Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Tip No.53 - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job, by Ed Morris

Ed Morris, ECD at Lowe, has written this excellent guide, which apparently is handed out to all teams starting on placement at his agency, and that I hope he won't mind me re-printing:

“If you are a placement team at Lowe you should do this…

Show me an idea at least every 12 hours (1 working day) without fail.

Make your presence felt. Out of sight out of mind. Out of mind, no job.

Fuck the system. No one in the agency should come between you and your future. Walk straight in. It doesn’t matter how good you are if I don’t get to find out how good you are.

Focus on the work. Don’t try and be my friend.

Work on briefs that you haven’t been given. Run your own show, don’t wait for someone to walk in and “take care of you”. Respect the traffic department, but remember thy work for you, you don’t work for them. Ask them for the briefs you want; tell me if you don’t get them.

Get under the skin of a product and a brief. Don’t show me work that the rest of the department might do. I don’t need people to do what we already can.

Don’t show it to me unless you like it or you think it’s good. That’s how I find out if you’re good.

You’re not here to solve a brief. You’re here to be brilliant.

If you don’t feel you can demonstrate your capabilities with the briefs we have, do it another way. Show me any idea for any brand on any problem.

Don’t join the club, there isn’t one. You’re not here to make a load of friends and get to know the local pubs. You’re unemployed, remember that. And, if you are any good you should be trying to make the rest of us look stupid.

If you put the effort into the work I’ll put the effort into you and helping you.
But it works that way around. It’s got to start with you.

Be confident, have faith in yourselves, work hard. Look after the work and the work will look after you. A placement is a moment in time. Seize it.

…or leave.”

via Dave Trott's Blog and creative in london.

Previous Tips:

How To Get The Best Out Of Directors; Don't Write Ads, Write Strategies; How To Choose Where To Work; Working Outside London; What Would John Webster Do?; What Would Paul & Nigel Do?; The Hidden Flaw; How To Write Copy; Be Funny All The Way Through; How To Do Virals; How To Get A Pay Rise; Be Wary Of Punding; Challenge The Brief; Tell The Truth; Playing To Lose; How To Write Headlines; How To Do Direct; How To Do Radio; How To Do Press; How To Do TV; How To Do Digital; How To Do Posters; Look At Weird Shit; Presenting To The Client; Presenting To The Team; Presenting To The Creative Director; How To Deal With Rejection; Look Creative; Don't Be Afraid To Ask; Your Idea Has To Be 120%; Read Iain's Tips; Don't Behave; How To Discuss Ideas; Read Hugh's Tips; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ; Make Friends With Traffic; Get Reference; Don't Stop Too Soon; Be Very; Breaking Up; Working Well With Your Partner; Finding The Right Partner; How To Approach Agencies; Never-Seen-Before Footage; Dicketts' Finger; Two Blokes In The Pub; Play Family Fortunes; Should You Take A Bad Job?; Don't Overpolish


Anonymous said...

Great advice, but that would probably scare the shit out of me if I was working as a placement team at Lowe. Still - pretty good to know that placements are taken seriously there.

Anonymous said...

Yup - Ed looks scary.

Anonymous said...

Crikey, If I was required to put that much effort in, I'd want more than a job at Lowe at the end of it.


Anonymous said...

Top advice from a top bloke.

We worked under him on a placement many moons ago and he is true to his word. If you give a fuck. He'll give a fuck.

Gets great coke too.

Anonymous said...

"Show me an idea at least every 12 hours (1 working day) without fail."

a 12 hour workday? (for virtually no pay)

...uh wasn't slavery abolished awhile back?

great idea though: burn 'em out before they even get a job...then there will be less competition.

honestly: the egos in this business are astounding.

Anonymous said...

scamp we've read and reread this 100 times already on at least 3 other blogs... give us something freeeeeesh!

Anonymous said...

As the great philosopher David Brent once said 'put in the work and the rewards are obvious, so...'

Anonymous said...

Simon et al: For your clueless American readers: What is a "placement?"

(We don't have them here, or at least we don't call it that.)

Can't tell if it's an internship or a freelance gig.

Guessing it's the former?

Anonymous said...

Sounds ridiculous to me.


Anonymous said...

Is this a parody? He makes it sound like you're joining the SAS.

Fuck the system! Yeah, fuck the system! Just as soon as you've finished working your 12-hour days unpaid in the slim hope of getting a low-paid job in an agency full of self-seeking tossers!

And remember you're unemployed! Yeah, in case the lack of a pay cheque every week and nightly ration of own-brand baked beans doesn't jog your memory!

Anonymous said...

hey american anon:
yes, a placement is an internship... though i believe in the states, interns are at least paid minimum wage? am i right?

here (at least in london) they're only reimbursed for travel costs. which is INSANE given how expensive it is to live here.

it's a big scam really. at least in the states young creatives have the option to attend one of the many "creative advertising" schools (ie. creative circus, miami ad school, etc) in hopes of building a solid first book within a year or two (max). sure, those schools aren't cheap:

but at least you're guaranteed exposure to MANY good creative directors: and can develop your skills (and make worthwhile industry connections amongst your fellow students that will last throughout your entirety in the business) while also having enough time to bartend (etc) and earn enough to live on. what you pay in tuition you save in self respect and morale. plus, chances are that once you finish your book at an ad school you're not wrinkled and disgruntled from fetching tea and kissing ass.

not to mention the fact that after you finish your placement, you're not even guaranteed a job: talented or not. at least the ad schools have loads of connections and can help you get a job after your experience there.

someone should start an ad school in london and help these poor sods out.

Darcie said...


Anonymous said...

Agree with everything. I got hired off of placement because I would write 100 headlines for campaigns nobody cared about.

There is too much medicore talent and passion out there, so someone on placement really needs to prove themselves.

Anonymous said...

coming from a team on placement at one of the best agencies in london. you can do all you can. do great work. and we still feel like we are treated like shit. because they can. whatever happened to the D&AD guide on placements... that just dissolve away?

Anonymous said...

dear anon 8:56:

quit immediately. the only good that can come of the situation you describe: you will sour on the "biz" even before you are actually "in" it...and so all that sweat will have been for nothing.

get your shit together and get yourself a real job: that way you can at least get paid to feel like shit.

though i hope things turn out better than that for you!! good luck!

Anonymous said...

i was always told these things and it led to nothing but panic and sleepless nights ... in the end it just matters how brilliant, passionate and nice you are or not. i hate advice like that. pure ego bullsh*t.

Alan Wolk said...

@anon 7:14pm

I'm the American, but not another "anon"
Thanks for answering though.

Just so you feel better: bartending will not pay for ad school tuition, which can be as much as $20K a year. Many of the kids are parentally subsidized (e.g. mom and dad see are paying for Susie's law school so why not Mary's ad school)

Those without generous (and well-off) parents often have loans to pay off on top of whatever loans they took out to pay for college. (American ad schools are post-grad programs - VCU even grants a Master's degree.)

And with dozens of ad schools pumping out hundreds of juniors every year, not all of them are getting jobs. Let alone good jobs.

So as you might expect, many American juniors complain that UK juniors have it good with internships that let them bypass the whole ad school process. Grass is always greener and all that.

Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I've met Ed several times, for lunch and actually had an interview with him, and he is a very passionate about ads and also a decent man, he is not scary by any means.

I think when you read this in black and white on a blog it has no tone of voice.

I'm sure when Ed explains what he expects from a placement team face to face, it would come across in a different way.

The subject of paying placement teams I believe sets a tone for the whole agency. Don't rip them off, pay them what you can, and that means minimum wage at the very least. Set a time limit on the placement or trial period and stick to it. Don't keep people dangling for a job that will not be there, its unfair and selfish.

Encourage teams, be there to give them advice and back them up. Expect them to work hard to prove themselves sure, but good people who want to do well put that pressure on themselves.

I've heard of placement teams being at a certain agency until 4am working to crack a brief and then expected in at 8.30 to show the CD, and they were grateful for a cab home and some pizza. What sort of agency has that sort of culture?

Not mine.

I think what Ed is doing is setting the rules, and that can only benefit everyone.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Come on El Scampo. This is a bit lazy rehashing an old article from another blog. Put something up that's controversial. Like "Planning. Money for old rope?" or "Birds in agencies. Nice jugulons?" or how about the perennial favourite "I'm right, everyone else is wrong (ie planning)." And don't forget "Cats. Twats or what?"

Anonymous said...

To an ECD

Seriously which agency do you work for?

Anonymous said...

Posting something that was on Wal's blog months ago. Scamp, you've hit a new low.

Scamp said...

Apologies to those who have read this advice before, I realise it doesn't make me look good.

But that's not why I posted it. I actually think it will be useful for young teams to read - many have not seen it before, because Wal and Dave Trott's blogs (while both excellent) are relatively new and don't yet have the readership that this blog does.

Anonymous said...

to anon 10.56 yesterday this is anon 8.56

its a hard trade off. we are sticking with it for now.
although im not sure how much longer we can take this for.

Scamp said...

Also, I'm now going to file it next to the previous post I wrote myself about How To Get A Job From A Placement. It makes an interesting comparison I think. A lot of people read all the tips straight through; I wanted Ed's words to be part of that continuum. That way, future generations of students can be as appalled by my idiocy as you lot are.

Anonymous said...

re Anon @ 9.19

Can I ask why you would like to know?


Anonymous said...

Ok, here's my take on this from the other side of the fence, having recently turned a placement into a job:

"Show me an idea at least every 12 hours (1 working day) without fail"

I agree with the showing an idea every day thesis. Why wouldn't you? This will help you as much as it will anyone else. You're there to learn and to impress. Suck as much feedback out of the people around you as you can.

"Make your presence felt. Out of sight out of mind. Out of mind, no job."

Absolutely. You're finally in an environment where the chances are, there's a lot of people with similar ingredients to those that you contain.

Just do the simple things. Introduce yourself properly to people. Make brews. Get involved.

"Focus on the work. Don’t try and be my friend."

Do both.

You're there to get a job. that's paramount. Your book will be the main tool in getting you a job. But a good personality can go a long way too. Don't stick your head up anyones arse, but just make friends with people.

Nowt wrong with that. It's part of the 'make your presence felt' thing in my opinion.

"Work on briefs that you haven’t been given etc...."

You should already be looking at the clients the agency has before you get in on placement. So this should come naturally. Spec ideas are good. It'll show you're always thinking and keen. Pro-active is good.

"I don’t need people to do what we already can"

From what I've seen most agencies take this stance. You probably already know this, as I did, but it just means that you need to make yourself individual. In the work you do. In your approach. Even in the brands you choose for your folio.

"You’re not here to solve a brief. You’re here to be brilliant"

Can be the same thing. I think he means to not hold back here. Think big.

"If you put the effort into the work I’ll put the effort into you and helping you"

Fair enough. I have done some 12 hour days since I got my job, and weekends etc. It's just common sense. Show that you really want the job, 'cos there's plenty of people out there who do.

There's always someone with a better book than you. But can they work as hard? Can they show as much willing? Be as eager to learn and to develop?

I'm pretty sure my determination and effort won me the job as much as my book.

"A placement is a moment in time. Seize it"



I agree that when you read that on paper, it does sound intimidating. Basically it just means show me that you want it. And you do don't you? Get in early, leave late. Work lots. Be as creative as possible. Put yourself about.

At the risk of sounding twatty myself: Steve Prefontaine said he didn't run a race to see who was the quickest, he'd run to see who had the most guts.

It's kinda like that, for me.

Anonymous said...

Bit Righteous in my opinion!

It's kinda gets the creative adrenaline going but i think you shouldn't be in advertising if you need this kind of kick up the butt to do well!!

And apparently Ed's actually a nice guy even though he comes across like a hard arse!

Anonymous said...

Righteous is necessary in this industry.

I agree with all he wrote.

Anonymous said...

To an ECD

Because i want to work for you!


Anonymous said...

I think if you are the kind of person that grumbles about how badly placement teams are treated and how cruel agencies are to take them on and pay them badly, then I suspect Ed probably isn't talking to you.
If you are unemployed, walking the streets knowing that you are better than most of the wankers currently working in advertising, and wondering what you've got to do to get a job (rather than just another bloody waste-of-time two week placement) then you can probably hear what Ed is saying.

Anonymous said...

Enthusiastic young teams get hired. The world vs me teams don't. Simple as that. Not many books stand out a million miles from the rest these days. What does stand out is when placement teams show a desire to work, listen and learn. It's 50% talent and 50% attitude when you are a young team.

Nobody wants to hire a team that walks around the creative department all day sulking because they haven't got enough money to get a Hoxton haircut.

If placement teams spend all their youthful energy reading shite blogs like this and moaning, then fuck knows what they'll be like in 5 years time...

Anonymous said...

They'll be like Scamp.

Anonymous said...

re an ECD @ 6.28 am.

No I want to work for you.

Which Agency do you work at?

Anonymous said...

All ok with working hard but what about sweatshops like Fallon or Mother? Is it ok that they use their profile to get cheap labour? Isn't that the same thing high profile fashion designers do in Vietnam?

Anonymous said...

ECD & Anon - get a frickin room! If either of you have the balls to say who you are!

Which I don't, by the way.....

Anonymous said...

No need to bring Nam into the debate! It was a mistake - everyone knows that.

Anonymous said...


Signing yourself as Dave Trott isn't allowed.

Even if you ARE him.

Anonymous said...

What amazes me is how easily CDs forget how hard it is to be out there walking the streets. I wish more of them treated young teams as they'd have liked to be treated themselves.

The CD's Amnesia that's fucking horrible illness.

Scamp said...

Second 11.52 - it IS allowed now. I just changed the rules. Mwah ha ha ha ha.

Anonymous said...

what do people think of the new department of health alcohol ads from VCCP, personally i like them.

Anonymous said...

They're ok but I don't think they work at all.

With all the Lindsay Lohans and Amy Winehouses, being seen dragged out of a club with xtacy coming out of your arse and no kickers it's not humiliating, anymore it's glamourous. That's what celebrities do and they're cool hence there's nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

They make me crave a drink. They've made all the beer and wine and stuff looks so damn delicious.

Anonymous said...

I think the hardest thing to do on that list would be to get in to see him every 12 hours.

Anonymous said...

work hard and be nice. if you are good, you will be rewarded.

everything else is bullshit. and fuck the cash. it comes your way.

Andy B said...

What about the hoo hah about Heinz removing the ad showing the New York Deli bloke kissing the other bloke.

Apparantly all the gays are boycotting Heinz products AND all the anti-gays are boycotting them too. Holy moly.

Anyway the latest is that Heinz are bringing out a Baked Bean & Pork Sword variety to appease the gays.

And Baked Bean & Curtain of Beef variety to appease the homophobes.

Ooooh extra suce matron?

My word verification is spematozoa.

Anonymous said...

placement sounds medieval and inefficient. give them some money. that's what makes a job real. duh!

ed is right. in advertising you're on your own and the sooner you realize that the better. so overcome your reticence fast. who dares wins etc really applies here.

duncan said...
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Anonymous said...
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