t do it if it doesn’t stand for anything. Giving yourself a parody agency name like ‘we are Falcon’, ‘Starchy and Starchy’ or ‘BB8’ may seem amusing, but will it get you remembered? Not if you don’t do anything to back it up.

What I haven’t seen yet, is a team who have changed their names to something unique and original by deed poll, so there’s one option. Or maybe you could get married and be known by your shared surname, there’s another option.

Your website is your digital canvas. Your front door to the world. Your “how you doin?”. Simply putting your brand logos in square boxes isn’t really enough any more. You’re up against some serious competition. As creatives, we’re told to think outside of the box, so why have you made it 150px by 150px?

Use your art directional knowledge and create your own style that you’re proud of. Your website represents you, make it great. That doesn’t mean that everything needs to be mocked up, when you get into a crit, they may hate your idea and tell you to start again. Don’t waste valuable hours polishing marmite turds, unless those turds are the product of Latvian space traveling, Eurovision winning alpacas. The internet sure loves alpacas.

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Get noticed

So you’ve got a book, made a website and you’re looking for crits. But before you can get a crit, your first challenge is to get past the agency gatekeeper and receive a response from the person in charge of placements. You and every other ad student graduating this year... you may be waiting a while. Time to think about a way to skip that queue. What’s going to get you first in line? Maybe you’ll win an award, maybe you won’t. Then what?

Your portfolio shouldn’t just be about amazingly executed print ads, it should be full of big ideas that get people talking. Creating PR ideas will be part of your job role, so doing something that gets public intrigue before you’re even hired is certainly a good start. If you’re thinking about doing a stunt, don’t just do one for the sake of doing something different, and whatever you do, don’t post your favourite Creative Director a picture of your feet, accompanied with the message: “I’m trying to get my foot in the door.” That CD no longer likes you, and you didn’t even get the chance to say hello.

When I was a student, I was told about creative team Callum & Marc (now employed at BBH) who got their first placement through their Megabus Book. It was this idea that got me thinking about what I was going to do to get noticed. After a bit of thinking, I realised that the well known creative award the Cannes Lion, wasn’t actually a whole lion, it was only half a lion. So I created the back half as a new award for Cannes 2015, The Cannes Lion Arse Award. I sent it to Campaign magazine and tweeted about it like crazy, and ended up going with my creative partner to Cannes after receiving a number of placement offers. My university tutors didn’t understand the idea and were nervous about us putting it in our book, which goes to show, your tutors aren’t always right. Follow your instinct.

Antonia Jackson cannes lions

So you make ads, what else?

Agencies are looking for T shaped creatives, multi-faceted bi-lingual freaks of nature, or something like that. So take photos of your leftovers , illustrate awkward boner moments, blog about Phil Jones’ face, code, make short films, play the trombone, write slam poetry or paint using only the force of gravity.

If you have a skill, try incorporating this into a proactive idea. Make that art series featuring Kim Kardashian. Design that new product that cures man flu. Think about the take out. Do you want it to go viral? Do you want a journalist to write about it? Or do you just want it to be respected in the ad world? Whatever it is, make sure you’re getting it in front of the right people.

Think about what’ll interest the person who’s going to give you your first placement. They want to see that you’re hardworking, proactive, and good at problem solving. So maybe start there. Find a problem and solve it well. Really well. Look for insights, find a solution, and get it talked about. If you can get a stranger to share your content, then you’re on the right track. Social media should be your best friend. It’s your platform to communicate with the industry, use your Twitter profile like a CV. Cover it with your interests, post your work, follow Creative Directors and recruiters, partake in @oneminutebriefs, and hashtag strategically so the right people find it.

One minute briefs

And for god’s sake, Tweet at your favourite CD’s and be brave, ask them for a crit. The worst that can happen is they won’t reply. If they don’t, message them again with something different until they do.

Everyone’s making noise. Make yours ultrasonic.