I'm Imogen and I'm a creative director
Describe your job
I’m a Creative Director in an advertising agency. I come up with ideas and campaigns for our clients. I also manage other creatives to help them do the same. We can come up with anything – scripts for new TV ads, ideas for social media campaigns, PR stunts, poster ideas, scripts for radio ads.
On a typical day we might take a briefing from the account team, interrogate the planners about what the brief is really about, do lots of research, write some ideas, throw them all away, go for a walk, start again, look at the work the other teams have done, create a deck of good ideas and finally present them back to client. (On an exciting day, we actually get to travel the world – or at least the inside of the M25 - and make them.)
What are the most important skills you need to do your job?
You just need to be able to have a good idea, and to be able to talk about it passionately. A background in a creative subject is useful – I was always told you need to know the rules before you can break them– but it’s not necessary to have a qualification in it.
A portfolio of work with 6-8 examples of good ideas/campaigns is worth much more than a degree certificate.
I left school and...
went to college to do a art foundation degree, then to uni to do a degree in Design and Art Direction. There, I discovered creatives in advertising often work in teams, and I met my creative partner of 10 years. We spent our third year doing placements in Leeds and Manchester, working on anything and everything and trying to make ourselves indispensable.
We eventually landed our first job at McCann Manchester, before later making the move down south to McCann London. When my creative partner moved back up north, my new creative partner and I moved to my current agency as creative directors. We work on the British Army, Confused.com and new business pitches.
I’m most proud of...
In the last 4 years, along with my creative partner James Rooke, we’ve created some of the industry’s most talked-about pieces of advertising for the British Army – resulting in the best recruitment figures they’ve ever had, and picking up many awards along the way. Seeing your work being ripped apart by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain is a special moment indeed.
These films, from 2018, took some of the barriers facing potential new recruits, and tackled them in a sensitive, emotional way which was very different and brave for the army.
Before I started my career, I wish I knew…
People hire you because they want to hear your opinion – so don’t hold back!
Also – steal briefs off the printer. Even when you’re a Creative Director. If there’s a brief you want to work on, chuck something in! No one ever will ever say no to a passionate creative.
A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...
Not speaking up soon enough if something doesn’t feel right creatively. Nothing more annoying than getting into a meeting or review, and your boss or your client vocalises the same niggling doubt you’ve had! It all comes out in the wash.
So, what’s next?
Professionally, I’d like to be making work that gets talked about in culture, for brands that are doing something worthwhile. I also want to be known as a driving force for helping more young women into the industry. Starting here!
Personally, I’d just like to be able to sleep for 8 hours without my toddler waking me up.