“There’s never been a better time to be new, young and inexperienced,” makes for an interesting opening to a discussion focused on pursuing a career in advertising.
But that was the focus of this week’s Tuesday Club Talk, where NABS Partner Card holders were treated to a live Q&A session with James Murphy, founder and CEO of adam&eveDDB, Chris Hirst, CEO of Grey London and Sid McGrath, chief strategy officer of Karmarama. Between them they offered up valuable advice for young advertisers eager to thrive in the advertising industry. There were however, a few tips that the team at NABS thinks stood out from the rest.
Treat problems as currency: We tend to work toward the goal of not having any problems because we believe them to be something best avoided. This isn’t necessarily the case. Problems can be a good thing according to Murphy and it’s something that NABS agrees should be treated as a kind of currency. We should embrace difficult situations, run towards them rather than away as they can be the making of you. Advertising is a complex industry, and there are always going to be problems cropping up in one regard or another. In a space where everyone is trying to solve issues, you can come out with a brilliant end result, becoming the go-to problem solver.
The stylish offices of Immediate Media served as the setting for Wednesday night’s NABS Speed Mentoring event. Amidst the multicoloured walls and quirky staircase, industry bright-sparks were given the opportunity to glean, learn and share knowledge with some of the sharpest minds in advertising and media.
After a warm welcome by our host Duncan Tickell, commercial director at Immediate Media, and our CEO Zoe Osmond, Nicky Harris, NABS partnerships director invited our mentors to the stage to introduce themselves.
These included: Heather Alderson, commercial strategy director at BBH; Nick Bampton, commercial sales director at Channel 5; Paul Carolan, commercial director at JCDecaux; Jason Cotterrell, managing director of CBS Outdoor; Mark Creighton, UK CEO of Mindshare; Peter Fitton, SVP of sales and promotion at Disney; Pippa Glucklich, CEO of Starcom MediaVest; Mark Howe, managing director agency operations North & Central Europe of Google; Jem Lloyd-Williams, digital partner at MediaCom; Jacque O’Donnell, director of agency sales at Immediate Media; and John Teal, Henley Business School Accredited coach and former commercial chief of Mail Newspapers.
After a quick round of introductions, the delegates were asked to sit at a table with one of the mentors. They were then given 10 minutes to quiz their chosen mentor before a whistle blew and either mentor or delegates moved around the room.
Words by Roland White, co-founder HappyHealthy app
In the talk “How to be Healthier Happier and Less Stressed” we had a capacity turnout of 30 people, 29 of which were female. Apparently the guys probably went to the pub instead! I noted that many of the attendees were in account management…
After introductions, in twos we discussed what stresses us out on a daily basis and agreed that time is the resource we lack. We learnt that saying “no” in a variety of ways is a very important skill to learn and we concurred that most of us turn to drink, tobacco, caffeine or sugar in times of stress. Unfortunately if we are stressed for long amounts of time, it’s not sustainable to keep consuming these and we simply become even more stressed as a result of consuming them. So we looked at immediate ways to destress naturally, like deep breathing techniques (after which everyone was smiling), taking a mental holiday to the beach, self massage and mindfulness/meditation. Everyone wilfully joined in and there was a great air of calm after the first half of the talk.
We then talked about longer term strategies to combat stress. It’s easy to forget that what we put into and do to our bodies affects our hormones and how we feel. Participants responded to a bridge analogy to demonstrate that there are many way to strengthen the bridge, representing our wellbeing, suggesting these are available through better lifestyle, exercise, nutrition and sleep (LENS), which luckily, our HappyHealthy Program provides!
After a short break we discussed various approaches to nutrition and how we are all unique, so we should keep searching more about our bodies specific needs. We looked at metabolic typing and what proportion of fats, carbohydrates and proteins best suit our own body. Then we looked at an ideal meal plan for a day keeping to specific portions for our nutritional type. It was a good chance to learn as well as reflect on our habits and a there was further interest after the workshop so that people could further their knowledge.
At this week’s bonfire night special Tuesday Club Talk, the audience was treated to a fantastic line-up as well as some surprise indoor fireworks. Ad luminary David Kershaw, CEO of M&C Saatchi was joined by M&C Head of TV, Bruce McKelvie and M&C Saatchi managing director, Tom Firth – who in turn ran us through how we can all be successful parasites.
As a new recruit, from day one you will find yourself surrounded by exceptionally talented people. David explained how he had basked in the glory of his first boss David Gould as well as other inspiring colleagues and built his career, he felt, feeding off their greatness. This naturally provoked a sense of insecurity in the young adman, but he explained how over time he’d learnt the value of being this kind of parasite, indeed to embrace it.
On a mild Tuesday evening last week, Graham Lee, author, leadership and mindfulness coach, ran a workshop on mindfulness as part of the NABS Resilience Programme. For anyone who couldn’t make it, here is some of the advice he imparted:
Workshop participants represented a broad range of industry backgrounds and experience and for many, mindfulness was a totally new concept. Naturally all were eager to learn about a technique that has been clinically proven and recognised by the NHS as an effective measure to deal with stress. Equally impressive is that fact that its power as a resilience technique has been embraced by organisations as diverse as GSK, Cancer Research UK and Google, from CEOs to call centre staff.
The pace of our industry can at times be relentless; from day-to-day tasks to client meetings and events, we’re often going from A to B and then C with no time in between to think. Change of task is nothing new, but what is new is that the pace of change is getting faster and faster.
Tight deadlines, demanding clients, early starts, late nights, weekends, homelife demands – pressure is inevitable. And whilst we can often thrive under it, it can still be tough. What’s important is that you equip yourself with tools and techniques to build your own resilience to pressure in the long term.
In our first sell-out Resilience Programme workshop last week, advertising and media professionals from a broad range of disciplines and at various stages of their careers opened up about their own experiences of coping with pressure.
In the relaxed and confidential atmosphere of NABS HQ the workshop helped attendees identify what their pressure triggers were and how to build their own resilience by taking a cognitive approach to the way they think about the stressful situations they encounter.
Soraya Shaw, our head of careers at NABS and resilience expert explained that humans have eight basic emotions – and of those emotions, five are broadly linked to fear and our primeval state for survival. Because of this, when we are faced with overwhelming pressure it’s common to enter a flight, fright or freeze mode. She explained that we should do our very best to avoid getting to this point through effective resilience techniques.
One of the most common problems with we humans is that we often have negative learnt beliefs which can limit us and can contribute to our stress levels rising. For instance, if you get scared the moment your boss asks to see you in their office – you have developed a negative learnt belief. You might not be in trouble, but the way your brain is hardwired means you immediately fear the worse.
Words by Nathan Gainford, managing partner at LIDA and mentor at Fast Forward
Last week we reached a pivotal point in the process. Everything so far; client briefings, talking to consumers, sifting through the data, unearthing insights and structuring their strategic argument has been leading to this. It’s time to write an inspirational creative brief to enable ideas to flow and flourish.
A big challenge awaits our delegates in the form of a blank piece of paper which demands ideas. How do you get started, let alone getting to a pitch winning, effective campaign idea?
Fortunately NABS offered one of the industry’s finest creatives in Dave Henderson, DLKW (his partner, Richard Denny unable to attend due to illness) to offer some inspiration and practical advice for developing ideas and the art of the start.
Dave shared 10 approaches or ‘ways in’ to creating ideas and populating that blank sheet of paper. Without wishing to give all Dave’s secrets away, here are some highlights.
Louise Davidson from AMV BBDO is a mentor on NABS’ Fast Forward flagship training programme giving the industry’s hottest young talent the chance to learn directly from advertising’s most respected figures. It is the fourth in our series of blogs that provide a perspective on the FF programme from both delegates and mentors.
On Wednesday night we heard from Stuart Sullivan-Martin from MEC on all things media and engagement. Walking into the room I think the delegates – and perhaps some of the mentors – expected to see quite a few slides, hear some numbers, perhaps even see a spreadsheet? Everyone left the room inspired by the thinking on how we need to engage with people today.
Stuart took us through a brief rundown of brand engagement styles over the last couple of decades. The era of iconic brands went out of fashion with hyper colour t-shirts.
Brands then started to have a point of view in the 90′s – welcome Dove and Persil. And just as we are all starting to get the hang of living in the era of conversational brands, apparently soon that won’t be enough.
Words by Gautham Narayanan, board account director at AMV BBDO and mentor at Fast Forward
It’s not often you get to spend an evening with an industry luminary, but the NABS Fast Forward Delegates have done so for three weeks in a row. First Jeremy Bullmore, then James Murphy and now Andy Nairn. The delegates’ first impression of Andy was how down-to-earth he was and how simple he made everything sound. Not something they expected from someone who has won more IPA Effectiveness Awards than any other planner. Ever. Maybe that’s why he is so successful. We’re often told advertising isn’t rocket science and the way Andy inspired thinking around the brief got that point across.
After inspiration, comes the hard bit – some actual work. Well nibbles first, then work.
The focus of this session was to discuss the brief and to agree on five questions to submit to the Client for next week’s tissue session. The good news is that they had all read the brief, had met up, so the discussion was lively and engaging. They started by taking Andy’s advice; a good start. The group took a step back and debated the real problem and generated a hypothesis or two. Having done this, the questions could be used to either prove or disprove their hypotheses. A logical and simple approach; Andy would have been proud.
Next, they looked at different ways into the problem. They discussed the case studies and how to apply some of the thinking to our brief. After meandering into cul-de-sacs, some awkward silences, a potentially punchy opener, they started to formulate some questions to ask the Client. It was great to see a talented and motivated group from diverse backgrounds and disciplines bring their specialist knowledge to help solve a problem. Progress was good but brief. Our time was up and we were very politely escorted off the Sapient Nitro premises.
So, two days to go and five questions still to agree on.
Here’s hoping they work as well virtually as they did in the room. And most importantly, here’s hoping there are no typos in any of those questions. The judges will be unforgiving!
At this week’s sold-out NABS Tuesday Club Talk the audience was treated to a brilliant line-up. Legendary ad man Sir John Hegarty hosted a debate on the topic of creativity with input from two special guests; Oscar nominated Mike Figgis of Leaving Las Vegas and Oscar winning producer and owner of Passion Pictures, Andrew Ruhemann, who brought us Searching for Sugar Man.
There are clearly parallels between the worlds of advertising and film; some of the biggest names in film cut their teeth in advertising before moving on to Hollywood. Both are ‘creative industries’ and need to nurture creativity in order to survive; creativity is the core currency of both and their point of differentiation in an increasingly commoditised world.
It was heartening therefore to hear these creative experts confirm the view that NABS has always held that we are all creatives. Regardless of job title, we all have the potential to contribute creative ideas. However the hierarchy of job titles can act as an obstacle to junior people with brilliant ideas. It is incumbent therefore on senior people to ensure that they encourage new talent and that they have the humility to accept that ideas can come from anywhere. Yet humility needs to be carefully balanced. Too much of it can morph into lack of self-esteem and confidence and easily kill creativity.
Andrew Ruhemann added novelty to the mix together with divergence – beautifully illustrated in BBH’s ‘when the world zigs, zag’ philosophy. Clearly the way we choose to give form to our ideas is important. A beautifully-shot ad, a stunning documentary or breath-taking photograph are the preserve of the expert creative of course.
Via the work that it does supporting advertising creatives in their careers NABS knows that the way agencies manage their creative resource is hugely important. Get it wrong and the creative output can easily be put at risk. The same goes for the way the industry is structured more broadly. Mike Figgis explained the importance of giving creativity a free rein in his industry so that ideas are not kicked to death before they’ve had the chance to take form – something the studios can be guilty of doing. Andrew Ruhemman added that creative collaboration can all too easily drift into consensus and then collusion. People can fear speaking up with a counter view and this is the quickest way to destroy creativity. As John Hegarty said: “every McCartney needs a Lennon” – find someone to tell you, John, this is complete crap and trust them!
Changing the way business works was a recurrent theme throughout the evening’s discussion. Whether this manifests itself as box-office hits shot on an iphone and edited on a lap top or apps created in an entrepreneur’s spare room, technology is clearly a great leveller. In an age where change is the only constant John Hegarty closed on a positive and uplifting note reminding us that more than ever the creative idea remains king.