Why young creatives are leaving your agency

I want to work on an actual product people want to use.

I want to explore more new technology and ideas not gimmicks.

We never do any interesting work.

We only care about hitting targets.

I don’t feel like I’m learning.

We never push back and tell the client their ideas are shit.

Any of that sound familiar?

Perhaps not. But this is what young creatives are saying behind the suits’ backs when they meet up for a drink these days.

Well, they are in London, according to a very honest blog post written by a freelance digital designer yesterday. And from what I hear, creatives are saying the same things in Asia too.

Here are a few excerpts taken from the post that try to explain to adland’s leaders why youngsters are leaving for pastures new:

1) You won’t stop taking on shit work

Months and months of the same old, soul-destroying, pointless shit for brands and clients who have no desire to do good work is toxic, not just for creatives (and our portfolios) but your entire staff.

2) You don’t innovate

It’s amazing that so many agencies get away with saying they’re innovative but have nothing to show. Oh so you love being innovative so much that you never create anything internally? You’re creativity stops at client work does it? Do us a favour, stop the bullshit.

There seems to be this misconception that to do anything interesting with technology takes too much time and money if a client isn’t paying for it. This is total and utter bollocks.

In the last few months I’ve attended two different hackdays where individuals and small teams made stuff in hours, not weeks or months. These guys were armed with nothing more than a passion and desire for what they do.

3) You keep hiring shit (and not doing anything about it)

Passion and engagement are contagious. But so is negativity and mediocrity. There’s nothing more brutal than watching C players bring down A players. And when your A players leave, who’s going to attract your future talent?

It’s enviable mistakes in hiring are going to be made whilst under pressure, but the problem is that you don’t have the guts to correct them until it’s too late. Bad hire’s are like a cancer, they bring down moral, work and confidence in the business.

4) You don’t stop taking on projects that can’t be delivered unless we work 12 hour days

Tell your account managers (or yourself) to stop selling things that can’t be completed unless we work ourselves to death. I’ve seen people strain their health, relationships and family lives for what? So a deodorant can get more brand awareness? So that we can meet the unrealistic deadline you promised whilst trying to win a pitch? Or so a client can get dozens of mockups before they go on holiday?

This is advertising we’re talking about, not some higher calling. Everything we make is forgotten about in 6 months. Who gives a shit?

5) You don’t give staff any credit

I really don’t understand why more agencies don’t give exposure to the people who do the actual work.

Instead of putting yet another fucking generic CEO/Creative Director quote into a PR piece, why not grab a line from some of the people who actually worked on the project and busted their arse meeting its deadline?

The Junior Creative who stayed late for 2 weeks getting the project out of the door, the account manager who endured weekend calls from the client asking to make a logo bigger, these guys are the agency heroes. Thank you emails are great but they don’t come up in Google and you can’t link to them on blog or CV.

Do the right thing.

6) You don’t buy us decent equipment

This is a no brainer. Get your designers some big fucking screens.

Have you ever had to toggle between designing in Photoshop, a PDF containing wireframes, a email from a client with amendments, Facebook and Twitter all on one poxy 15-inch TFT Dell monitor that the last finance director left behind?

Our job is to create, not worry about the ancient equipment you dragged out the cupboard. No designer wants to play ‘Guess whether Photoshop has crashed’ for half of the day.

Pressed for cash? Apple do a finance plan. Oh and eBay.

This blog post, titled Why Talented Creatives Are Leaving Your Shitty Agency, was published yesterday on Mobile Inc.


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