The Bristol Creative Director’s Network met again a few days ago to welcome the Creative Director of St Luke’s, Al Young to a fine eating establishment in the heart of Clifton. A founding member of the famous advertising agency and twice voted one of the UK’s ‘hottest’ Creative Directors by Campaign, Al certainly lived up to all our expectations. Over what was a very early Christmas dinner, Al shared some of his knowledge on how to get the most out of a creative team. Coincidentally, this was all in the week that Claire Beale wrote about ‘nuturing creative teams’ in her leader column.
There was a great body of creatives from Bristol in attendance all from large network agencies, smaller independents and animation studios – including Aardman of course. Many top lips were also sporting wild Mexican ‘taches, thanks to what was the end of ‘Movember’. It felt like we were on the set of ‘Blazing Saddles’.
Aside from many funny anecdotes from his days in advertising, Al threw some interesting thoughts around the table, kicking off with a scene from The Wire which explained how as a leader, ‘it’s either about you or the work’. The important message out of this was how a creative team will naturally follow a CD’s behaviour so setting a great example, never taking all the credit and remaining positive is always crucial.
Each point that Al made was discussed at length between courses – I say that as somehow we did manage to fit in time to eat and drink too! From the importance of spending time (‘up to 7 hours initially’) with an account director and planner to understand the brief correctly in the first instance to hiring people from all different walks of life (‘never hire your own image’) and dealing with difficult clients (‘it’s far better to stick with it and finding a solution to the problem’).
These evenings are a great reminder how important it is to share experiences with like minded people. As Steve Jones, the Sex Pistols guitarist once said, ‘Punk is a state of mind, not a way of dress’ and the same could be said of being a creative. Thanks Al for a very enlightening and entertaining evening.