How To Make It As An Advertising Creative – Simon Veksner

There are a number of books that deal with career paths in the creative industries – especially graphic design, but I think this is the first I’ve seen that looks at making it as a creative in advertising.

how to make it as an advertising creative simon veksner

Simon—a copywriter at BBH London—is a well known creative, partly due to his long standing and excellent scampblog. Many of the chapters and sections in this book are extensions of a series of tips that developed on scampblog.

I’ve not followed the typical path in advertising, I’ve split my creative career with other things, so I was definitely interested to read what path a typical ad creative might take.

First thing, this isn’t a book about how to do stuff, it’s a guide to getting a job and managing your career in the creative department of an ad agency. For the person entering the world of ad creative for the first time, there’s really useful stuff like what to put in your book and what level to go into the agencies at to get yourself seen. There’s also some interesting stuff that you might not have considered like what to do if you get fired, raising your profile and thinking about what you look like.

The overall tone is pragmatic and honest. Simon doesn’t reference theories or academia, he gives proper advice based on his own immense experience and I imagine of those around him, which is bang on. The book is peppered with interviews from creatives at the top of the game, of mixed value I think though. There’s more to gain from Simon’s experience than from those interviews.

The book focuses purely on traditional advertising though, and does have a reverence for TV creative. This is of course fair enough, most ad agencies work a hierarchy and method that’s been successful and accepted for half a century, and in those terms this book really helps you see how this structure works for you if you’re looking to be an ad creative.

how to make it as an advertising creative - simon veksner - a review on lightmediumboldI think more acknowledgement of the creativity in other disciplines—especially digital—would have made the read more complete. I guess Simon is drawing on his experience and I’m relating it to mine. It’s useful to understand as a junior heading into advertising that in some ways advertising is changing pretty fast. Many enlightened agencies are bringing creative to new channels quickly, and some are doing it extremely well, but for anyone studying advertising creative now, when you reflect back on your career from a senior level, it’ll look a bit different to how it does today.

Enjoy this book. It offers loads of insight, especially to newcomers. It cuts through a lot of the bollocks, here-say and urban mythology of advertising careers. If you’re looking at working in an advertising agency, and your Dad wasn’t an ad man, this book is the closest thing you’ll get to a map of what to expect.

Most agency creative departments are pyramidal, so there is a hierarchy, and you’ll work your way up that. But do remember there are other ways. Doing nothing with your career apart from advertising can leave you in a cycle of only referencing advertising. Gaining other useful cultural experiences forms a huge chunk of the stuff you draw upon as a creative. So if you get an itch to do something else for a bit, scratch it, it will give your mind a lot more to draw upon when you’re inevitably pulled back to advertising.

Title | How To Make It As An Advertising Creative
Author | Simon Veksner
Publisher | Laurence King
Publish Date | 2010
ISBN | 978-1-85669-657-9

Reviewer | Steven Bennett-Day

Buy from Amazon UK: How to Make It as an Advertising Creative

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