What does an associate creative director do?
At the top of an agency you have an executive creative director (ECD), who oversees every piece of creative work and ensures it’s of the highest possible standard when it goes out the door. Under that, you have creative directors (CDs), who steer the creative teams’ ideas and help get them to the best place they can be – a place that not only the ECD will like, but the client too. Then there’s my role. As an associate creative director (ACD), I come up with creative ideas and work with the CDs. I’m trusted to look after a couple of smaller accounts and take some briefs and jobs off the CDs to ease their workload and have creative teams work with me.
I love my role because I still get to think up ideas, but I also have the responsibility of looking after some work. For a creative, coming up with original thoughts and seeing them through to fruition is by far the best bit. We get to think of ideas, sometimes crazy ones, and we get paid to do it. Brilliant.
What skills are most essential to the job?
An open mind.
What resource do I recommend?
If there’s one thing any creative should read, it’s the D&AD annuals. Every year the best work in the world is judged, and the very best pieces get into the these books which have been published every year for over 30 years. I tell all young creatives to look through them, pore over the pages and ask themselves “What makes that good?” By doing this young teams understand what makes a good piece of work and, more importantly, the thinking involved to create it.
A tip for getting a foot in the door
There are many ways young creatives have tried to get their feet in the door over the years – gimmicks, some good, some very bad. This is a fine line and you can get it wrong because you don’t know the recipient’s sense of humour. The best way is to come up with several bits of work to show your thinking. That is what you’ll get hired on, not a gimmick.