At the beginning of term, we were told we would have an industry talk every Friday for the next five weeks. The talks would be delivered from various individuals from the design industry, ranging from Art Directors to Global Key Note speakers.
The first talk was delivered by global creative director Stefan Roux. The key message I took from his talk, was to be culturally aware of different advertising markets around the world. They do not all operate the same. An advert that is aired in Thailand, will not work in the same market in China or the west this is because they have different cultural values. For example, he mentioned 'to sell toothpaste in a UK market you would use a man in a white coat' however if you were to try and sell toothpaste within India you would use a Bollywood star and dance sequence, because it is culturally relevant. It is what people like to see. Another example included: Thailand/ ladyboys - funny - cultural relevance. If you are not culturally aware of the media within the country your working for in an ad agency, you will struggle to make a good ad. You need to explore the rest of the world other than UK as it will build you up better due to exposure to the different cultures and experiences.
Our second speaker was Cris Mascort, she was blunt and to the point. She explained that with advertising you need to stay humble and constantly thinking a head. Constantly look for problems before your creative director has thought of them. You need to have fun and enjoy it because if you become overly stressed, you will stress your team out and that’s not good for anyone. Be a designer as well as an art director as both qualities are admired by potential agency and ‘Fuck advertising’ you need to have other things than just work as they help to make you a well rounded individual. Another key message was; learn your craft. Be so good that agencies don’t take a second thought about hiring you. Understand the segment of design you want to work in e.g. UX, Graphic Design, Illustration etc.
The third speaker was Alex Towers from Ticket Master; the main message that stuck with me was; ‘You can work on something your passionate about, but you wont learn anything. If you work on something you’re not passionate about it will teach you to become a better marketer.’ Which I believe is so true, because by exploring the unknown you are broadening your own horizons and developing your own techniques which make you a more skilled individual. I found his talk to be one of the more inspirational talks we had, this is because he said he didn’t originally start out in the industry he ended up in. He started within a music studio and marketing CD promotions and ended up in ticket master. It just proves you need to explore further within your chosen industry, he also said you will make mistakes but you will learn from them.
Our fourth speaker was our lecturer Brian Sheppard – Account Manager, He explained his role as a suit who communicates between the client and the creative. He makes sure everything is on track and acts as the ‘go to’ who helps to make realistic judgements within a budget and what the client wants as ‘he influences without power’. The key message I got from his talk, was, you need to be a people person who can think on their toes. It is also a very well paid job the higher up you go, but the responsibility also increases, so some decide to stay lower because of the stress of taking on multiple accounts.
The final speaker we had was Dave Birss who is a global speaker. He has given talks at Google, BBC, D & AD and many more just to name a few. His talk was the best out of the five as it was in depth about his experience within the industry and why he quit. He was constantly reinforcing his message about if your creativity is compressed so much that you hate your job and don’t want to turn up to work, he said just get out. ‘You are not doing you best work’. It is not good for your health, nor is it good for your mental state. He told us a tale of when he was supressed so much by his creative director that he ended up being fired. Which turned out to be the best thing that could happen to him. He said that’s not to suggest you get fired but if the situation you are in does not feel right it probably isn’t. You have the power to change it.
To conclude, I found all the talks very beneficial; they all gave a unique view point on the creative industry. They fuelled my fire every week to better my work and push myself to improve. They all inspired me in their own way as I have always thought about travel for work, and by the first two speakers talking about what its like to travel, reinforced my urge to explore the industry beyond the UK. However, it also grounded me as it taught me, I needed to learn the industry before I take the next step. By understanding the basics, I would be able to build on my knowledge within the design industry. I also really liked how Cris Mascort described it. Like ‘Fuck Advertising’ don’t take it so seriously, have fun with your ideas and really push them to the max. By having a beer on a Friday night with the rest of the agency you get to meet people from the different departments and even come up with new ideas. By socialising your potentially opening doors for new and more work. It provides a chilled out environment to network. It pays off to have fun and to have other things outside of work that help to better your career.