So you’re considering a move to London. Good for you. Maybe you’ve discovered your grandfather was English (hello passport), or maybe you’re a sucker for chaos, magnetised to the idea of a post-Brexit Britain like Dorothy to a Kansan tornado.
Whatever it is, as that chick from high school who has now become an influencer says – you need to THRIVE, not just SURVIVE.
Consider this your Thrivival Guide to advertising in the UK.
DON’T BE SO OBVIOUS.
Most British agencies have been around since sexism was ‘just a laugh’ but with great heritage comes great big reputations masking the reality of working there in 2020.
If you absorb just one thing from this article, make it this – touch nothing but the recent work.
The UK is a creative hot-pot, sizzling with all kinds of agencies doing campaigns that far outweigh their size. But you’ve got to find them. So put your Nancy Drew hat on, go forth and find work that will make your book worth the airfare.
Check out the classics like Campaign, but don’t forget It’s Nice That, The Dots or WePresent for some off-piste creative.
TWO WORDS: MEAL DEAL.
The dubiously-nutritious fuel of the deadline-ridden creative, meal deals consist usually of a sandwich, drink and a packet of crisps (read: chips) and can be bought for very cheap, very quickly.
But be warned, don’t buy it every day and become “that meal deal guy”.
Because you will, oh you will.
SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEW GOD.
Nothing missiles fear into the hearts of suits faster than the mention of ‘Global’. I’ve personally never met a ‘Global’ but all work must go through them and in one brief email, your campaign can either find the extra budget, or halt production like the Titanic after spotting an iceberg – never to be seen again until James Cameron buys the rights to your tragedy.
Everything you do will become about pleasing these Global Gods. Bring incense.
There are few words I will never stop saying just to please British ears. Pence will always be cents. Courgettes are forever zucchinis. “Lots of feedback” is in fact “Heaps of bloody feedback.” But when it comes to the word ‘Data’, you MUST say it like ‘Data’.
Practice now – DAYYY-TA.
Every time you say it wrong, a full pint, somewhere, somehow, crashes to the floor.
HAVE A STRONG OPINION ABOUT CHRISTMAS.
Only two kinds of people care about Christmas ads: middle-class, pork pie buying mums, and ad creatives.
From October until the end of the year exactly 86% of your Slack conversations will be about dissecting Christmas ads. To get you up to speed, I suggest starting with the Big Dogs: John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Waitrose.
If you’ve not yet done your festive homework and are caught having to give an opinion on a recent ad, just (casually!) say ‘Man on the Moon was way better.’ This may mean nothing to you now, but trust me, your CD will automatically agree and the conversation will move on. Probably to the pub.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT.
Moving to the UK to do advertising is like eating your first proper Sunday roast – you do it on a whim, regret your decision immediately when it arrives, decide it’s not for you, realise the mess on the plate is actually fantastic, then spend every waking moment wondering why you didn’t uncover Grandpa’s birth certificate sooner.
As they (never) say over here – best of British luck!