Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's all about the book

OK, I've been around for some time, and things have changed. I think the portfolio of a young creative team is more important then ever. A year ago when I was doing the rounds with my former partner it seemed the book was a key to a placement. You just need it to get in and then it's up to you to crack the agency briefs and show you are hard working and can do something no one else does in the department to get hire.

But getting a placement isn't enough anymore. We had a chat with a great talent hunter this week and we came to the conclusion that it is really hard to find a place that hires at the moment. Most places are filled with placement teams that have been around and are cracking one brief after another. So finding an agency without a 'placement history' is hardly possible, and if you find one, it's going to be one that's not particularly good.

You need a Rock n'Roll book. One that flashes hard. Before starting the placement you need to appear as the hottest team since Tefal's thermo spot. Making a list of agencies that are likely to hire is a waste of time. You need to have a portfolio that gets people dripping. Fuck the credit crunch, if you are good you will get hired, if not, you will be placementing around. It's all about the book, more than ever. But then again, it always was all about the work, no matter the right place at the right time, no matter if you have a blog or not, if you're good – then you will rock.


Anonymous said...

why you wasting your time at adam & eve then mate?

an average book will get you a placement somewhere, one of the best books in town will make a top CD take notice of you

it seems more than ever you need to have a book that shows you are ready to start tomorrow as a junior team, not a placement team.

especially if you have been out of college for a few years.

i think your biggest mistake is over exposing yourself by having this blog, doing loads of placements and trying to hard in the wrong way... you will get a job via your book and work... nothing else.

Christopher de Beer said...


Just came across your blog today, trying to make heads or tails of the industry in the UK. (I'm from South Africa)

I have a couple questions for you (hope you don't mind terribly)

From what I've read so far it sounds like you've done a shit loads of "placements" which i gather is what i know as "work experience"... is that the norm in the UK. Here, after 1 or 2, possibly even no "placements" one can get a permanent job as a junior with a decent portfolio.

Are you guys still studying whilst doing these placements, or have you graduated already?

Just wondering how it is that the advertising industry works round there, as i've finished studying (however recently) and am working in advertising here. But I'm moving to London in November.

Great blog tho,
Regrards Chris

Anonymous said...

This is what you should have been thinking the day you left college.

]-[appy Thought said...

Did you write this or is this a quote? If you wrote it then nice one, this is one of the strongest pieces of writing on Creative In London.

I only ask if its a quote because of how different it is! And all of it is true. Nice to see some fire in the belly mate!

Anonymous said...

It's about time the penny finally dropped!!!

Enough people have been saying exactly this on here for a while now.

Why is it that every team trying to get their first job had a blog nowadays?

Getting a job should be done undercover, behind the back of every other team out there and as quick as possible.

I really don't get this whole blog community where you all have to air your dirty washing in public.

Anonymous said...

@matt, not a quote, just felt like it

@chris, theres no number of placements you have to do before getting a job, it all depends. lots of people do placements during studying but most of them after university/college. london is tough business.

@11:20 we like writing this blog, it doesn't help us getting a job, it's fun, and it keeps us 'doing'. attention is not what we seek. work is what we want.

Anonymous said...

For all the passion of your article, I'm still not sure if you're right. Do ECD's look at books? I don't think they do/have time. If they see you for a review when you're on placement, they'll be much more interested in the work you've done

Anonymous said...

there is no big secret about getting a job, its about having a really good book that will open doors then its about having the talent, right attitude and being smart.

smart by only approaching a few places and building a relationship with a respected team, that way you have a contact within the agency and if they like you they will help you get a job if you are writing good ideas and really want it.

too many teams just try and do as many placements as possible in the hope of being in the right place at the right time. It's not going to happen, especially in this climate.

re 5.32

ECD's do look at books, if it's good enough.

Sell! Sell! said...

This has always been the case.
Good luck gents

Sell! Sell! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"I'm from south africa, don't most people have a job after 1 or 2 placements"

lol you totally owned wally with that one

Anonymous said...


"it's all about the book"

what the f*$k did you think it's about the Wal... wacky t-shirts... cool trainers... having a blog...

I'm amazed you posted this, it's something you should have been told at day one at Bucks, did they miss that bit out?

Anonymous said...

Best thing i've read on here and the one and only time i feel compelled to comment.

Anon - 5:56 summed it up pretty succinctly as well.

Having massive drive and determination will get you a long way, you can always improve your ideas and your idea process.But I think a vast amount, maybe 50%, is about being likable. Ie, someone you'd want to go to the pub with.

Anonymous said...

It's all about the book!...No fucking way! Congratulations on this great revaluation, and only two years after gradating, you've really stumbled across something genius with this one!

Anonymous said...

IF you read the post 'it's all ablut the book' 'MORE THAN EVER...' and he goes on to explain why he thinks this is the case!!!

Anonymous said...

Best piece of writing!?

A shame it's not the copywriter who wrote it - Wal's doing the work of two maybe?

Anonymous said...

This post means nothing.

Quality of book and quality of placement work are joined. When was the last time you saw an amazing book and then the team did fuck all on placement?

Anonymous said...

I hope this is the start of something big from you guys.

Forget the silly workshops and crap placements at agencies that take the piss. Work on that book and get the good opportunities that ARE still out there.

Christopher de Beer said...

@ Anon 10:10 :
I dint mean to be scathing, I haven't the faintest idea how the industry there may differ from here. I was merely inquiring.

@ wal :
Oh ok, but if the majority of people do placements after college are they paid placements? Cus, (if theis is the case) how do you sustain multiple placements without an income?
Basically.. in the UK are placements unpaid or paid (albeit low)?

Anonymous said...

I'll save you another two years with this piece of advice.

To get a job you must impress your ECD at the agency you're doing a placement at, this should take no longer than six months.

You're welcome and good luck!!

Anonymous said...
Post-it note CV McCann Erickson

Anonymous said...

Post it note CV - sweet little idea!

I'd love to read what it said, and to know how successful it was. Who did it? I presume it was target at McCann Erickson?

Anonymous said...

fuck me guys... i don't even know what to say. if this penny has just dropped what have you been doing up till now?! This is basic 2nd year of uni sense and you've just realised it 2 years after graduating.

Anonymous said...

"OK, I've been around for some time, and things have changed."

it was the about the book 30 years ago, it was about the book 2 years ago when you started. Guess what...

it's still about the book today and will be tomoro.

Anonymous said...

@christopher, placements are paid in the uk, you can almost survive on the money if you earn something on the side.

Christopher de Beer said...

@ wal: Shot for the info, must appreciated.

@ The Rest of Anon: Well I'm sure peoples "book"/portfolio count for the most, at least to get ones foot in the door.
But I've managed to get my first junior job and moved to middle weight without showing my portfolio at all. I was hired based on my work ethics (being able to get the job done whiles on my placement) and personality. One's book is just another element to sell yourself by, but its not by all means the the "be all and end all" of it. at least in my opinion.

Its just how you get your foot in the door, its not going to get (keep) you the job.

Hahaha (Then again I'm from a third world country, what do i know ¿ )

Shane said...

Hey Chris I'm also from S.A and I got a job after 1 internship. I think the standard of advertising in London is higher and so is the number of creatives looking for work therefore you either got to be Shit hot or give good head to get a job in London.

Christopher de Beer said...

@ Shane: hahahah, I'll have to opt for the "shit-hot" option then.

Christopher de Beer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronnie Blogsville said...

From what i've gathered you need to have a book that get's you on placement by who ever's in charge of them, then you need to blow away all the other teams within the agency, then hope the ECD likes your book as much as the placement dude did.

Then pray they're hiring.

Anonymous said...

Its not the good book! and its not the good placement! In London the industry is simply too over-populated. Your the lowest in the chain and not needed. there is always someone better. your dispensable, everyone is. Be smart and go where the work is. If your good enough you'll put something out which will make you good enough to be actually wanted.

if you do lots of placements people wonder why you haven't been hired yet. If your doing good placements and then being told... sorry no positions its a simple fact that there isn't any work. It sounds like you've worked your asses of so far and have a pretty ok book, you wouldn't of had the placements you had otherwise. Maybe you should try somewhere else all together.. i would, coz i tell you now, the moment you get that job in london wherever it is you'll be pretty disappointed once the buzz has worn off.

Adam Richardson said...

that is a harsh reality that in this current time maybe people are hesitant to employ new staff. The way i looked at it was in the economic climate, maybe a team who won't be costing the earth to employ would be an attractive proposition. Maybe not.

If you take anon 6:35's point on board and take a trip up the road to Manchester, come say hello! London folk find it hard to believe but we now have electricity in the office and the t'interweb.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Get your arses to the regions. Not saying there are any more jobs but there's no harm in trying. I'd leave out the part about doing about 100 placements though.

Anonymous said...

Jai and Wal, please don't follow the advice above. Get a job in Manchester or elsewhere in the UK and you're careers will be over before they're begun.