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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  My agency’s a creative dead end; I’m afraid my book will reflect this

My agency’s a creative dead end; I’m afraid my book will reflect this

I’m a jr copywriter in Toronto who’s in a difficult situation and I could really use some advice.
I started my career at one of the best shops in the city, winning some local awards and learning the secrets of advertising from some great creatives. I was let go due to budget cuts and ended up working at a very mediocre agency. The kind that hasn’t won any new business in 5 years, but has lost plenty. Award wins are the same story.
I only get to work on one account, and it’s a very mediocre one at that. My partner is a really good designer, but strategically he’s behind quiet a bit. He’s extremely selfish when it comes to ideas, only mocking up his own and getting defensive and “testy” is I push him to mock up something I have heart for. We get along when we aren’t working but that’s about it. I think I would be happier working with somebody else.
The one thing my partner and I share is we have little faith in our creative directors, who after more than 10 years don’t have a single international award from the big 5. I don’t particularly like any work they’ve done and neither do friends of mine, who are highly awarded and respected creative directors in the city.
I’ve always been a hard worker. Put in my time. Stayed late and tried to squeeze out a good campaign every chance I could. All the awards I have came from throw away briefs, so I know it can be done. The problem is, I’m convinced that it can’t be done here. The process is, well there is no process. The creative direction is inadequate. The account people don’t do their jobs. (Account people being the difference between great shops and terrible shops IMO.) The client is scared and disorganized. There is a lot working against the work at this place.
All this has made the decision to move on an easy one, but I have nothing new to add to my book since the last time I shopped it. I’ve spent just over a year at my current agency and I’m afraid shopping around the same book as a year ago might not be a good idea.
If you could give me any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. I just want to do good work. I don’t care about money, just the work.

intro My agencys a creative dead end; Im afraid my book will reflect thisTime to move on, and don’t worry so much about not much to show for this last agency experience. What you must do as you look is avoid playing the blame game. Man up about the lack of progress—you look better to take responsibility for a bad move. Pointing a finger at your partner and CD’s won’t advance your cause. What will help is including any great ideas in your book even though not produced. If you didn’t generate any great ideas to sell for a year, maybe your partner wasn’t the only problem. Give yourself some projects to show what you can do today—ideally, choose some accounts your agency has that could use some unsolicited help. Who knows, maybe your CD will be so impressed by your proactive action you might get a chance to work on more business.

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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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