Self-promotion in advertising.

16 Sep

There’s a tension that exists in advertising – two opposing views on the best way to present yourself to the industry.

Some would prefer to let their work do the talking. If it’s good enough, surely people on the other side of the world will already be familiar with it, thanks to the hundreds of annual advertising awards shows and thousands of advertising blogs in existence. Outside of the work, there’s no doubt that the best recommendations will come from respected ex-colleagues and a superstar recruiter. Of course, that recruiter is far more likely to take you on if your work has already been recognised around the world. Bit of a catch-22.

So what if you haven’t been so lucky?

The output of the most talented creatives I know is limited on a weekly basis by the agencies they’ve chosen to work for and the clients they’ve been matched against. I can’t believe I just said ‘matched against’. Do I really believe that? Yes, I think that maybe I do. It’s not unusual for a team portfolio to completely misrepresent the team’s actual ability. When that’s the case, maybe it’s time to pull out a gimmick.

Creative directors will tell you to avoid gimmicks. What they really mean is – they’ve seen them all before. If your gimmick sucks, you’ll be the laughing-stock of the creative department. That well-intentioned DM piece with your gammy grin on the front will soon be glued to the back wall of the urinal for target practice. And guess what? You’re not getting the job.

But what if your gimmick is simple, understated, smart and plainly honest? Is there really any harm in making a wee bit of a dick of yourself when a few thousand industry types will get to hear your story?

It’s already copped a lot of criticism, but I quite like it:

On that note: If anyone can find the wedding invitation DDB Auckland creatives, Tim & Ashwin, made to announce their wedding (Ashwin’s New Zealand study visa was up and he was heading home to India if they didn’t find a job), I’d love to have a copy on file. Rob and I are going to be speaking to the AUT advertising class this year and we’ll likely focus on finding first jobs and other equally treacherous territory. If you know where to find it, please post a link in the comments.

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One Response to “Self-promotion in advertising.”

  1. edwardo September 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Might be a bit late but here you go.

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