Wednesday, 16 March 2011

How to get a job in advertising: Part 2

So a couple of weeks back I did How to Get a Job in Advertising: Part 1 (you can read it here). The idea (as always) was hopefully to make people snigger a bit, but also to question not just of why people want to work in the industry, but also how they want work in the industry. Which is to say, how juniors/grads/creatives go about landing themselves a job. Do you blog, tweet, buy a checked shirt, join D&AD, make up scam ads, pull a stunt to get your book in somewhere, network, tweet, re-tweet your blog, blog about your mate's tweet, pull another stunt...? Because getting a job anywhere nowadays (even somewhere crap) seems to have become an almost endless juggling act of self-promotion; of appearing permanently connected and invaluable, whilst seeming potentially capable of the most unlikely, game-changing creativity at any given moment.

But can a creative ever really be everything to all men, and to all agencies? Especially as a graduate. 

Well, lets start at the start.  With a wee history lesson.

The initial idea of a magic bullet-type, all-singing, all-dancing, all-rounder creative first appeared about 5 years ago - around the same time Web 2.0 caused everyone to become a "New Model Agency" overnight. "Digital convergence" suddenly meant that art directors who had spent years honing their eye for detail, crafting images, accentuating lighting and gesture, now had to widen their remit to plug a perceived skills gap in things like viral film making, and understanding how teenagers used MyBooks and Faceblogs. Because from now on our ideas would be crowd-sourced, and our creativity democratised. What's more, the roles within the new model were no longer going to be clearly defined. Since we'd all be collaborating with clients, the public, and each other, we needed to be flexible and nimble, ready to react to new challenges, and new audiences... But then, that was all just seeming and self-promotion too. Wasn't it? Because all the "new model" talk was just a big fat arse-covering exercise for an industry suddenly unsure of how a lot of new technology might pan-out.

So, in an uncertain market exactly who do you employ when you're not entirely sure of what it is you're meant to be good at anymore?

Cue the hybrid creative: a nebulous, jack-of-all-trades with a (nevertheless) hugely effective finger on the mysterious pulse of a fickle public. Part copywriter, part planner, part suit, web-designer, tattoo artist, film-maker, water colourist, pastry chef, and (usually) snowboarder, the idea of the hybrid creative doesn't just represent value for money, able to turn their hand to any new brief in any new media, they represent the ideological apotheosis of the new model: the ad agency no longer as a business, but as a culture, populated by the great creative minds of their respective Renaissance. And as agencies hedged their bets trying to recruit these Renaissance men and women to get them through the uncertainty, they simultaneously propagated the myth that these rounded, worldly individuals, with diverse interests (er, like snowboarding) where already within their ranks, as the very cornerstones of their new cultures.

But as the great sociologist Raymond Williams will tell you, "Culture is ordinary".

To be continued...

1 comment:

Datch or Reuben said...

This non-profit organisations aim is to get young grads in front of the right people so they can get into the advertising industry,