In Discussion With: Chloe - Advertising Director

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In Discussion With: Chloe - Advertising Director.


Before we get into the next installment of our 'In Discussion With' series, we'd just like to say a huge Girls in Work thank you to everyone who is getting involved in GIW in any way. We've had so many lovely messages and feedback, and it makes us so happy to know that you guys are as excited and passionate about this as we are! So, thank you.


This week, we sat down with the lovely Chloe, who works for a global advertising agency as an Advertising Art Director. As you'll see as we get through the interview, she has a pretty cool job, and we were left completely inspired by her and her way of thinking by the end of it! We hope you enjoy this week's In Discussion With..


So, what does an Advertising Art Director do?

My job is to essentially come up with ideas. Ideas for adverts or campaigns, design them and then work with a wider team to then bring them to life. The concept for the ad could be anything from TV/film, print or radio, and I'll develop the idea with my Creative Director. There are lots of different stages to the process, but once the final idea has been bought, that's when we'll go on shoots and create it - and my job can literally range from writing scripts, filming for TV, photo shoots for print ads or talking to and working with animators.

How did you get into this industry? Is it something you've always wanted to do?

I've always been very arty and creative - much more creative than I was one for maths or science, and so it was quite natural for me to study Fine Art, Graphic Design and Product Design at A Level. I also then did an art foundation course which combined all of these. Whilst I was there, I majored in Graphic Design, however it was my tutor that pointed out that my strengths lied in the more creative area of actually coming up with the initial idea, and it was him that pointed me in the direction of a career in advertising.

And so, I went on to study at Bucks Ad School for three years, before then training in the industry. In advertising, you tend to have to team up, and I was lucky that I met my copywriting partner at Ad School - and so we went around lots of agencies together in our final year of uni, building our portfolio, and through this we then got placements, and then finally hired by BBH.

Chloe
 

What's the best part about your job?

My favourite part is when you come up with an idea in your head, you say it, and then suddenly everyone is making it happen. We have a big team of people that work on each project, and we go on shoots together and it's just amazing watching all of these people take one of your ideas and turn it into a reality.

...And the most challenging?

The hardest part is actually learning to detach yourself from your ideas. We have to be constantly coming up with so many ideas, but most of them that are presented actually die. I'd say one in fifty ideas that we come up with end up making it until the end! And you do end up falling in love with some of them, and you sit there and think that this idea could quite literally make your career... and then someone vetoes it further down the line.

Your career in advertising is pretty much always in the hands of someone else - because your career is based on your ideas, and it's those ideas that enable you to develop. But, you don't have control over whether or not those ideas will be taken forward. You could have the best idea in the world, but if it's the wrong time or the wrong client, that's it! Your idea doesn't go anywhere and you have to go back to the drawing board.

 
 

Why don't you tell us about a recent project you've worked on?

Okay, so this is quite the story! But, one of our clients at BBH is Absolut Vodka, and I actually started collecting Absolut bottles when I was 16 (I now have 53 and nowhere to put them anymore haha!). When I did my art foundation, we had to write an essay about something we were interested in and a design that we loved, so I wrote about Absolut - I loved watching how they could take a design and stretch it and influence. I've always found them to be an amazing brand, and they're one of the only brands to feature in the Advertising Hall of Fame.

I actually became pretty obsessed, and my final major project was to create our own alcohol brand, and mine was all very influenced by Absolut.

When we graduated and got our placement at BBH, it just so happened that they had just won Absolut as a client. They had a new bottle coming out a year later, and so I went to the creative directors and asked if we could work on the brief. We were against 5 other teams, and our idea won!

Part of the idea focuses on a specific element, and the only place we could find that could create what we wanted was in Spain - so we even got to travel out to Spain to shoot the idea.

I can't say too much yet, as it's only out in October, but I now have my own Absolut bottle!

 
chloe

That's incredible! You've pretty much already secured your dream project. So, what's next?

I very much want to continue to build on my career, adapt to more ideas and see how far we can develop them. We haven't made a big TV campaign for a client yet, so I'd love to work on something like that.

I think, in the end, I'd like to build my own brand. At the minute, I'm coming up with ideas and making things for other people and fulfilling their needs - so I'm actually learning a lot about the business side and creating a product and brand too. So, I'd love to one day be on the 'other side' and have my own brand to create for!

How do you keep yourself motivated? Particularly in a job that requires you to be creative all of the time?

I have a partner, Charlie, who is the copywriter to my art directing! We definitely help to keep each other motivated, as we'll both flag at different times, but also we both have the same drive and the same ambition to achieve the same things. And because we are both aiming for the same goals, I can't let him down. If I do feel a little demotivated one day, he'll remind me why we're doing this and motivate me again, and vice versa.

I'm also quite stimulated by visual things, so I often find just getting out and going for a walk helps. I'll also go to a lot of art galleries, or sit and scroll through the internet. It's the perfect excuse to sit on Instagram for a bit!

Additionally, our office and where I work is amazing. The people are SO talented, so you're constantly chasing for that. If they can do it, then so can I.

How do you switch off? Do you find it an easy thing to do?

No, I find it incredibly difficult to switch off. Uni was a particularly difficult time to switch off - I'd find myself dreaming about work and I'd drive myself a little bit crazy because I was always looking for my next idea.

Now I've learnt that in order to come up with an idea, you do actually have to switch off. Do something that stops you from thinking about what you've been working on - when you're not working on it, that's when the idea will come to you!

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What are the 3 best pieces of advice you've been given?

  • Don't let things bother you that are outside of your control. It's simply just a waste of energy. So use that energy and put it into something that you can control instead - otherwise, you'll find yourself stressing about things that haven't even happened yet.
  • Find yourself a mentor. Someone who inspires you, who you can look up to, and one of those people who you can ask any question, no matter how stupid, and they'll take the time to answer it.
  • And finally - be positive. I know it's harder said than done sometimes, but there's no point dwelling on the negatives.

And what advice would you give to anyone starting out, or wanting to get into advertising?

Definitely start looking at Ad Schools. There are some amazing ones like Watford or the SCA. They offer year long courses that train you how to think differently, which is what my job is - to think differently to everyone else.

Agencies now do take people who haven't been to Ad School - you just have to build up a portfolio and show people that you are able to think differently and come up with a brand new strategy that hasn't been done before.

One of the first things that happened in Ad School, was that our tutor asked us all to stand in a line at the back of the class and then walk forward. And we all did. We stood there and walked forward like we were told - because this is how we're all brought up to think. Our tutor then asked why we'd all walked forward and in exactly the same way too! She wanted us to think differently and do something different! I guess we all failed that first day.

Finally, how can we contact you if we want to get in touch?

Feel free to email me at chloe.stephenson@bartleboglehegarty.com. :)