Sticky Questions – Hustlin’
This is Sticky Questions – a series where we ask advertising legends all the questions you can’t.
In the rink today we’ve wrangled Charles Baylis – ECD of Deloitte Digital. Chuck (preferred name, just don’t tell his parents) actually started his career in law, but soon pivoted to ad-land. Fast forward to 2018, he was ranked the third best copywriter in the world – proving that a mix of book smarts and incredible creativity yields a highly impressive career.
Next up is Simon Bagnasco – ECD of Saatchi & Saatchi. With his previous agency and award wins too long to list, I’ll just intro him by saying that Simon is one of the most knowledgeable ECD’s I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to. I got so much out of our chat, and I hope you do too.
Ok, let’s get into it.
Q: What’s the most creative way a junior has reached out to you?
CB: A folio on a USB drive in a 3D printed tabasco bottle cover.
SB: I’ve always found those who send me the most wacky things are often not the best creatives. Once, a Creative Director I know was sent a can of dog food with a note from the creative that said “If you don’t interview me, I’ll eat it.” To me, these creative attempts are tryhard. All the effort you’re going to put into your creative introduction, put it into your work instead. All I want is a nice email with your folio attached.
Q: Is doing a big showy thing the only way a junior can stand out?
CB: Absolutely not. Sometimes it's distracting. Great (and often simple) ideas will always win-out. Anything that makes them harder to understand or distracts from that isn't worth doing.
SB: I don’t think so. I think the best way is ‘the work’. When I started, hustling a person’s phone number and email was all you needed. A lot of creative people are shit at responding, so often you have to follow up a couple of times.
Q: How can I meet industry pros when I don’t know anyone?
CB: LinkedIn. Industry events and talks. Hit up Claudia from Taboo she's connected and super friendly… (Author’s note: Definitely hit me up, we’ll get beers)
SB: Find an ad or a campaign that you like, look at the credits - find the person who did the work, contact them and say “I love this, how can I do this?” That’s a much better way of introducing yourself than a cut and paste email.
Q: Do I have to work for free to get my foot in the door? How long for?
CB: No. In fact, my current firm, Deloitte Digital, pays interns, so I know that isn't the case. Never do anything that's not sustainable for you. But on the flip side, with anything you really really want sometimes you have to make a sacrifice to get it.
SB: No one should ever work for free. I don't believe in that, I think you should get paid straight away. Even an internship, you should get paid something. If we can’t pay you, we should offer you a role or contact to get a role.
Q: How many times can I follow up an email or LinkedIn message before it goes from ‘eager’ to ‘annoying’?
CB: Personally, I would never say it's annoying. I am terrible at getting back to people on time, but I'm more likely to respond to someone that's persistent. I always think that to catch someone at exactly the right time, you've got more chance if you try lots of times...
SB: If you're being polite and reaching out in an acceptable amount of time between messages, then keep messaging. I’m never annoyed when people follow me up a few times, as long as they’re being nice and not pushy.
Q: What kind of work do you want to see in my folio?
CB: Great, simple ideas. Ideas you can understand in one single line of type. Then sure, bring it to life, but I believe that if you have a great idea it will know how to manifest as outdoor, social, radio etc.
SB: The most interesting, weird, surprising, challenging the work, the better. I don’t need to see if you write a headline or lay an ad in outdoor, I just care that you can think in an interesting way.
Q: How many pieces of work should I have in my folio?
CB: Only show the type of work you want to make. Damn that was probably a better answer for that last question. More than 5 pieces.
SB: Only the good stuff. All killer no filler. I’ll take 3, and anything around 3. If I see one good thing, there’s a good chance I’ll help you.
Q: What level of Adobe skills should I have?
CB: As a writer? None, although it would be handy if you can turn a doc into a pdf. Designer - High Level. Art Director - Good Level
SB: I’m a writer who can use Photoshop and Illustrator. I taught myself to use those tools in a manner to have the work presented in the way I wanted it to. You don't need to come into a job being a gun, but you have to have an interest in becoming a gun eventually.
Q: How do I get an internship? I’ve tried emailing to no avail...
CB: We [Deloitte Digital] run a Grad and a Summer Vacationer program which you can look up.
SB: Keep following up and don’t give up. Here’s a tip: don't try and go for the ECD, find the creatives you like and whose work you like. Message those midweights and they’re more likely to reply. These guys are on the tools more than ECD’s so they’re a good judge of talent. Then when they’re happy with your book, they can help you chat with the ECD.
Q: Can/how do I ask for more money in a job interview?
CB: I don't think you need to do it in the interview. It's something you can discuss once the potential employer has expressed an interest in you. If you're talking to an ECD they just want the best creative they can get, so you should focus on being that.
SB: You just gotta do it. Money and self worth aren’t on the same scale. Don’t be afraid to ask for a ridiculous amount of money, what’s the worst they can happen - they say no? If you feel you are entitled to more money, say it.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake a junior can make when networking?
CB: I think there's a tendency to oversell yourself or seem overly knowledgeable about the industry. It's cool to ask questions or admit what you don't know.
SB: Worrying too much about networking. Meet people whose work you like and see where you have similarities and guess what, soon you’ll be working with them. Don’t worry too much.
Q: Do I need a creative partner to get a job?
CB: Nope, but I think it helps; your work might benefit from it, it's good to be able to interview as a duo and how many jobs do you get to walk into with a mate?
SB: It helps, but only if you really like the person ‘cos you’ll be stuck with them for a while. There’s different types of creatives though, there’s the lone wolves that can work with anyone, or there are those in a happy marriage.
Q: Any parting words for juniors getting into their first industry job?
SB: Think of your dream agency and write it in the middle of a circle. Then draw a circle around it, and write which agency can help get you to your dream agency. Keep adding circles and write in those the agencies that will help you get closest to the centre of the circle.
The above questions have been submitted anonymously by juniors and jobseekers. If you’ve got a sticky question, shoot us a message on our Youngbloods VIC Facebook.