By Josie Finlay
Getting over myself
The other day at school, someone said something that made me realise I’m not sure I’ve been going about doing all this advertising stuff right at all. They were talking about a campaign they’d done, and they weren’t sure whether to keep it in their book. ‘It’s a bit weird,’ they said, ‘but my mates love it’.
This was a completely alien concept for me. None of my mates love any of my campaigns. That’s mainly because none of my mates have seen any of my campaigns. To be honest, the idea of showing them scares me.
Some of my least favourite moments of this year have been those times when you hand your book over at a crit. Then you wait while the creatives flick through the whole thing, before they give you feedback all in one go. The Long Flick. I have to literally sit on my hands and bite my tongue to stop myself from caveating each campaign. ‘Oh, that’s kind of just scamps, we only came up with it this week.’ ‘Haha, yeah not sure the copy is quite right on that one!’ ‘Yeah that one’s old, not sure it quite makes sense?’ My new technique to distract myself during The Long Flick, is scribbling down some fake notes on something we’re working on, while covering my eyes with my hand so I can’t see which campaign they’re looking at. Every so often I’ll break the silence with a comment to my partner like ‘Warm in here isn’t it’. For some reason The Long Flick just feels so exposing, like they’re leafing through big pictures of my bum.
And it would be even more squirmworthy showing my work to my mates outside SCA. Even the most senior ECDs have been through the whole crit saga before – they know what it’s like! My friends wouldn’t understand! What if they didn’t ‘get’ a campaign? It would be so embarrassing!
What I’ve been doing is a crime, really. I’ve let my work sit in the dark and wallow there between crits. My posters are lonely, my experiential ideas are bored and my cute little DM ideas have vitamin D deficiencies. So I’ve decided that this precious attitude of mine has got to be the first thing to change: in term 3, all my campaigns are going to have to go through the mate test. SCA mates are fine, but outside mates are even better – they’re the ones who ads are for, really. People who don’t get clever references to old ads, or niche in-jokes birthed in the depths of St Matthew’s Church. People who don’t actually want to look at ads at all.
The mate test is for me as much as for the quality of my work: I’ve got to learn to show my stuff to people with pride, and not as if I’m at the doctor with a vaguely embarrassing skin condition. It’s time for some real self-care. Because if you don’t love your own book, how in the hell is anyone else gonna love it?