Crazy Like a Fox
By Brett McKenzie on Feb 14, 2020
Creatives share helpful — yet seemingly counterintuitive — advice.
The One Club for Creativity's Intern & Creative Networking Events start their trip through the 2020 calendar! Throughout the year, we organize free events in various cities around the US, all created to help ad industry newcomers learn a few new tricks as they hunt for their first big break. We're starting the year off next week in frosty Minneapolis, where creatives from the Twin Cities' most popular shops will share their thoughts and exchange business cards with the young and talented crowd.
Ahead of next Thursday's meet-up, we've asked the evening's panelists to give us a little twist. We wanted them to tell us a piece of industry advice they've heard or have offered that seemed weird and counterintuitive at first, but ended up being totally useful.
Group Creative Director
"I always tell young creatives to 'embrace the suck.' We all want things to happen quickly these days, but the creative process is slow and messy. You're gonna come up with a bunch of sucky ideas before you strike one that's halfway decent. I can be painful, but you can't cheat the process. Sucking is a necessary evil. So, instead of getting frustrated, stressed and calling yourself a total hack (all of which will slow you down and set you back) just embrace the suck and keep grinding. You'll get somewhere that doesn't suck a whole lot faster."
"You didn’t get the job you wanted? GOOD. Take another one, take the one that isn’t the sexiest one, the one that veers from the path you thought you would go. There is something to be said for getting that dream job, but there are so many other opportunities out there where you learn a lot; in-house creative, marketing firms, or smaller design shops that will give you foundational tools to excel as a creative. Take that job and hustle. Learn. Look for that boss that you can actually learn things from, not only creative things, but all things that will help you become the best creative professional you can be. Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn something new and push yourself. Then you will be ready once that dream job comes along."
Chief Creative Officer
"My advertising professor would constantly tell us to never take a job only for the money, to take it for the opportunity to do great work. When you've been eating Ramen noodles for four years straight and your credit card debt keeps growing like a python in a mouse den, the only thing you want to do is to start making money ASAP. But he was right. A couple of years into my career I was offered a job at a direct mail agency that would've nearly doubled my salary. I decided instead to pursue more creative opportunities and am 100% certain that I'm in a much better place in terms of creativity, money and happiness because of it. Not that I don't love direct mail. I mean, who doesn't?"
"I've never really received a piece of unusual advice before, but I will say the most jaw-dropping advice I've given is that if you don't live and breathe creativity to walk away and find a different career even if you just spent 4 years studying advertising or graphic design. Sometimes students are more comfortable with account or project management and its ok to admit you're not a creative."
"I also remind students graduating from midwestern schools to really look outside of our region because although there are still great places to work in the twin cities, they should get some experience in larger markets at some point to have a well rounded, fulfilling career."
"No one ever told me this directly, but it’s something my favorite boss instilled in me. When you’re first starting out, being an ad nerd, loving ads, etc, is nonessential. It’s actually a hinderance. It’s led to a lot of sameness in our industry, and, honestly, a lot of really bad ads. When I was in school I wasted tons of time immersing myself in ads and industry stuff that ultimately didn’t pay off, or was outdated by the time I was working."
"When you’re trying to break in, or move up in the world, the smartest use of your time is to bring something new and irreverent to this business. Figure out what you actually care about, what you actually think is worth talking about or doing, and then pump your work full of that stuff. The best agencies aren’t going to hire you because you have the most polished book or an AdWeek subscription. They’ll hire you because of your irreplaceable point of view and irrepressible curiosity. Then they’ll teach you how to make ads."
Senior Art Director
"Live a life before taking on a creative role. If you only ever dress like a duck, swim like a duck, quack like a duck, and only hang out with ducks, then how do you connect with a hippopotamus? So don't just be a duck, be a honey-badger, a narwhal, a condor, or a blobfish. Be something other than an advertising creative. That knowledge and experience will drive the inspiration and innovation you'll need to be a great creative. So, don't just be a duck. Even if being a duck is the best, most fun thing to be."
The One Club's Intern & Creative Networking Event takes place on Thursday, February 20.