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Why I’m Entering the Creative Circle 2018: Stef Jones

Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
London, UK
Creative Partner at Big Al’s Creative Emporium, Stef Jones, says Rome is burning and it’s a great time for young creative people…
This year, Joint CCO of Grey London, Vicki Maguire set a challenge to the industry, not to enter the Creative Circle Awards – UNLESS you believe in championing the best of British work, to celebrate the chancers and diverse, different people, who aren’t just like you. To support the many and those who wouldn’t normally get the chance. Some of the industry’s greats are taking up the gauntlet.

Chatting to Stef Jones, Creative Partner at Big Al’s Creative Emporium, the Creative Circle find out why he is entering this year and what in his background made him want to do something a little different with his awards budget this year…

Q> Why are you entering the Creative Circle this year?
SJ> We’ve not entered industry awards before but we’ve got some work we’re particularly proud of this year. We were wondering which awards to enter when we heard about the Creative Circle Foundation. The fact that the entry fees help fund youngsters who are desperate to get into advertising, but who might otherwise have been put off by the cost of coming down to London, struck a chord. 

Q> Did you always want to be in advertising?
SJ> Not at all. I didn’t have a clue what to do and was going nowhere, driving a delivery van round Worcester trying to pay off my college debts. My old man basically kicked me out and told me to go to London. He’d worked in sales at Cadbury’s and suggested I give advertising a go.
Q> What were you interested in at School / University?
SJ> Not much really - except doing as little as I could get away with! And being a smart arse - answering back. I did geography at university, basically because you could blag it…
Q> How did you get into this career?
SJ> I was a graduate trainee suit at Lowes for a few months. That’s when I realised people actually got paid to sit (in a pub back then) and come up with ideas. So, I left, did a D&AD course, met Tom (my art director) and got a job at GGT when Kate Stanners hired us.
Q> Were there any challenges in becoming what you are today?
SJ> Not really, there wasn’t much choice because we kept getting fired. We didn’t really fit into big agencies. We were too opinionated and too lippy to play the game. It got to the point where we had to put up or shut up. And we were never going to shut up, so we had to set up Big Al’s.
Q> What would you love to tell young people about this business?
SJ> It’s a brilliant time to get into advertising because the big agency model is broken, so things that needed to change, now can, and must. Rome is burning and chaos is great if you’ve got talent, energy and ambition!
Q> What do you think can be improved at higher education levels to increase diversity in our industry?
SJ> Isn’t that too late? To get a diverse supply from higher education we need to start in the schools. Our (industry) posters should be the best in the school careers offices. They should be in every school careers office. Our posters should leap off of the walls and piss on all the usual suspects, like the financial, construction or hospitality sectors. What a great brief – get normal kids to think about a course in advertising. Open to all young creatives - all submissions to: If your ad runs, you’ll get a three-month paid placement at Big Al’s PLUS you’ll have a cracking poster to enter into next year’s Creative Circle!

The entry deadline for the Creative Circle Awards is Friday 26th January. Enter Here