Creatives

I was in an interview and the cd kept asking if the campaigns on my site were my idea or the copy writers. I kept repeating it was both of ours. I don’t believe that I am ever the sole creator.

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I love that response, “Well, I don’t want to take ALL the credit. My copywriter definitely contributed as well.” (Since the implication is that it’s the cw who came up with everything.) Like when Ronald Reagan was asked about his age in a debate and said, “I don’t want to hold my opponent’s youth and inexperience against him.”

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All too frequently, there is one great “idea” person in a team and there is a passenger. It can be the copywriter or it can be the art director. As far as I’ve seen it’s 50/50 but teams are rarely evenly weighted in terms of that particular talent. The CD was probably just trying to identify where the conceptual strength lay, which is not unreasonable considering how expensive it is to hire someone. If you need a certain skill set, you don’t want to bring someone on board who doesn’t have it. I’ve hired art directors for their ability to make things look great knowing that weren’t strong around the idea and I’ve hired writers who could craft snappy copy and dialogue who had the same problem. But I did so knowing what their strengths and weaknesses were. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know what you’re buying.

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Still. Have some class.

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But was that a bad move? I just think it’s foolish and rude to say that something that both my partner and I spent hours working on together is all mine. Even if it were I wouldn’t have gotten to that creative without my partner.

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I think that showed good character, personally. Less so for the CD.

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The only thing you may need to work on is how you articulate the team effort. The interview is about you and you don’t want them robbing you of your contribution. Depending on your seniority and what you’re applying for the things you emphasize will differ. It’s often assumed the writer wrote the headline or came up with the campaign. This is why the CD may be drilling you about your contribution. In my case I’ve written and came up with a lot of my work with AD as my core background. Most of it in fact. It’s often the more conceptual and strategic element to talk about despite it all working together. I’ve written scripts too. In the end, the more you explain the more you’re truly highlighting your capabilities. It’s less about credit.

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I think what you did was truthful and the right thing to do. Coming from smaller companies/agencies, this question is hard for me when I interview at bigger places because I’ve never had a partner. 😢 At the most, the CD was the owner who reviewed the work once I created it and he’d give minor suggestions. So I don’t know how to answer this question without coming across like I’m some hotshot who wants all the glory.

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