Going Full Circle: From Students to Most Promising Creative Newcomers
In 2012, the Creative Circle opened the doors of the Camden Roundhouse to students. It was the first time that the UK’s longest running awards body had invited aspiring creatives to their awards ceremony; an opportunity intended to whet the appetites of the creative youngsters, giving them a glimpse of what a successful advertising career could offer.
That year, students Stacey Bird and Jack Croft were perched in the balcony, watching on as the stars of adland picked up that year’s Creative Circle awards. Only two years later they returned, not to the gallery but accept the Most Promising Creative Newcomer award.
From attendees to award winners, they had truly come full circle, and Jeremy Green caught up with the duo, now at 4Creative, to reflect on their experiences of the Creative Circle.
Q> What were your first experiences with the Creative Circle?
Stacey: We first attended the awards in 2012, which was actually the first year they opened it out to students, I think. We couldn’t have imagined that less than two years later we’d be picking up an award on the same stage. In fact, at that point we were just finishing university and preparing for the dreaded placement era of our careers, so winning an award seemed completely out of reach.
Jack: We sat in the rafters wondering if, in the distant future, we’d ever make it down onto that stage. Little did we know, we would be down there two years later.
Q> What did it feel like being there?
Jack: It was a little bit overwhelming at first. It almost felt like we were snooping on somebody else's posh dinner! But it was great to get such an insight into a part of advertising that students don’t often get to see.
Stacey: It felt like a bit of an odd thing to do, watching all these legends of adland getting hammered and clapping. You got to see into a part of the job you knew least about as a student. The best thing about it was seeing what had won that year and who was behind it. When you saw a younger creative head up to collect an award from Edith Bowman, you could start to imagine yourself in that position in a few years’ time.
Q> What did winning Most Promising Creative Newcomers mean for your career?
Jack: When we won the award we were freelancing at 4Creative. A couple of months after, we got made permanent. So I think it played a part in getting our first proper gig! It also helped to expose us to the wider ad industry.
Stacey: It was an incredible honour and a terrible burden. An honour because not only had 4Creative put us up for it, but our name was now more accessible than ever to the industry professionals we admired, but it was also a welcomed burden in that we now have to live up to the expectation it brings! We were named the most promising, now we have to deliver those promises. It was certainly a great big kick up the arse to do great work!
Q> Why should young creatives get involved with Creative Circle?
Jack: Creative Circle bridges the gap between young creatives and the industry leaders. It’s a real motivation, knowing that you don’t have to wait a million years to get your work acknowledged by the industry.
Stacey: It certainly feels like the most accessible awards, not only in its Britishness but also in its outreach to students. I think the ‘Best Newcomer’ award is brilliant, not just because we won it, but for the opportunity it gives agencies to show their appreciation for upcoming talent. It is motivating for young creatives to have an industry award to aim for that doesn’t feel miles out of reach. Attending the awards as a student was a strange but inspring experience. The inclusion of students at the actual industry awards is unique in that it helps up-and-coming talent feel included and get an insight into the shiny world of industry awards.
Q> If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring young creatives, what would it be?
Stacey: Be diligent in your work, grow a thick skin (mentally, not physically as that would be gross) and do the stuff that makes your book memorable. Going the extra mile for a brief is what is different about junior creatives and you can utilise that to become an invaluable member of a creative department.
Jack: You don’t need the perfect book to land a job in advertising; ours had countless flaws. You just need to make sure you have something that separates you from the competition. Ours was a film where I had rubbed butter all over my body on a cold December day by the sea. So, I guess anything goes!