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More Than a T-Shirt: Notes from Creative LIAisons 2019


VCCP's Tess Evans shares what she learned from a week at the Creative LIAsons programme

More Than a T-Shirt: Notes from Creative LIAisons 2019

Sadie Mayes, senior art director for VCCP Health and I recently visited the Creative LIAisons programme in Las Vegas - one of the most informative, bizarre and brilliant experiences of our careers so far.

Nobly pushing through jet lag, I went back through our notebooks to share some of the things we learned this week.

What we learned from the judges:

1. Go that extra mile.

It may sound obvious – but when we sat in on a judging panel for the day, it was incredible to see how the tiniest thing would bump work down against flawless competition. We saw a film spot drop from a silver statue to a shortlist based on one imperfect transition and a mistimed copy line.

2. Would your mum understand it?

Jon Chapman, ECD at Havas Lynx and judge on the Pharmaceuticals jury, gave us his brilliantly simple personal checklist for assessing creative:

- What is it?

- What does it do?

- Is it interesting/different?

- Would my mum understand it?

We’ll be checking all our future work against it (using our own mums of course, we don’t know his).

3. Context makes a difference.

Judges are watching 100+ entries at first pass. They're not going to analyse each in depth. An entry video setting up context can be the difference between being awarded or not. Why is it so effective? What makes it unique in its category? If you don’t tell them, they won’t know.

What we learned from the speakers:

1. Be more Pum.

Pum Lefebure is one of those people who inspires you without trying to, through her personality and work. In her gentle, genuine way you could see she loves what she does and won’t compromise on her vision. We’ve already ordered prints of her Hong Kong ballet work as a reminder to stay optimistic and find inspiration in everything. The new campaign video is fantastic too.

2. Find the opportunities already in your hands.

Malcolm Poynton showed us there are no excuses, you can make an outstanding campaign for the clients you already have. He shared examples – including the Black Supermarket campaign for traditionally conservative French supermarket Carrefour – to illustrate what you can achieve if you dig deep into the clients you have and find a story or cause worth pursuing.

3. Put as much time into planning the presentation of your idea as you do into the idea itself.

We are certainly guilty of not doing this…while moaning how hard it is to get great ideas through. So Matt MacDonald’s talk on presenting your work was invaluable.

Here’s a summary of the key things we’ll be implementing:

- Show passion & confidence

- Know what you stand for (your ‘personal brand’)

- Data on the target audience can be very persuasive

- See it from the client’s point of view: why is it the perfect view for them

- Don’t show before it’s ready, don’t be boring, don’t be complicated

What we learned from other creatives:

1. If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.

Nothing is as bonding as laughter, and it leads to great results too. In the Great Guns workshop, we were grouped with creatives we had never met from Canada, Austria and Germany and given four hours to create a 6 second video. It was undoubtedly a shared sense of humour that got us to this winning entry. That, and some pretty stellar fake vomit.

2. Don't get lazy.

At the upper end of the ‘young creative’ age range, we met some people almost a decade younger. They are brilliant. As a borderline technophobe I'm already doing my homework to keep up. Mashable helps.

3. Copywriters en masse get nerdy fast (don’t get me started on the oxford comma). Art directors en masse compare tattoos.

What we learned from Las Vegas:

1. What happens there stays there.

(Mostly, it turns out, because it's impossible to describe. Vegas is a weird place.)

2. Sleep is for the weak.

3. Roulette is not our game.

This only really scratches the surface of everything we experienced during Creative LIAisons 2019. We've come away with so much to implement in our work, a broader outlook of our industry and new friends around the world. It may not quite be Vegas, but you can catch some of the LIA talks and interviews here.

Tess Evans is senior creative copywriter for VCCP Health.

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VCCP, Tue, 29 Oct 2019 12:01:54 GMT