Every junior creative out there knows the feeling: you’re working on a project, trying to come up with genius ideas, but everything you scamp up just seem quite shit. You compare all this to the award-winning work of industry legends and think: how will I ever be as good as them? 

That’s why Karina and Elise, a junior creative team at MullenLowe, wanted to organise a talk where inspiring creatives explained that even they had to start somewhere back in the day, and that it’s completely normal to feel like you’re shit once in a while. From Shit to Shit-Hot is the talk they wish they could have attended when they were still desperately looking for a job one year ago. 

On October 22nd, students and young creatives were welcomed to the MullenLowe offices for the “From Shit to Shit-Hot” event. After some mingling and snacking on mini-quiches, it was time to get started.

Karina and Elise opened the night by showing their worst scamps, some of them made just yesterday, others while studying Creative Advertising at Edinburgh Napier University. 

The first speaker of the night, Scarlett Montanaro, shared her struggle of being a social content creator for years without ever having the opportunity to work on the real advertising briefs she wanted to do. She needed a creative escape so, together with her friend Charley, founded Crack+Cider, the world’s first shop for the homeless that allows buyers to purchase items most needed by rough sleepers. She credits her side hustle as what helped propel her into the job she wanted and now she makes amazing ads. Her valuable advice: 

  • Shit hot doesn’t come with age and experience
  • Don’t rely on agencies to hand you good briefs
  • If you came up with an idea, put it into your portfolio (even if you weren’t the one executing it)

Scarlett was followed by Stu Outhwaite-Noel, who courageously showed us some of the less inspiring (read: shit) ads he’s made over the years. The fact that someone as successful as the co-founder of Creature also messed up once in a while made everyone in the room feel a lot better about themselves. Especially inspiring was Stu’s visualisations of a creative career. You run into walls every year or so, that is completely normal. Another great visualisation was how your ego goes on a rollercoaster ride: one day you feel on top of the world, the next, imposter syndrome sneaks up on you. Major takeaway: the way from shit to shit hot is not without bumps, and even once you’re shit hot, you can still mess up sometimes.

After Stu, Jo Wallace shared her wisdom with the room. She told the story of how she started out writing poetry, before her Art Foundation Tutor pointed out that advertising might be the right career path for her. She made some “shit” work that might not feature in her portfolio, but that definitely entertained our audience! Jo pointed out that there’s few role models out there for young creative women: only 13% of creative directors are female! She founded Good Girls Eat Dinner, where women in the industry get together in an inclusive and open setting to listen to talks from inspirational women in between courses. Shit hot! If you want to join the Good Girls Eat Dinner mailing list, make sure to email Jo at

Last but not least, Jose Miguel Sokoloff, global CCO of MullenLowe, got handed the microphone. Without any slides, but on full inspiration mode. Jose, or JMS as most people call him, started off explaining an interesting fun fact about himself: he once told the pope to fuck off (accidentally). He then shared a bit of the story about how he went from being a small boy in Colombia to playing a major role in demobilising the guerilla and eventually becoming global chief creative officer at the agency. His valuable takeaway is to always be the creatives that are happy to make work- ANY work. Be the creatives that try hard to make great work and go the extra mile.

The room needed a moment to recover from JMS’ epic monologue, but then it was time to ask all four speakers a couple of questions. Wisdom was shared, contact details were exchanged, and then it was time for some more drinks and snacks. We believe we speak for everyone when we say that it was a relatable and inspiring night, that brought people that usually stand on a pedestal a lot closer to juniors. 

Hope you’ve enjoyed hearing some of our highlights from the night, keep your eyes peeled for the next “From Shit to Shit-Hot”!

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