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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Out of the loop, but feel I can still contribute

Out of the loop, but feel I can still contribute

I’ve worked in advertising for over 20 years as art director, associate CD to VP, CD at a consumer promotions agency. I’m no longer with them and I’m trying to get back into an agency proper as an art director. My work had been recognized (merit awards) for outdoor and newspaper early on in my career but nothing since. I feel that my creative potential has not been tapped and strongly believe that I can contribute in a big way. The portfolio currently carries produced work only and no concepts as it felt wrong somehow, for someone of my experience, to include them. Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

intro Out of the loop, but feel I can still contributeIf you’re really determined we won’t say it can’t happen. Your present portfolio will need a big overhaul given you haven’t done work of award-winning calibre in many years, and as you look to get into an agency today, the CD’s will be looking for excellence across all media. You will be up against people with a lot less experience, but with more relevant experience. So the question is, how do you compete in a world you haven’t lived in for the vast majority of your career? How do you create that killer portfolio that proves you can step into agency life with equal (or better) ability to the next guy? You need to start your journey with a reality check—we’d suggest in the form of portfolio reviews from any senior art directors at agencies you admire. See what they say about where you stand and how big they might feel the gap is between your work and those you’re competing with. You have a steep climb ahead of you. It won’t be good enough to show a CD you have potential. At your stage you need to show you’re ready to go at their business with full ability to do it brilliantly. If you can come away from peer review with optimism, and a plan for getting great new work into the book, then go for it.

03/26/2008 08:36:10 PM

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  • Swati Kumar

    Superb Nancy. Thanks for writing this. Thousands of creative women like me struggle against this everyday. Your colleagues, otherwise comfortable to backslap and hang out suddenly become adversaries when you least expect it. And the thought process is so deep-seated, so irrational, so all pervasive that after a while you begin to shrug at it. It is impossible to argue because even the arguments, the framworks are completely and brutally male.The worst of it is most men believe that they are being kinder to women by making allowances for the fact that they can’t pursue advertising with the passion that it demands. Implicit in this patronizing support is the can’t. Unfortunately they do not realise that it is the responsibility of every person of any gender to make it possible for each creative to do the best job they can. To change the framework if need be, to see different ways of functioning if required. Rather than saying this is the game we set up, these are our rules, too bad you can’t play. See you’re not worthy. But what they don’t see is the rules need to be changed. The game has to be played differently. I could go on and on. But then what’s the point I’m preaching to the converted.


About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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