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My path to being an advertising ‘creative’ – by Rohit Tharakan

“Being a creative has its ups and downs, but, it can be a really exciting career. It allows you to really push, pull, and stretch your imagination as far as it can go.” Rohit’s dream was to work in advertising and with a bit of help from Creative Access, that dream became a reality…

I work in advertising as a ‘creative’.

My mum will tell you I’m a graphic designer.
My dad will tell you I’m not a doctor.
And my friends will tell you I’m the devil and the reason they all have Ad Blocker.

What the hell is a “creative”?

This rather pretentious sounding title is indeed a real career. The creative’s job is to solve the client’s business problems. Whether it’s creating a TV ad to increase sales or a social campaign for brand awareness, they use imaginative thinking to help the client.

Creatives typically come in a team of two; an Art Director and a Copywriter. Art Directors are responsible for the visuals and overall look and feel of a campaign, whereas the Copywriter concentrates on the written elements like writing the scripts, headlines, etc. From brainstorming ideas to working on shoots, Art Directors and Copywriters work insanely close together. We’re almost joined to the hip, like those twins from The Shining except with nose piercings and the occasional face tattoo.

Working at Ogilvy

I work for Ogilvy London as a Junior Copywriter.

It’s not a bad place to call your office. Situated by the River Thames, the view alone is absolutely gorgeous.

I mean, it’s easily better than my current office, working from home in a house share of six tenants and one working toilet.

But make no mistake, the office can be a very dangerous place. Like Ogilvy, most ad agencies are notorious for being dog friendly so make sure you’re ready for any of these fluffy hounds trying to maul you into a 15-minute belly rub.

Here’s a picture of me next to a dangerous beast I’ve managed to overpower with my bulging muscles and fearfully intimidating energy.

How I got into advertising

Ironically advertising is one of the least advertised careers out there, so it was only once I started my psychology degree at university where I finally stumbled upon it. And by that point, I was in so much student debt it made no sense to drop out.

My journey into advertising was long. Instead of spending more money to go to Ad school, I started a well-balanced diet of poorly paid internships and sleeping on as many friends’ floors and sofas as possible, whilst slowly assembling a portfolio. It was a friend who recommended Creative Access to me and Anoushka from the Creative Access team kindly prepared me for some of the internships I was applying for.

I was desperate to become a creative in advertising because, in all honesty, it’s a very fun career where you are literally daydreaming silly or thrilling ideas and thinking of new innovative ways to get people to listen to you. Here’s an example of some work we created for Argos. We made these Spotify ads that targeted what type of music you were listening to, which fortunately won us an award and got us featured in Campaign Magazine.


Diversity in advertising

Advertising is an amazing industry filled with the most talented people you’ll ever meet. However, when it comes to diversity, particularly within creative departments, we’re very much behind. Luckily the industry has recognised this and now there are more schemes trying to open the doors to people from different backgrounds. One of these is ‘The Pipe’ from Ogilvy, which is a brilliant way to fast track your career into the ad industry.

Getting into advertising

Being a creative has its ups and downs, but, it can be a really exciting career. It allows you to really push, pull, and stretch your imagination as far as it can go.

Your qualifications really don’t matter in this job, what matters is your passion to solve problems with innovative thinking. After all, it definitely beats staring at a spreadsheet all day (ew).

You can follow Rohit on Instagram: @rohittharakan.