Next Creative Leaders: Laura Petruccelli

Posted on Nov 02, 2016

What's your "How I broke into advertising" story?
I broke into advertising by pretending I was a strategist to get an interview inside Ogilvy Melbourne. They obviously saw this and said "This is a great creative portfolio, but this interview is for a strategy role." And I said "I strategically just got my foot in the door, does that count?!"

What made you put yourself forward for Next Creative Leaders?
I put myself forward because I'm proud to be a young woman in advertising and I'm making work that affects and helps other young women, namely the "Unacceptable Acceptance Letter" campaign that raised awareness for sexual assault victims on campus.

What piece of creative work are you most proud of and why?
In addition to the "Unacceptable Acceptance Letter" work, I'm also really proud of the "Ungiven Gifts" installation we did to warn people about how dangerous the roads in Victoria are near Christmas time. We had a really small budget, but we were able to make a big impact. And Victoria recorded its lowest road toll in 90 years.

You began your creative career in Australia. How was that different than working in the US?
Australia was the best place to learn. You had a quarter of the budget, and no celebrities, so you had to get PR another way. You had to get eyeballs by slapping people in the face a little. PR was our TV. You had to search harder for the right insight to catapult from, and that meant the work could really get into the fabric of the product or the people who used it.

Talk to me a little about your creative partnership, and how having that male/female partnership has shaped your experience?
Rohan and I have worked together for over seven years. We were each other's first creative partners at college! We can play every brief to each other's strengths and that's a huge advantage. Having both male and female perspectives means you don't really miss an insight, since you're coming at a brief from either side or gender.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I would love to say that I contributed to advertising that was both be entertaining and useful.

You have a pretty positive outlook on being a woman in our industry. Can you share?

I choose to think that I actually have the upper hand as a woman outnumbered. Sometimes the men we work with don?t expect us to impress them. I see that as an opportunity to really surprise them and maybe get them to rethink their whole thought process on the matter.

What excites you most about being a creative?
We have the power to create work that solves problems and makes you laugh or cry at the same time. It's an exciting time to be in this business.

You have been super thoughtful in approaching your career. Tell us a bit about that.
I follow the work I want to make. And the people I want to make it with. That has guided my and Rohan's career so far, and lead us to make work we care about. In that way, you're always thinking ahead. We spend so much time crafting our work. We need to spend the same time crafting our careers. What's the book you want to have? What work do you want to be famous for? Think that through and then go track it down.

You're a hybrid thinker in a traditional shop. Can you talk about that experience?
GSP has strong foundations in traditional work, yes, but their attitude as an agency has always been about embracing what's next. Finding new ways to speak to that one person. Rich, Margaret and Jeff want to take everything they have built to the next level, and to do that, there's kind of this need to let go of the past. That takes bravery and GSP can handle it for sure. They embrace it. Jeff talks a lot about the importance of ?unlearning? and I think that's at the heart of continuing a strong legacy as an agency. Unlearn what we thought we knew. Learn what's next.

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