Graham Fink

We were lucky enough to see Graham Fink the executive creative director of M&C Saatchi yesterday. Out of nowhere he dropped us an email around Christmas inviting us an in to see him. After one canceled meeting last month we were in his diary again, but this time we made it.

You hear all sorts of Mr. Fink so we were quite curious about his office and were not disappointed to find he has one of the coolest offices we've visited. Graham was already familiar with some of our work as he met us at the Cream Exhibition and enjoyed the new stuff in the portfolio. He gave some great advice on specific campaigns but the overall guidance was ever better and very motivating.

He took some time to write us a comment at the end of the book which sums up the meeting pretty well. We'll make sure to take it in.

R&R at DLKW

We got a call the other day from Richard from DLKW after being recommended by a team from Leo's. So yesterday we went in to see him and his partner Remco with our work. They are top blokes who included us in their office chocolate round and told us about the changes going on in their agency, including their new ECD George Prest who we worked with at Lowe. All our fingers are crossed for that oportunity.

In the meantime we had a short meeting with the bank and secured a month freelance contract starting next wednesday. All good.

David B

The mighty David 'DeathSpin' Buonaduidi welcomed us yesterday in his white Karmahouse for a chat about our book. We heard that they were not particularly looking for teams but always keens on seeing them. I was glad that Dave recognized me from back then when I've met him at the Under the Influence talk organized by Iris.

The meeting was rather positive as Dave was precise and to the point with his opinions on our work. Stuff like Paperchase and TfL he found nice, but not in the best way. He was more keen on our Greenpeace, Ryanair and the direction J2O was heading. We wanted to see Karmarama for some time now and were happy to finally done so. We left our contacts and entered his freelance radar, a good thing we think. Back to work now. Jai is helping his mum, she's a singer, and has a concert today. She does all the time but rarely it is in London. On my end I decided to look into a bunch of strategies and write a list of new ones. We're getting ready to continue our visits to creatives who wave their arms. Who's next?

Dave Trott

Yesterday we went to see Dave Trott, creative director at CST. We knew it would be interesting to talk to him and show him our work – and it t was a brilliant session indeed. Dave certainly knows how to be a brand himself. He compares getting a job to selling a product – of course he's right, we are the most important product we'll ever sell. It's about researching the market (creative directors) and looking into the product (the creative team) and matching those two together. We like the fact that the whole topic was more how to get the job rather than the work. In fact, we spend two hours with Dave, and he didn't even look at our book.

There were lots of nuggets we took away from this meeting, lessons you won't find on his blog. A lot to take in, and a great deal to talk about. Perfect to kick the January blues in the ass and rock on. Thanks Dave.

Portfolioing

Bookwork rules our daily schedules nowadays and it's big fun. Even more after our first bookcrit this year with WCRS on Friday. We saw Oli and Alex, a team who helped us a great deal. We have a few new pieces and they seemed to liked them and wanted more, so we give them more.

This week starts off with seeing Rory at The Talent Business and an integrated agency about potential freelance work tomorrow. We're charged.

Creative Direction

Today we had an hour and half sit down with Tony Davidson, we talked about work, W+K and random things that popped into our heads. Boy does that guy knows his stuff, we walked away from it with our heads spinning.

Full of insight, he talked about where things are going, how he thinks brands should be engaging with people, stuff he likes to do, where he goes looking for ideas and how he wants his agency to evolve. The guy is a motivated genius and wanted to genuinely give us his time and help us. If we’re honest, we probably learnt more over that short casual chat than we have done over our entire month here.

It wasn’t like most reviews where we talked about the ads and strategies. Today we sat there and talked about issues, people, problems, emotions and solutions; very few of them being ads. It was eye opening and inspiring. Cheers Tony.

Some good news, we’ve been extended a week to finish up some work we’re having produced.

Offices, Bananas and Fallon

Today saw us bright and early on Fallon's doorstep, eager and waiting to show our work to Chris and John, the lads behind Skoda Bake, Budweiser Popcorn and The List. It took quite a while to see them but it was well worth the wait – we appreciate them making time for us. The guys are super friendly and gave us some solid advice, we’ll be snapping up their words of wisdom and will get in there to show that we mean business.

We also got to see Fallon's new offices on Great Titchfield Street which they moved to just this week. They're pretty impressive granted there are a few missing floor boards and many a builders bum about. Although we haven’t seen the other floors, the creatives have got it quite nice, very spacious and lots of new furnishings to get marker pens on.

Birds, Trees and TBWA

I guess it is lucky, perhaps we should hang out under trees waiting to get shat on more often?

A few weeks ago we got a call from LIZH telling us that when they sent our portfolio to TBWA and out of the lot 'Steve Henry has seen your book and wants to see you guys’. So we bobbed along to Charlotte St for a short meeting with the big man and got on brilliantly. He gave us some great advice and offered to get us in front of the team in charge of organizing placements. Yesterday, we finally got a chance to go in and see Julia Taylor, and it’s now confirmed. We’re scheduled to start September, happy as we are we have our fingers crossed to have our names on a contract by then. So for now, 18 days to Wieden+Kennedy.

KesselsKramer Outlet

We have a great meadow in front of our agency, it's vibrantly populated with lots of people from Leo's and the surrounding companies in Kensington Village. Today, while most of them were tanning during lunchtime, we sacrificed our precious food hour and made our way to visit the KKOutlet, KesselsKramer new London office.

There, we met Richard Walker, the Creative Director and showed him our work. We admire the work of KesselsKramer and are very excited about what they might will do in London. If we keep pushing our book, maybe we'll get the chance to be part of it someday. Have a look at some of the stuff they did.

Jai & Wal at Portfolio Night London

Free drinks, lots to chat about, old friends and some new ones, a sprinkle of creative directors and six book crits. Blimey, that was a lot to fit into one evening but the guys from ihaveanidea.org pulled it off beautifully. And not just in London, but in 21 other cities around the world on the same night. A global creative orgy. A big hats off to them.

At the beginning we were told to follow a fine tuned system for speed dating with CDs, and were asked to move to the table on your right after every crit. Sorry guys, we weren’t about to follow that – in fact we don’t think anyone did. We went in with a plan of who our book was going to be seen by and nothing was going to get in our way.

Luckily for us the friendly, smiley undertones of 'look at our work' paid off and our night went really well, seeing six creative directors. Quite fantastic. Lots of advice, lots of opinions, lots to take in, lots of contacts and all was lots of fun. We had 15 minutes with each CD to show our stuff, make an impression and try to seal the deal.

The registration was handled by a bunch of first years from St. Martins, good work

The event was hosted by JWT in Knightsbridge

Reunion time in the garden, Rob, Jai, Chris, Wal, Ray and Bernd

The high temperature allured everyone into the garden to drink the nerves away

Don't know 'em, but they're cool

Rob, that's no way to impress Renee

Lusea Arabella Karenza Warner and Tom

Ready for creative torture

Say hello to our new friends Dave, Andy and Jose

Ade and Mike, good luck to them at Lowe

Drop your drinks and gather

While last year was small and cozy, this year was epic

Brian trying to be funny, excuse him he's Canadian

The creative directors waiting for the first wave of fresh blood

The most organized part of the evening

Who do you want to see? You better be quick.

Maybe if we didn't take so many damn pictures we could have got more crits?


The Creative Directors we were lucky enough to see

Laurence Quinn from JWT

Brian Campbell Creative Director at AMV/BBDO

Paul Silburn, Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi

Will Awdry, Creative Partner Ogilvy London

Chris Clarke, Creative Director Digitas

Iain Tait, Founder of Poke, brain behind crackunit.com

Last minute crits in the lounge

After too many critiques Jai's having problems controlling his facial expressions

Now don’t ask how, but we somehow managed to score three placement offers, result! So not only was it a jolly but in the end it turned out to be quite productive and not just for us but a load of our mates too. Well done to everyone.

You can take our word for it being the most useful event in our calendar so far this year. Hopefully we’ll never have to go to another one ever ever again.

One Hundred And Ninety-nine

Good morning. How are you? Did you enjoy last night? Hope so. This is the 199st post on Creative in London, and originally we planned to post '9.99 advice to help you getting a killer advertising portfolio' as we have been putting together advice we've received from people over the last couple of months. Then, we changed our minds, because we think we realised something. There are no short cuts, all the advice in the world sounds great but until you go through experiences and understand things yourself it doesn't mean much even if you think you're getting it. All advice needs context and yesterday we finally 'understood' a really important piece of advice.

Last night after work, we were at BBH for the fourth time in as many months. It's a tough nut to crack. Out of all the agencies we've been to so far, it must be the one with the highest standards for placement teams. Apparently they've seen over 100 books in the last year and not one has reached the Creative Director. But there's a good reason, they only get placements in that they intend to hire. We think that's great. No wasting time, you know where you stand, here's an opportunity so don't fuck it up.

After we showed the 'Gatekeepers of the black sheep' (as we call them) they sent us away with lots of advice, which we filtered down to what we think is the most important one. We heard it before, it's one of Ed Morris' motto's - 'Don't let a good idea stop you from having a better one'. Although they didn't say it, that's what we got out of it. We have good ideas in our portfolio, we enjoy the work in the book, but sometimes it stops us from having better ones. Perhaps a little obvious to say, like a lot of advice we get, however the thing is yesterday it really rang home, so now that's what we intend to strive for.

But for now, enough of the seriousness, enjoy May Day, my horoscope told me to find a reason to celebrate, thus I choose the beginning of spring. And I'm sure Scamp & proxikid will be celebrating, they are both one year wiser today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

All good

That's us. After six weeks of lots of work on our portfolio we are having a great beginning of the week. Yesterday morning we saw Fabian & Ida at W+K and we're going there for a placement around May, yesss! Afterwards we saw Scamp and his partner at BBH who gave us an ace of a crit with great advice.

A quick rest and we made our way to drop off the book at Lowe where it was to be seen by the creative director, Ed Morris (forwarded by The Talent Business). We're glad as he seemed to like the book and we'll start our first placement as a team this monday there. We cannot wait!

Dude, get the dust off the book!

Today saw this years first book crit for us, and it was at Wieden+Kennedy, not a bad way to start. As expected it was great, the team, Fabian & Ida was really nice, gave some great suggestions and asked us to stay in touch since decisions about placements are to be made. We seemed to be a bit rusty and should have asked more questions to wheedle more out of them about the bad sides of our book, but hey. Oh, they did like the mugs we've sent them.

Next station led us to Covent Garden to see Rory at The Talent Business to have a good old natter. All that was missing was Helen Daniels from Ramsey Street. The session proved to be very productive and exciting. To wind the day down we ended up in Masala Zone, great decor, great service, great food, a gem of a find (see snap of the day). More things to come.

The day after

Ok, London's first Portfolio night is over. It was good. It was strange. It was amazing. The pizza was tasty and the beer was cold. We've met a bunch of very nice people. Hello & thanks to everyone! We had the chance to glance at some books but missed others.

We arrived at the venue in Covent Garden at 7pm and signed in. Upstairs was already filled up by a group of young creatives – waiting for the event to begin, every minute more and more kept arriving. The review were handled in three groups which were announced upfront, we belonged to the first group, scheduled to begin at eight. It started a little bit late, which was expected. Not all of the announced creative directors attended the event, but there were more than plenty really excellent and experienced creative directors there – only two or three were missing (although replaced by other people from the same agencies).

Every participant were to see three creatives. Since we brought a second copy of our book we seized the chance to split up and see three each. It went by way to fast. But it was well worth it. It went like speed dating and after 15 minutes you had to change the table to the next creative director – but time was stretched here and there. 15 minutes. That's way to short, but possible. We got really good opinions on our stuff. Like most of young creatives know who have book crits a lot, opinions vary a lot. This was even more obvious in such a short time between the opinions. 45 minutes, three creative directors, six for both of us. The outcome for us: four options/offers for a creative placement.

Afterwards we stayed on to meet more young creatives and left only at the very end, maybe to late – the bad things came afterwards: Both of us were having nightmares this night about posters chasing after us and creative directors bombarding us with opinions – it was a proper portfolio review overdose. Thanks a lot ihaveanidea.org, we'll come again next year.

Young creatives from all over London

Snacks, cold beer and a very relaxed atmosphere were all present

Introduction & some rules before the start

David & Phoebe from What if... didn't want their faces to appear on the internet,
we found a compromise

Anna & Iain, our friends, the little team from the guardian

The third group is lining up for their turn

The creative directors move in

The young Gladiators are entering the review arena

The venue was stylish – very noisy at times though

The Tigers
Others call them Creative Directors

Andy Sandoz, former Creative Director at Agency Republic and man behind sandoz.co.uk

Richard Hale, Creative Director at Agency Republic

Graham Fink, Creative Director at M&C Saatchi

Dave Bedwood, Creative Director at Lean Mean Fighting Machine

Russell Ramsay, Chief Creative Director at BBH
Just before the event we placed beer-mats on every review table, if you would turn them around you could see us. Not many people did, but the ones who did, liked it. Fun.

One bad thing about the portfolio night: a lot of people who stayed till the end didn't get the promised goody bags, so no portfolio night t-shirts for us :(

Portfolio Night in London

Brett from ihaveanidea sent us an email yesterday about a very interesting happening in the beginning of may – the Portfolio Night 5 World Tour. Their poster design rather suggests an occult ritual but there's more to it. It sounds to be the biggest book-crit ever.

On the 3rd of May young creatives will have the chance to put their books in front of local & international creative directors in 23 cities around the world (face-to-face as well as online response after uploading your book). This event happens now for the fifth time – the gallery shows it to be an american thing which swaps over to us and London will participate as well. Tickets will be around 25 € for an individual, but we'll wait until there is a list with names of CD's from London before we sign up but we're very much up for it – it sounds like a lot of fun!

'Portfolio Night is not about reviewing junior portfolios, it is about uniting our industry at all levels for one day and helping make the next generation the best generation. On May 3, careers will be made, giants will be born, beers will be drank and friendships will be made. For those that have never attended Portfolio Night in the past, all we can tell you is that it is a magical night.'

Any thoughts on this? Could also be a wonderful opportunity to meet up for London's young creatives.

Drowning

Before Christmas we sent out a .pdf with the strategies we worked on for our spec book. We sent them to creative teams we enjoyed meeting. Nobody got back to us though.

Maybe it was the wrong time to catch people's attention attention, seems like everybody was already on holiday or trying to get everything done. Now we sent out another email, asking for help and now - look look - we got replies! Actually no thoughts on our ideas but chances to come in and see people, worth much more in our eyes. We have to do some nightshifts to get agency work done and refine these ideas in the next couple of days.

Last but not least some updates: We saw James Woods of Grand Union two weeks ago, right after coming back from holidays, it's a pretty good digital agency a field we didn't get any experience in yet. Last Tuesday we met Phill Clark from TheLawFirm, nice guy, interesting company. As you might know Nick Bell the Executive Creative Director just left JWT London and it's a bit strange here, without him. We are doing our best to get the work done but it's a shame that we didn't have more time to work with him. We miss you Nick!

A present for Xmas?

Christmas is coming up, time is running away – we still have loads of work to do. We promised ourselves to have a few new spec campaigns ready for January, so far we've got some strategies we like and we are about to run them by our favorite creatives. Our placement at pd3 seems coming to an end after Christmas, so long we're still enjoying to work on ambient ideas here!

But just when we were starting seriously worrying about having a placement for January people started to call us with possible offers. We're looking forward to hear more from DraftFCB, the Law Firm, Grand Union and JWT. Could Santa please bring us news about a placement for the new year?

What we're up to now

Our placement at pd3 is going very well, we feel really good here and it's quite busy. Our briefs include the guardian, o2, a museum and several novel launches. The best thing? All of the work is ambient or stunt, so we get well practiced in creating brand experiences and interacting with our surrounding – urban communication.

We got asked to stay here for the next weeks, so that's brilliant. At the same time we try to spend as much of our free time as possible to get a new book together, you can expect some stuff on this topic very soon.

Kristin is feeling half-dead today, since we worked on some strategies for airlines yesterday (in the pub) and it turned into a discussion about fear of flying she could only stand with some drinks, maybe too many? I hope she'll be fine since we have a bookcrit scheduled at TBWA later on. Maybe she will even be able to do the D&AD president's lecture tonight?


Desk at work


View from the back of the pd3 office