Monday, November 26, 2012

Do You Like Flying?

In my new job, it looks like I am going to be flying quite a bit. From Sydney to Melbourne. This is good because I really like Melbourne, although I'm less keen on airport coffee, putting my laptop in a grey plastic tray, and having to take my belt off in a public place.

But Australia is a flying country. There are two main advertising centres - Sydney and Melbourne - and so people fly regularly between the two. 
America is also a flying country.

If you work in advertising over there, you will fly nearly all the time. Sometimes excessively. I know someone who works at Crispin Porter in Boulder. They fly regularly to meetings with a client in Seattle. Recently they shot a TV ad for this client, which involved flying to New York. But then the job was edited in LA. And for the sound, obviously, they flew to San Francisco. Before flying back to Boulder.

France, however, is a non-flying country. Every single ad agency is in Paris. If you go to a client meeting, it's a 20-minute taxi ride. Shoots? The studios and sound studios are in Paris too.

The UK is another non-flying country. Like France, nearly all the ad agencies are in the capital. And so are many of the clients. Exception - for 9 months of the year, location-based shoots have to be shot abroad, since the weather's unreliable, and the world-as-depicted-in-TV-ads requires smiley happy weather.

What's it like in Brazil? Germany I know has several centres, but for some reason I imagine people might take the train between them.

And what's your experience of work-flying?

I actually suspect flying is probably conducive to creativity, in that you're out of the office for a while, out of your normal environment, and can't use the internet.

Does it help you? Or do you hate it... and have you got any tips for your ol' buddy Scamp?

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Myth That 'It Helps To Have Contacts'

Young creatives are always worrying about how they can 'get in front of' an ECD.

If only they had 'a contact' at Droga5, or 'knew someone' at Saatchi & Saatchi, they could get in there, and get a job.

They view the agency world as some kind of closed society, which if only they could become a member of, they would be set.

This thinking is wrong, and could lead to a dangerous lack of focus on what's really important - doing great work.

I say this even though part of what helped me get an interview for my new job (one week in - and loving it) was a recommendation from a well-known figure in the agency world. But the reason he recommended me was that he liked the work I had done when I spent some time in his agency.

The first job I ever got was via a headhunter calling in books on behalf of a young art director looking for a writer at Saatchi's in London. I didn't know anyone there. My second job, at a small 'youth-focused' agency, was actually advertised in Campaign. The ad read: 'Wanted: Creative Team. No Wankers.' Admittedly, that should have been a warning sign. But nevertheless, the job didn't come through contacts. Next job, at Ogilvy, was again via headhunters collecting books for a CD. Next job, at DDB London, came after my partner and I won something called the Cannes Young Creatives competition, where we represented the UK (failing miserably) at Cannes. One of the judges was the ECD of DDB, and he liked our work. Thereafter, we started winning a few awards and so any job offers came via people knowing our work.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, everything came via doing work that people liked, and not by contacts. 

There's an analogous situation in Hollywood. There, young writers are always trying to get an agent, believing that if only they could get in front of one, their career would take off. But agents themselves have an amusing piece of advice for young writers. The advice is: First, write a great screenplay. Then, dig a hole in your garden, bury the screenplay in the hole, and go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, there will be thirty agents waiting outside your house.

In other words, it's all about doing great work.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I've Been Snared

Thieves are 'nabbed',  football managers are 'installed', and I (according to the mighty Campaign Brief) have been snared, to be the new Head of Ideas at Naked.

Here's their article.

I know I look pretty grim in the photo - always had a terrible photo-face - but in actual fact I am feeling very, very excited.

Naked has been doing cool work recently, such as Speed Kills and Steal Banksy.

The place is packed with super-smart people.

And the culture is very forward-thinking, very collaborative.

Heck, saying I'm excited is an understatement. The best way I can put it is that I feel like I did when I first got into advertising. That there's huge potential to do exciting creative stuff. And that it's going to be fun.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

God Is Now Advertising. Can He Be Stopped?

Churches have always made use of their signage to broadcast simple pro-superstition messages.

But I've noticed a worrying new trend - they're now actually trying to write proper ads. Here are some recent examples I've seen around town: 

It kind of offends me that they're using modern advertising imagery and language - albeit poorly - to push this two-thousand-year-old nonsense.

So I'm planning to strike back.

My idea is to use their own media against them. I'm going to print up a few posters, and stick them up over church signs in my area. 

N.B. these aren't the final layouts, they're just rough scamps, but I do think they should be all-type like this, since that style is probably still better known than the newer stuff.

So what do you think? Which execution(s) should I go with?

(If you don't rate any of them, suggest your own).