What was your first ever job?
Setting up a car washing company when I was eleven years old. I’d pay my younger brother and his friends to wash the cars and take a cut.
How did your career in advertising begin?
Doing photography for student events at my university. It sounds small, but it all snowballed from there. I got involved in designing the ads, then I started getting involved in running the events and then I started running my own using my own ideas. When it came to getting my first ‘grown up advertising’ job a degree helped, but this kind of experience clinched it for me.
How did you get your first job?
I stalked the (then) digital director at my current agency and sent him emails till he had to email back. He invited me for a ‘chat’ with a short energetic pink haired Creative Director who gave me a terrifying 15 minute interview then sent me out the office to find out as much as I could about football and Japanese teenagers (…she still owes me an explanation for that). The next day I presented back what I’d learnt and that afternoon I was hired.
What’s your biggest achievement?
My biggest ‘personal’ achievement was setting up a three-week internship scheme for the agency and hiring young people out of it. I’m passionate about helping other young people get their foot through the door of the creative industries. Our work in this industry can be fantastic and exciting, but short lived and forgotten in the face of the ‘newest shiny thing’. Using your own experience and imagination to help someone get their first job in this industry is a lasting and tangible difference that will never go away. Biggest ‘professional’ achievement was probably the first time I presented work to a room full of clients without being sick.
What’s the best thing about your job?
What’s the worst thing about your job?
People with an industry definition for what an idea is.
If you could work with any brand what would it be and why?
Client side with Twitter, The BBC or any other brand which is pushing the boundaries on how humans communicate with one another and share experiences.
Name three things that inspire you.
- Blank notebooks.
- Nice quiet spaces to think.
- That moment when someone on the X Factor isn’t shit.
If you could share a desk with anyone, who would it be?
What’s your one piece of advice for students looking to get into advertising?
Don’t presume the person with the marketing or advertising degrees will get the job. It’s going to the person who can demonstrate a curious mind, imagination, common sense and initiative. A marketing or advertising degree can be a great introduction to the industry, but it can’t give you these things.
Don’t interview for a job unless you know what it’s about. No one expects you to understand each job in detail, but they will want you to at least know about the three rough areas - client services, strategy and creative.
Don’t get ahead of yourself in an interview. Make sure you have thought about the basics. Can you explain what a brand is? Can you talk about your ten favorite brands and why you like them so much?
Don’t use wanky marketing trigger phrases. Just don’t, unless you’re comfortable looking like an idiot. Enough people in this industry speak wanky marketing talk that doesn’t mean anything. Your interviewer probably isn’t looking to hire more.
Don’t forget that everything we create is designed with people in mind. If you aren’t a people person you need to rethink your career choice. Ideas, campaigns and designs are only good if people connect with them – otherwise they’re just shiny, expensive and forgettable.
Don’t think the hard work stops once you’ve got your foot through the door. You need to do some great work very quickly to catch the eye of somebody with more experience than you, and then ask this person to be your mentor.
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