By Ludo Thomas
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I suppose if you had it you’d be winning at life.
I came to SCA on a chance. I was in LA about to embark on a career in movie production, until one day I met a guy who told me about advertising, next thing I know I’m in sunny old Brixton dodging drunks on my way to one of the weirdest learning curves of my life.
And with only four weeks to go, looking back on it I wouldn’t have changed a thing. At least not in the sense of attending SCA, you see I wouldn’t have changed jumping on this rollercoaster, but I would have done a few things differently during the ride.
Here they are:
- Much more freestyling. Iv’e heard this word a few times this week so I know teams are now doing it, but it’s something I wish I did a little earlier — just picking a brand and running with it based on the knowledge I already had about it. Simply because you can get lost in research, it’s an easy thing to do, and often I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to make an idea plausible simply by backing it up with a bucket of facts. Relax, freestyle, see what comes.
This leads me on to number 2…
- The realisation that it’s all about the insights, and not the obscure ones that come from research, but those that as soon as you see them, you and everyone else just understand instantly. They demonstrate beautiful effortless thinking. An example of one I saw recently was for B&Q and it went ‘B&Q — the only place where men shop like women’ …once you read it no other explanation is needed, simply, bravo them. Simplistic, common known insights are king.
- Get critting sooner. I put crits off because I wanted to wait until I had great work to show, it’s not just about the book, meeting people in agencies and building relationships is vital, and your book will only get better after you’ve seen these creatives.
- Make dangerous work. Work that has an edge, has attitude and hasn’t been seen before. Never play it safe, always go nuts with it. It’s better to bring it back from nuts than to not be crazy enough.
- Trust the gut. Advertising it’s an art and therefore completely subjective. You get all sorts of opinions pulling you left right and centre. Listen to the ones you trust and stick to them. You’ll never please everyone, so don’t try.
- Work on non-D&AD briefs during D&AD. Looking back it was a massive misuse of time and in this game time is precious. Mentors will tell you this but you won’t listen.
- Use the mentors, they’re brilliant. I could’ve used them more, and they’re there for a reason so squeeze every last drop of that creative nectar from them.
- Get out the studio. Studio time is for town hall and masterclasses, other than that, get out, find a spot that works for you and get creative.