Three days of lively discussion – and even livelier Las Vegas nights – were brought to a close with a thought-provoking panel session.
The panel (Susan Credle -CCO of Leo Burnett USA, Ted Royer- ECD Droga5, NY, Tony Calcao, ECD, CP+B, Boulder, Jeremy Craigen, ECD- DDB UK and Israel Diaz, CCO- Y&R Toronto) was assembled by Phil Growick, author of My First Time. His new book is a collection of industry leaders sharing experiences of their first moments in advertising – and the event gave the attending creatives the chance to learn from the best.
Kicking things off, the panel relived the awkward moments and near-misses from their days as nervous noobs. It was also a chance for the audience to learn about the paths carved out by these industry pioneers – how they got into advertising and how they climbed their way up. All of the speakers talked about the need to take control of one’s own career and actively create opportunities.
“You have to be open and you have to think about opportunity – and you have to remain naïve,” said Craigen, summing things up. “I think there’s always a thing about it being the most cynical business in the world but as a creative you have to remain hopeful and think ‘maybe this time’. If you give up, you’ll go nowhere.”
But far from being a dog-eat-dog race, the panel also stressed the need to be personable – advertising is, after all, a close knit community. “I don’t believe in karma in the universe,” said Royer, “but I believe in it in advertising. If you’re a dick, it comes back to haunt you.”
Throughout the discussion and Q&A session, several issues were touched upon – but none more inspiring than that of women in advertising. “I’m looking around at the audience and I am really heartened that I see a 50-50 split between men and women,” said Growick. “It’s so good.”
Israel Diaz spoke of his experiences working with opposite-sex creative partners. Not only did it break the usual pattern of boys’ teams and girls’ teams, it afforded him the opportunity to work on brands targeted at women. He advised the assembled creatives that this was a strategy worth bearing in mind.
Credle, meanwhile, challenged the idea of the clichéd assertion that advertising was a boys’ club. She cited the many magnificent women from the 1950s, and argued that the hackneyed discussion had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “It’s not a case of ‘where are the women in advertising?’, it’s ‘here are the women in advertising’.”
Questions from the audience covered everything from the current health of advertising, whether there are more or fewer opportunities available to today’s aspiring ad-people, to the panel’s alternative career aspirations.
The forum touched upon many of the issues that had been raised earlier in the week within the various smaller ‘creative conversation’ sessions. Thus, the inaugural LIA 2012 educational event was rounded up and the assembled young creatives went off to party into the wee small hours, to bond, and to lay the foundations for the future of advertising.