All Posts in grads

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: //

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.


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.

April 13, 2016

Meal Of Fortune | Episode Two

So that thing you now all know and love Meal Of Fortune happened again. And on a Friday night, super COOL. This time we sent out Rob and Sam from Grey with a rather lovely placement duo called Alex and Emily.

I'll let them do the talking... but all in all it looked, well sounded, like a ruddy fun night.

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January 28, 2016 - Comments Off on CS Presents | Innovation vs Creativity

So hopefully the years got off to a good start and you're beginning to think about all those great cultural events you love to attend midweek. If that just so happens to be true, you're in luck, Creative Social have got a bamboozlingly good line-up for their next night and they've been ever so kind to hand us a couple of tickets to give to a pair of budding young creatives.

The people you'll have the chance to get close to are: Ben Little from Fearlessly Frank, Caitlin Ryan from Cheil Worldwide, Chris Clarke from DigitasLBi, Nadya Powell from Sunshine, Sam Ball from M&C Saatchi & Victoria Buchanan from Tribal Worldwide.

The title for the evening as you may have noticed from up top is, "Innovation VS Creativity" but if like me that isn't quite enough information for you to go on they've given us a little more.

"Over the last few years the industry has been fixated on the word innovation. But what does it mean? And what is its relationship with creativity? How are they different? Does it really matter?"

Sounds good right? If I haven't wetted your appetite enough for the event you can find out more info here.

If this sounds right up your street ping me an email and it could be your lucky day. All entries to:




December 8, 2015

Meal Of Fortune | Episode One

So Meal Of Fortune like totally happened last week, and from the sounds of things they all had a great time!

For this first never seen before event we brought together the lovely Paul and Laila (senior creatives at Karmarma) with hungry* Jess and Alicia (interning at Iris). This lovely couple of couples got to dine at advertising hotspot, Caravan on Exmouth market, with many a small plate to bond over whilst awkwardly finger bumping.
*for work and a just little bit for the food.

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November 19, 2015 - Comments Off on Girltastic | YCC X Creative Equals

We’ve made an observation. In universities, there are equal numbers of girls and boys who study advertising. However, by the time they get to signing their first perm contract, especially in creative, there are much higher numbers of boys than girls.

Something happens between leaving university and getting into the industry that makes girls quit or leave or change jobs.

We want to know what.

THUS, we will be launching a survey over the next few days to get to the bottom of it.

We will be partnering up with the wonderful Creative Equals to double team this problem and reach solutions based on what you guys need. If you lack female mentors, we’ll find you some. If you want to connect with more female peers, we’ll put on events. Whatever your answers reveal, we’ll do our best to make solutions that will make a difference to the problem.

We are seriously excited to be working with Creative Equals on this one because they are as hungry for answers as we are. This is a problem that contributes to the pitifully low number of female Creative Directors out there so we need to get our thinking caps on.

Watch this space, and in the mean time, check out: //

April 13, 2015 - Comments Off on Ready To Graduate?

There are about 6 weeks to go until you finish university and head into the ad industry. But are you ready for what really lays ahead? Has uni really prepped you for what happens next? Here are a few things that I’ve discovered along the way.

ready to graduate-01

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March 11, 2014 - Comments Off on What’s your AdMission?

Are you a second year student wanting to break into the advertising industry but are unsure whether you want to be a creative, a strategist, in client services or something techy? Or are you about to graduate and know what you want to be, but are looking for the big break ? Answered yes to either? Then listen up.

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May 24, 2013 - No Comments!

Calling all filmmakers, writers, designers, photographers, producers, advertising champs and all-round creative thinkers! Mother has teamed up with creative network Ideastap to bring you the ultimate creative challenge.

Type of brief: 10 briefs, 10 weeks.

Deadline: 1st July 2013

These 10 briefs tap into a multitude of different creative disciplines and offer up the chance to not only work on some of Mothers biggest clients but also to get your work judged by their Creative Directors. The briefs are released week by week and all close for submission on the deadline day, giving you the opportunity to enter as many or as few as you like! But with £500 prize money up for grabs for each, the incentive is there to pull your finger out and get cracking!

You can win up to £5,000, a six week paid internship at Mother London and have your work displayed in an exhibition of the best pieces at Mother London HQ. The competition has already started so click here to view the briefs.

Good luck!

October 23, 2012

NABS : Creative Speed Mentoring

Mandy & Laura of JWT did us a cheeky little favour last week, as we're quite stretched out here at the Monkey HQ. The keen eyed amongst you will have noticed our periodical invites asking people to send us their questions so that M&L could ask them on our behalf to some of the best Creative Directors at agencies in London, and that's exactly what they did... Some of the CD's included outgoing D&AD President Rosie Arnold, Karmarama's ECD Dave Buonaguidi, Albion's ECD Nick Darken, JWT's ECD Russell Ramsey, Proximity's ECD, Caitlin Ryan...quite an impressive attendance I'm sure you'll agree. Cue Mandy & Laura...

Last Thursday we went along to the first NABS creative speed mentoring event in Karmarama’s swanky new offices. We were given 10 minutes (which ended up feeling like three) to ask the industry greats anything we wanted, in our small groups of students to midweights. So before the event, we asked if there where any burning questions you guys had – and are responses varied from the regular ‘can I have a job?’ from @marcrayson to the down right silly 'if you could have one music track played behind you wherever you went why would it be?’ courtesy of @robbiefield1.

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April 18, 2012

UNITE V is coming. And we need you!

Why hello there young creatives. Are you looking for ways to get your foot in the door? Your first piece of advertising pie? The chance to write awesome pun metaphors for a living?

Well you have come to the right place.


Unite V is here.

We've been organising our portfolio events for over two years now, and each time we try and make them bigger and better than before. And we think this time, we've got something a bit special.

On the 9th of May the great and good of the advertising world will make their way down to Shoreditch to watch the next generation of creative talent (that's you lot) take centre stage. And we mean centre stage.

As well as the usual portfolio crits and mingling that we always have, this Unite we want you guys to step it up a notch.

One of the main areas of feedback we hear from CD's is that teams just aren't selling themselves enough. So this your chance to prove them wrong. You will have two minutes in front of an audience, to get your personal brand of creativity across. You can joke, sing, dance or simply wow us with your work - whatever you think it takes to get noticed.

We will have rather lovely comedian/superstar Eleanor Conway hosting the event and a winner will be picked at the end of the night. (Of course you'll still also be able to show your work at leisure after this).

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