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Arse baptism and creativity

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13:30 PM | 22 July 2016
by Mon Yeu Chan
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Hello reader, you may have clicked on this article because of a specific part of the title. I will get to that later. However, this article will be (a little bit) about myself and my experiences as someone new to the creative industries.

When looking at the FutureRising website, you are immediately presented with a plethora of relevant and insightful articles regarding the creative industries listed in the ‘Inspiration’ Section. However, before joining FutureRising, I myself had only a somewhat limited knowledge of advertising and the creative industry. I am not even sure if I would consider myself a ‘creative’. The only thing I had previously done that arguably pertains to the description was a young adult fantasy novel I wrote when I was fifteen (which I had read recently and subsequently burnt all evidence of, lest it evokes further spasms of embarrassment). Yet I have found a veritable smorgasbord of roles that revolve around creativity: Planners, Copywriters, Art Directors - a variety of jobs in which one may allow his/her ‘creativity’ to flourish.

I have since sought to find out more about the industry through the FutureRising website. And, of course, the first thing I clicked on was ‘What Pokemon can teach you about being a great creative’ by Ricky Richards. There are other pieces of great advice available. For example, Gemma Germains wrote a fantastic article about motivation. Vicki Maguire’s self-explanatory statement also stood out: “No one gives a shit about your degree. Energy and ideas trump a First every time.” A common theme of passion, diligence, and most importantly, fun(!) dominate professional views.

I shall, however, proceed from this wall of professional opinions that I have erected, and speak about my experience with FutureRising.

My first encounter with FutureRising was at their creative workshop that hosted multiple speakers from a range of media and advertising companies, such as BrandPie and BrainLabs in 2015. It was in this event that I experienced the challenges FutureRising set in their networking sessions for undergraduates/graduates. These typically consist of a brief, random allocation to teams, one-hour planning, and a 90 second presentation. The hypothetical task was to suggest a campaign for a telephone helpline charity. I was proud of my team’s achievement within the time constraints as we came up with an imaginative narrative of a London Underground trip where the individual’s journey is punctuated by stops that are associated with emotions e.g. Debden = Depression (because who actually likes Underground journeys?) The journey, however, would ultimately culminate into the individual’s arrival at a bright and open King’s Cross station where a friend would help carry his/her baggage. #BeAFriend. The activity was an enjoyable experience, and our team won the ‘Velocity’ book prize, provided by FutureRising.

My second experience with FutureRising was at their ‘Smart F*ckers’ event with CP+B in July 2016. As Tom Withers Green in his article, ‘Don’t just be another CV’, aptly describes, CP+B is a pretty ‘cool office in Kings Cross’. During the event I gained insight into the creative process behind CP+B’s work, which included advertisements for Turkish Airline using popular cultural icons, such as Superman and sport celebrities. Key advice included the need for hard work, having an opinion and the balance of fighting for your opinion, whilst also knowing when to compromise. Like the first event, ‘Smart F*ckers’, was a brilliant and educational session. I found myself drawn to the creatives; perhaps it’s just my affinity to passionate people who love doing their work. They carry a certain aura about them - a certain energy.

As per usual, FutureRising gave us a team challenge in the evening. CP+B’s brief was an interesting one. It revolved around the advertisement of a product called Tushy - ‘a lil’ bidet that clips onto your toilet and sprays your butt super clean!’ The product sought to change behavioural patterns by emphasising how water naturally cleans better than paper. ‘Would you clean your teeth with toilet paper?’ (SLIGHT WARNING - do not google Tushy. If you wish, do it on Incognito or just search for the product at Tushy.me)

Now that you’ve got the context, the title should hopefully make a bit more sense. My team generated a couple of ideas to tackle the challenge. I would like to highlight that the other teams’ ideas and presentations were also quite impressive. I particularly liked one team’s toilet roll vs water pistol fight, which could be gamified. However, the ‘royal flush’ and ‘arse baptism’ won the day (and the ‘Limitless’ book prize) - due to its humorous and, in David Buonaguidi’s view, slightly ’naughty’ approach in advertising a product based around cleaning one’s anus. In my opinion, our presentation definitely wasn’t perfect, but the idea was certainly bold and possessing the potential to be developed. Bold in wording and practical at some level. We certainly took Arjun Singh’s advice during the one-hour planning to go with the idea that made us go ‘hmmmmmm’.

Contrary to the viral YouTube video called ‘Don’t hug me. I’m scared.’, being creative isn’t as chaotic (ok, perhaps not completely chaotic) as depicted, and is of course a lot of fun. And there are brilliant people who make careers out of it. The challenges FutureRising set in their events are perfect opportunities for anyone to be creative and generate ambitious ideas. Indeed, you’d be surprised at what people can come up with!

In a way, this article is a sort of #promotion for #FutureRising in terms of their importance. It is through FutureRising that I was able to meet so many creative people, hear their journeys, and in the process, be inspired. I am fortunate to have obtained an internship with them and I am sure they will continue to play an important role in my future with more fantastic opportunities. (Here’s hoping for a third book, maybe?)

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