Wednesday, 18 January 2017


We live in difficult times.  

Bankrupt economies, sluggish growth, Brexit and the continuing wars in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have cast uncertainty over many businesses.

Clients don't like spending money in the best of times.

They all want advertising for nothing.

Or they don't want advertising.

In 'adland' the fatted calf is being slowly starved. 

Its rib cage is prominent.

Tech companies, content agencies and start-ups are doing well but the traditional above-the-line agencies are struggling.

Some have a hiring freeze right now.

Very few agencies take on junior teams with the frequency they used to. 

So, if you are looking for an easy time in the next couple of years you are looking at the wrong business.

This doesn't mean that there aren't jobs out there. 

There are. 

It's just a different kind of person that's getting them.

You need the right folio. 

When I say the right folio, I mean the one that's right for you.

And the one that's right for the agency you want to work for.

The folio that shows off your individual taste.

The folio that shows you can solve difficult problems with a fresh solution. 

A solution no other creative team could have come up with.

The folio that shows that you understand the issues of the day.

The folio that demonstrates how you can improve an individual’s life.

The folio with big ideas executed across different media platforms.

The folio that shows craft skills, writing ability, art direction, design, software and social skills.

The folio with films you've shot on your phone at the weekend.

The folio with ads, games, business ideas.

The folio with a surprise on every page.

The folio that shows you are passionate about culture, creativity and humanity.

The folio that says, 'You've got to meet me.'

A good folio will contain 8 campaigns. 5 minimum.

People would rather see less work but of a higher standard. 

Don't put anything that you're not proud of just to make up a campaign. 

If you don't believe in it, why should anyone else?

Put the best campaigns at the front and at the back of your folio. 

Your folio should be balanced and varied. 

And every campaign and execution should be poster simple regardless of the media. 

You need a wide range of products and services with different tones of voice and different audiences throughout.

Be different.

Pick products that everyone else is doing and do them differently.

Pick products that no one else is doing.

If your idea is familiar, forget it. 

There is no point in going all the way to London to be told, 'It's been done before'.

Know your history and better it.

Ads are an intrusion.
Why should people stop and look at your ad? 

Unless your ads are interesting or emotional don't put them in your book. 

Work on them.

Or come up with some new strategies.

Work with emotional truths, in particular work with the emotion of your target audience.

You need to find a BENEFIT.  

A target audience is one person, so get your executions talking to that person. 

And talk to them in the way they talk.

Tone of voice is critical.

You don't want to sound like an ad.

You want to sound like a mate.

Reward your audience. 

Enlighten them, engage them, provoke them, tease them, flatter them, surprise them, bring tears to their eyes, make them laugh. 

Answer the punter's question, 'What's in it for me?' 

They want to be rewarded with fun, insight and something that is interesting. 

They want to be involved in your idea.

And if they can't be involved they want to share and talk about the idea.

If you cannot reward your consumer you need to get back to the drawing board.

Steer clear of long copy. 

A crisp headline. shows you can write.

So can a well written strap line.  

The art of writing is saying a lot with little. 

You can say a lot in 6 words.

Don't be worthy . 

And don't be dull. 

Your folio is you. 

It is your thinking. 

And it is your personality.

If you are a hard working, insightful and unique thinker it will show in your folio.

Creative directors will only hire you to make them look good.

Dogs smell shit. And Creative Directors smell dull.

If you can't imagine doing anything but working in advertising you'll get a job.

It might not be the day you leave college.

It might not even be the year you leave college.

But if you stick with it, work hard and believe in yourself you will get a job in advertising.

The hardest workers and the nicest people always get the jobs. 


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