Why your 20s are the best time to be in the advertising industry.

No one ever accused the ad industry of being a noble or honourable profession, but that's not to say it isn't one that gives you on hell of an introduction to how things get done in the real world.

Your twenties are a time to break out of your shell and discover your inner movier-and-shaker. It can be daunting to finish up a nice, vague university degree and be faced with the dilemma of actually being required to apply your (freshly minted) skills to a real job. Many twenty-somethings go on to professions such as law and medicine, where achieving success is inextricably linked to learning and duplicating the craft of those who have come before you.  However, for those who venture into advertising, it's refreshing to find that this industry rewards creativity, innovation, and cutting edge thinking.

And who better to be on the forefront of innovation than the Gen Y/Z (whatever you've labeled us as) kids who grew up messing around on smartphones and finding new ways to be famous on social media? We thrive on technology and excel at viral, keen to create the next big thing rather than appropriate yesterday's trends.

Your twenties are a rollercoaster decade of big changes and big decisions. It's easy to get lost in the relentless drive towards figuring it all out, but the advertising industry rewards the brave and encourages the ambitious, ideals that make sense to a younger generation brimming with joie de vivre. Embrace the chaos of last-minute client requests, the pressure of creating a campaign that will be seen by millions of people, and the late nights that are fuelled by nothing but caffeine and the desire for Cannes metal, and know that it's setting you up to be an even better creative professional in your thirties.

Would award shows do better to follow the Award School system?

With all the hype surrounding the Cannes award show at the moment, I can't help but wonder – would real-life award shows do better to follow the Award School method of presenting ideas on their own merit? *

Working in the advertising industry I have seen the huge scale of work that goes into preparing submissions for all manner of award shows throughout the year. Every other week there are people frantically trying to get hype reels finished, or printing off massive foam core boards, all so that the work that has already been completed can be shown off in a more fancy way, thus gaining an edge when tired judges are trying to choose winners. But is this process actually helping judges make an informed decision, or is it more about throwing money at a mediocre idea to try and make it look more impressive?

Award School teaches young creatives that the strength of their work is all in the big idea. The very reason that we were told to hand-draw our ideas is so that no one gets an advantage by being able to brilliantly photoshop their work, or try to cover a bland idea with the distraction of pretty bells and whistles. The amount of money and time that agencies throw at award entries could be dramatically reduced, and at the same time it would bring us back to the main principle of great advertising – it's all about the big idea. Do you think this model could work in the future?

 

*Clearly this hypothetical would not apply to craft-based awards.