This week, we bring you our (not-so-serious) take on the lives of hot-shot creatives.

How to be a hot shot creative

Forget AWARD School – here’s everything you need to know about making it as a creative in advertising.

Christopher Moriarty



4 minute read

You’ve always told stories and drawn doodles; you had dreams of art even as a child. People always said you were funny, sometimes even 'haha funny’. They praised your imagination. Not just friends and family, unbiased strangers too. Well, congratulations, you might just be a Creative. Now, here’s how to make the most of your gift-slash-curse.
In short
  • Attempt to earn a living as a true Creative Spirit before realising you can’t be a starving artist and turn to advertising.
  • Generate your ideas the honest way – with a heavy dose of inspiration from the internet.
  • Enjoy your 15 seconds of fame when your ad goes live on the side of the bus and free-to-air TV.
Study your craft

Of course, formal training is important, but of equal importance is informal training. Observation and recall, specifically of culture and pop culture, is going to come in handy later on. Develop a wide variety of interests and skills then hone none of them to perfection. That way you can be sort of okay at a great many things.

Try making money from art
Attempt, over many years, to become a successful artist/writer/actor. Fail. Repeat as many times as your parents’ money will allow. If that number is in the low single digits, then you may need to actually get a job. Eventually enter advertising, where you can trade ideas for money.

“In front of you, you should now have a desk, a computer, a pad of paper and many pens and pencils with which to create your masterpiece.”

Don’t expect to be Don Draper
Ad land in the 21st century is as far from Madison Avenue as you can get. The days of three-piece suits and long liquid lunches on the client’s dime are gone. Thanks to Covid, Zoom and Teams, you’re lucky to enjoy a drink with all of your colleagues, let alone your clients. While we’ve said goodbye to ideation sessions where cocktails flow as freely as concepts, new ways of working like agile teams have pulled Creatives out of their silos and into the (virtual) real world.
Immerse yourself in the act of creation
To sell an idea, you must first have an idea. In front of you, you should now have a desk, a computer, a pad of paper and many pens and pencils with which to create your masterpiece. Time to get to work… browsing the Internet. Its ever-changing culture isn’t only the context for your idea – somewhere in the jungle of monkey NFTs and cat videos might also be your inspiration..
Don’t give up on shelved ideas
Your idea might not fit the very next brief that drops into your inbox, but it might fit the next one. Or the one after. Or maybe the one after that? Wait until you’ve given up hope. Then, months later, realise that it might just be perfect for your shiny new brief. As you put it on the table, cast a glance back at your shelf of unused ideas and promise them that their time will come.
Sell the sizzle before cooking the steak
Whatever the idea, whether it’s an old favourite or a brave new concept, the important thing you have to do now is sell it in to the client. And the first step toward selling the client on your idea is to sell it up the chain internally.
Present and garnish
After several internal rounds of notes, comments, deletions, additions, revisions, and reworkings, the idea is ready to be presented to the client. Who… LOVES it but just wants to see ‘a few small tweaks’. Finally, your idea, which now looks quite a bit different to the one your client first bought, is ready to become an ad.
LIVE from the side of a bus, it’s YOUR AD
You did it! Your ad is now out there in the world, popping up on websites and obscure articles, or on heavy rotation as a 15-second, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cutdown during primetime free-to-air TV. It’s garnering thousands of semi-interested eyeballs an hour, and the occasional gentle nose laugh. But no advertising success story would be complete without the commenters on Campaign Brief ripping your ad to shreds. That’s how you know you’ve made it, right?
on creative thinking
We reckon this article will give you a chuckle or two, but you might still be curious about what sort of thinking drives creative minds. Take kicking your brain into gear by giving it a break. And consider your perspective on experimentation – not every idea needs to be successful to be useful.

Written by Christopher Moriarty, 52 Words and editing by Abby Clark, key visual by Laura Murphy, page built by Patrick Brennan
CX Lavender acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.