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Creativity, Careers and Contacts: Behind-the-Scenes at Judging Week

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, UK
Student competition winner Liam Aldridge goes backstage at this year’s Gold judging sessions
As a winner of this year’s #namethatbrand competition, Liam Aldridge, a third year Advertising student at UCA Farnham, was given a golden opportunity; the chance to go behind-the-scenes at this year’s Creative Circle Gold judging sessions. After the judging sessions concluded, Creative Circle CEO Jeremy Green caught up with Liam to talk creativity, careers, and newfound contacts… 

Q> Did you find the judging process to be as you’d expected?

LA > It was really great to see. Normally I only get to see the case studies of the winning work, so seeing the professionals discuss each piece of work gave me a greater understanding of the creative process. There were, however, less fights than I expected! Everyone tended to agree, which was a bit of a shame as I was looking forward to seeing some of the greats battle it out in the ring. All jokes aside, it was great to hear the discussions about the work from those whom I aspire to be like one day; teaching me what to do and what not to do with my own work.

Q> How did the judges interact with you during the day?
LA > I didn’t get to participate in the process during the actual judging session, however during lunch and after the sessions the judges always asked me whether I thought they got anything wrong. It was nice to be asked but they definitely had it covered. There were still occasions during judging where I felt like voicing my opinion, so maybe if there were the chance to do this next time I’d like to do so.

Q> What can you take away from the judging process? 

LA > One thing I’ve learnt is that the idea is key. Throughout the whole judging process the same question kept coming up; ‘What’s the idea?’ It’s something that we always get told at Uni but it was good to keep reaffirming it. So what I would take away is to always ask ‘What is the idea?’ and keep questioning that – not to mention some fantastic contacts!

Q> How do you feel about the Creative Circle giving students opportunities like this? 

LA > Well I found myself crammed in a lift with seven Executive Creative Directors, so in that respect I feel that the Creative Circle really gives students the opportunity to get close to those who one day could help their careers. You don’t get many other opportunities to get that close to the people at the top so I’m really grateful for a rare opportunity.

Q> Do you think being a Creative Circle member is valuable to students?

LA > Did I mention I was in a lift with seven Executive Creative Directors?

Q> Why fuels your interest in the advertising industry?

LA > I don’t think that there are many industries where you can be working on ideas for a car brand in the morning and an underwear brand in the afternoon. It’s this diversity that has really drawn me to the creative industry. I’ve always enjoyed coming up with new ideas, so being able to apply them in an everyday job just sounds ideal. Also, being creative and coming up with ideas is fun, so I don’t think it would really seem like a job anyway.

Q> What does creativity mean to you?

LA > At uni, we recently had Sir John Hegarty in for a talk and, to him, creativity meant expression of self. I think I’d agree with him there and say that, to me, creativity means being able to express myself through my ideas. It gives me a platform to be ‘me’ and communicate myself to others through the work that I create. I’d also say that creativity means becoming a creative problem causer and solver, taking risks to do so. Creativity is about asking questions and solving problems from an angle that nobody else has.

Q> What’s your favourite ad and why?

LA > It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I’d say the last campaign I saw that I still tell people to watch now is last year’s ‘The Gun Shop’ by Grey NY. Campaigns and ads that help change peoples’ perceptions and help to better the world inspire me.

Q> Where would you like to be in five years’ time? 

LA > I’d like to be happy and working in a really great creative agency. Somewhere that places creativity at its heart and encourages fresh and exciting ideas. Somewhere that embraces taking risks and expressing yourself in the work. I’d also liked to have created a piece of work that has helped the world in some way. That’d be nice.

Q> What's the best piece of advice you've received?

LA > I’m going to be cheesy and say something that my family always says to me. ‘Do whatever makes you happy’. I think of that saying whenever I have a decision to make. I need to do what makes me happy, otherwise I wouldn’t be being true to myself.      
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