By Ludo Thomas
Do I have a passion?
“Show your passion projects, people want to see what things you like outside advertising…”
“Don’t bother with that extra fluff, no one really cares.”
Different people say different things, making it difficult to really know what to do, but if I think about it, I guess it’s better to have something in there than nothing. But then here’s where I stumble, you see, I was never the arty kid at school, I never came home with any great drawings or sculptures, instead I would come back with some misshaped, grotesque clay object and when my parents asked…
“err..what is it?” I would say it was then the reality dawned, that I was never going to be Michelangelo…for the record it was obviously a hedgehog.
You see for me it’s always been sport, that’s where my passion lies (other than ads). Throwing, kicking, running, either one, even for hours on end I’d be happy. Growing up with three brothers out in the sticks in the welsh mountains meant it’s all we had. If I turned around and said…’sorry fellas, I think I’ll stay in and draw a picture today’… I’d have ended up with three dead arms and I’d have been in goal. And so when it comes to the question of filling the book with the things I love it gets a little tricky, maybe I’ll throw in the 14 X-rays I’ve had over the years.
But thinking about it, sport has more things in common with advertising than people think. And I’ll use last nights boxing fight between Anthony Joshua and Vladimir Klitschko as an example. In both arts the pressure is incredibly high. There are expectations in both jobs, for Joshua he had the boxing world on his shoulders, with a perfect record 18-18-0, 90,000 fans in Wembley were expecting him win. In advertising deadlines are constant, the client is paying, and your credibility is constantly on the line, one slip up and you could be on the canvas.
Like advertising, in sport the unexpected always happens. Klitschko, age 41, 14 years older than AJ, showed age was just a number, so agile and light on his feet, devious and still one hell of a fighter, he put AJ on the floor in the 6th and very nearly spoiled the party. Advertising throws curve balls, at SCA Marc is constantly launching missiles so you’ve got to be ready to duck and react to the things you didn’t see coming.
Teamwork, it’s what agencies are built on, the mixing of different skills makes the best agencies tick. Steve Henry came into the studio this week, he reminded us to focus on what we’re good at and by perfecting that one skill agencies will value it and find a place for you. You then become a valuable cog in a much bigger team. And just like ad land, teamwork runs through the seams in sport, even in individual performances like boxing. Both boxers last night have some of the best back room support in the business, and if the boxers are the machines then these guys are the mechanics who build the engine.
Lastly training and determination. AJ spends hours a day shadow boxing, working on combinations, working on power, endurance and speed. He is constantly learning and developing his game, last night the one looming question was whether he could go the distance, he’d never been tested before. Hearts were in mouths as he looked legless in the 6th, a walking punching bag for Klitschko, we thought it was over, but his training had been done, and then the world saw his grit, he dragged himself off the floor and punched his way into the sporting stardom…they’re called fighters for a reason.
Advertising is tough, it’s competitive, it’s combative, you got to fight for ideas, you’ve got to work hard, harder than your opposition, you must put the hours in to develop and push your skills. Standing still will only make you a target. SCA has been a great gym in which to train, we’re coming to the end but there is still much to learn, much to develop, and still plenty of time to show your grit.
Maybe I’ll put sport in the back of my book after all.