What ECD’s Are Really Looking For

Why do Executive Creative Directors choose to hire one Creative over another?

It’s a huge subject, which we’ll no doubt return to repeatedly. But one theme that keeps coming up is ECD’s reporting they are looking for “something that’s not currently offered by anyone else in the department.”

That’s an intimidating thought for young Creatives. What are the chances, they wonder, that there could be something in my book that none of the Creatives in the department would ever think of?

Even senior Creatives, who have a wealth of experience and awards behind them, can be rejected due to falling down on this rather vague requirement to “offer something different.”

Although for senior Creatives, it’s perhaps easier to understand what is meant by it, since over time, Creatives do tend to become known for a certain type of work.

For example, there was a team in the UK who went by the nicknames “Big & Glossy”, which wasn’t a comment on their physical attributes, but on their work, which was universally considered to be visually impressive, but creatively uninspiring. It wasn’t the type of work that most Creatives aspired to do, yet they kept being hired for big roles at big agencies. One ECD who hired them explained it like this: “Many briefs call for that kind of work, and I don’t have anyone else who can do it.”

For young Creatives, the requirement to offer something different should be viewed as inspiring rather than disheartening. It’s an injunction to be yourself and follow your own passions, rather than to try to copy what everyone else is doing.

If you’re a bit of a poet, write headlines and voiceovers that are lyrical. If you’ve got an extremely quirky sense of humour, bring it into your work. If you’re a tech fiend, then feel free to geek out.

When your work is truly ‘you’, it’s far more likely that ECD’s will see it as the kind of work that no one else in their department could do. After all, no one else can be you, except you.