If you missed it, check out some great work from Ben Walker and Matt Gooden.
WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impresses you?
BW: I definitely look for something that’s different. That’s the first thing. It’s amazing how much is very much the same. And what impresses me most is a wide range. Like someone who shows that they’ve got a real voracious appetite for everything to do with communication. Not just banging out a few ads, I think.
MG: Yeah, the thing I look for is a big idea that can travel across everything. And maybe…a bit of insight and understanding of what a brand is or could be. We do these brand books here. I usually end up taking them through those and trying to make them understand and delve into a brand and understand it. Before you start doing communication.
BW: Tone of voice is definitely something I look for. That they’ve got a good grasp of tone of voice so that they can apply that to different brands. That’s quite rare, actually. But most of all I look for someone who’s just a bit enthusiastic and comes in and is listening. Half of the time I prefer seeing books that aren’t very good, but the people are taking it all in and come back a month later with new stuff. I like people who smile and are enthusiastic.
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WS: Do you have any advice on how people can either get better or get a job?
MG: Some of the books I’ve seen recently have been very traditional…like advertising, print ads, and a TV ad. And when I started to talk about brand and blah, blah, blah, and how to delve into it and stuff, I started suggesting that they should start with a website idea. And I wonder if that is quite a good way to think now because it broadens your thinking. And, I don’t know, that was my tip to them.
BW: Yeah, I think that’s good. My tip would be, have very big thoughts. Don’t come in with campaigns for little, tiny things. I’d much prefer to see someone’s take on what Virgin Airlines could do to revamp their business if it needs revamping. So think big. Always.
MG: And always work out what the problem is with a brand. If there’s no fucking problem then you can’t advertise.
BW: That’s my one piece of advice that I always give to people when they haven’t got a good campaign or what I think is a good campaign. I always end up saying, “What’s the problem?” And if they haven’t identified that, that’s what’s gone wrong.
MG: A writer here has been suggesting that we get a hold of AC/DC, because they’re going to release a new album, probably do a tour, and he’s saying we should do the advertising for that. And I thought, “Yeah, that sounds great.” But the fact is, if they announce a tour date, they’re going to sell out. So you ain’t got a job to do.
WS: Is there anything else you want to say?
BW: Problem solving, I think. A lot of people don’t realize that they’re problem solvers. That’s the main thing. And most people that I see with their book—we’ll see three books a week. And over a year that’s 200 books almost. So just try and make it different in every way you can. Layout, format, and what’s on the front…I saw a good book the other day with an antelope’s fucking things coming out the front, and it looked great. I remembered it. It sounds really stupid but it’s true. Do something different!