I’m only a punter ... but I don’t want to be. I’m half of one of
those ever-so-keen, eager to please, living-in-cloud-cuckoo land, junior
creative teams. Out of college but not yet out of nappies. Mere babies
paying their dues in the industry. You’ve probably got one down the
corridor right now or, more likely, around the pool table.
Fair enough, everyone’s been there, done that and being on placement in
an agency seems to be accepted as a necessary evil. But there’s one
little matter which has to change before the industry starts losing the
next generation of talent before they’re even on the bottom rung.
You see, the DSS are on to us. They’ve already sussed that the agencies
have long since being paying us out of petty cash and now they’re after
the poor, young creative claiming money from the state. Yes, that team
you hired on placement down the hall. And the team you saw yesterday
with that great book. We’re all about to get shafted. Since the DSS
targeted agencies, most now pay placements ’through the books’ which
means those on placements should sign off.
But you don’t, mainly because the placement is sometimes only a couple
of weeks and things like housing benefit take weeks for the bureaucrats
to sort out. You can’t declare to the DSS that you’re on a placement
because, unbelievably, they see this as being ’unavailable for work’.
Then they’re on your back. They think you’re a dosser. The agencies
utter murmurings of sympathy but no-one offers a solution.
Despite what some agencies may believe, the answer isn’t to abolish
placements altogether. The experience of your first placement is
But, after saying that, if we merit a work trial surely we deserve a
half-decent wage? And by half decent, I don’t mean tens of thousands of
pounds, just maybe three figures a week rather than two.
If we got that, we’d sign off. The DSS would see that we were making a
genuine effort and give us more time when we signed back on. Everybody’s
Please, think about it. As the DSS sends us on our re-education course,
we’ll certainly be thinking about it.
Either the industry starts taking the idea of the placement seriously or
you could see the future stars of British advertising serving you a Big
Mac and fries.
The things people will do for a World Cup ticket. Channel 4 is
running an expose on a French ticket tout who has 15,000 tickets to sell
- 4,000 more than the UK’s allocation - and BMP4 has created a press ad
featuring a ticket to help promote the show.
The art director on the campaign, Richard Lovell (pictured), was deemed
to be a better model than his copywriter, Martin Cox. Sarah Myland,
business director at BMP4, also had to promise she wouldn’t let the
ticket fall into the ’wrong hands’.
So, to get your hands on a ticket in this country, you have to make an
ad - or find the man with 15,000 spare tickets ...