But never fear, we hopped along to Shoreditch house to catch the talk, and we laughed, almost cried and were bloody impressed by what we saw.
It’s been a while since I wrote anything for YCC or my own poor, neglected site and I’m going to include a little tangent on this post about the surge in coverage and awesome think pieces about women in advertising. But first, a run through of the inspiring stuff from last night.
First up to speak was Jana Labaki who talked us through how D&AD came up with their White Pencil to reward campaigns that used their power for good, that stood up for the little guy. She also touched on the interesting topic of corporate responsibility and how we are starting to see a shift in how big business go about their marketing. She used a couple of cases to illustrate this point but the one below by Droga5 for Gram Crackers is my fave.
Next up was Thea Hamren from Mr President. Who are, for the record an awesome agency and one that I feel the London ad scene really needs.
Thea talked about her incredible personal project called Refugee Phones which, if you have a smartphone lying around at home… DONATE IT. The whole project stems from one simple question; if your house was burning down what would you take? Often the answer is your smartphone, it’s what you use to stay in touch, which is something that is incredibly important to these refugees. Letting a loved one know you’re safe is priceless. Aside from Refugee Phones, Thea also talked about how 2016 is the year for projects with purpose. The tipping point if you will, the point where we all realise that as an industry we have some of the most creative brains in the world, and what the fuck do we do with them? Banners and social posts. We have influence, we have the power of creativity and we should seek to make things with purpose.
Then, Scarlett and Charlie took the stage to talk about Crack and Cider. Now, if you don’t know about Crack and Cider I have a question for you… Where have you been!? It’s a project that has the purpose that Thea mentioned in her talk, plus the drive and love that Scarlett and Charlie possess as creatives. And, Y’know Scarlett is YCC so it’s something we obviously unbiasedly support.
Last but by no means least came Andy Leek. Now, I know what you’re thinking: A MAN!? AT SHESAYS? OUTRAGEOUS. But hey, it’s 2016. Andy may have been the wildcard at the talk but he bowled us over. His talk was funny (check out the MacBook selfie stick and the Edward Snowden bust), endearing and almost made us cry. Andy is an artist who like many of us has worked super hard only to be raked over by big bad Adland. He isn’t shy about talking about it, which I personally applaud. I applaud it because he turned his anger into something good, a simple personal project with a brilliant human element that made people feel good. Check out Notes to Strangers. I think I speak for all us YCC lot when I say we were chuffed with our notes.
I accosted Andy after the talk because I wanted to hear more about his thoughts on the positive changes we can make to the creative industry and how personal projects are the start of that. YCC started out as personal project so for us it’s something we feel very strongly about. Something we did talk about was that he changed his talk at the last minute, he was going to take us through his influences on the final slide and point out that they are all men. He was going to use this to ‘call us out’ if you will. In his words “so that next time I got up to talk all my influences would be female hopefully”. He explained to me that he changed it because he felt fraudulent standing up on a stage and saying that after the amazing talks that had taken place, which I agreed was fair. BUT, he has a point. We need more of that, so much more of it. More Crack & Cider, more Refugee Phones, more big brands going up against the trolls, more female creatives being the change, shouting the change from the rooftops if need be. The advertising industry is failing us on every level from pay gap to thigh gap. We need to advance, to evolve, and I’m excited to say that it’s down to us to change it. We are a community that harbours a wealth of creativity and knowledge. So I am going to pass on Andy’s calling out of this and I’m asking you:
What are you going to do to inspire positive change with an issue/project that matters to you?
Lastly, huge thank you to SheSays for having us along.