Creative Director & Podcast Host

Bird by Bird - By Ricky Richards

Seymour The Second

I woke up this morning after 9 hours of solid sleep feeling refreshed and ready to go. When I got to work I spent some time finishing some illustrative idents for a Virgin Atlantic project that the studio is currently working on. I didn’t start on the project so it’s more a case of chipping in to get it out the door. When you start a new job you really want to get stuck into something new, so anything I can do to get this one finished is all good. At lunch I received an email from a friend of mine called Maria. She was looking for some contacts to work on an experimental instillation project for an up and coming Adidas shoe launch. They wanted to try and release it in time for Crep City, which is an event held for sneakerheads in Shoreditch twice a year.

I told her I was working at a new studio and we fired over some images of the work we’ve done in the hope we can work on it as a bit of a fun project. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow or next week if it’s a goer. It was also good to show that I can bring some value to the studio and that I’m not just there to get a pay packet. There is a real entrepreneurial spirit in the office and its nice to feel part of a team that wants to do good work. Ross is keen to get some briefs through the door that have the potential to be award winners, and I’m all for that.

On the subject of wages. I found out a funny fact today about a term used for money called the Seymour. The term comes from a man called Geoff Seymour, who cause salary hype when he became the first creative to earn £100,000 a year joining Saatchi and Saatchi in 1982. A copywriters average pay at the time was £15,000.

You're the highest paid man in advertising. You're aloud to smile Geoff.

You're the highest paid man in advertising. You're aloud to smile Geoff.

Apparently people used to refer to their wage based on the Seymour. So half a Seymour or a Seymour and a bit etc. He came up with the line, Reassuringly Expensive for Stella Artois, as well as the classic Hovis bread commercial. So fair play to him, he must have had some balls to ask for a 60K jump in pay. I’ve recently heard of a creative team going to Mother London that are earning 90K a year at the age of 30, having done one really notable piece of work at another agency. With pay packets like that, you can see why creatives wait it out at reputable ad agencies, not getting any work out for years at a time, preying for the chance to create a classic ad that pushes them into the advertising greats. Not that anyone cares apart from other people in advertising.

I definitely have a love hate relationship with advertising. It’s definitely creative, and it’s amazing for training your idea generating muscles, but it’s also often selling a bunch of crap at the end of the day. The thing that annoys me most is that you’re only partially in control of your own success. There are so many variables that are out of your control. The biggest, of course, is the client. The person with 0 creative experience, yet the final say. And while some would argue their expertise is business, it’s hard to validate that when you see the amount of mistakes they make.

I often feel as though the success of some people is purely persistence and dumb luck. I’m not knocking that at all, I find it extremely hard to dedicate myself to anything much longer than a month, I get bored. But still, it’s amazing how badly run a lot of client businesses are and yet they have relative success. The thing with being a person in advertising is you’re putting yourself in a saturated market of ideas people. If you work in advertising for long enough that you get genuinely good, and then jump ship to go client side or start your own business, then in theory, you should blitz the competition. That’s why I love learning about business and throwing myself in the deep end sometimes. I’m trying to use my 20’s as a way to learn all the lessons I will need for smashing life in my 30s.

Moving on from that…. I got the illustrations from Perry today for the new FOBI site. They look great. I haven’t got them as individual files yet but when I do I’ll share them. I also received my scholarship confirmation letter from Central Saint Martins, and I was given a presentation brief and three books to read before I start in October. The books came to £65. I was not impressed. As I read them I’ll be sure to take notes, so that any student studying in the future can just download my PDF’s and save themselves the cost.

I also picked up my second pair of glasses today. Natasha requested a picture so she got this…

Blue tint doing it's job, nice to see.

Blue tint doing it's job, nice to see.

These are my second pair and I’ve gone for a more stylistic pair of Raybans. Doesn’t really work with this t-shit, but with a crisp black shirt they should look pretty cool. On the subject of Natasha, we had a catch up this evening. She’s working on a couple of big pieces for a show back home in Devon. Including some solo pieces that I’m looking forward to seeing. I do miss her, but somehow she manages to turn a 5 minute conversation into a 30 minute one every time. She knows anything longer than 2 minutes on the phone and I start to get inpatient. Never mind ay, at least it means I will be posting this so late that no one will see it. :) Just one more thing. As it's only really my friends that currently read this. I'm curious to see when you think I'll earn my first Seymour. Put your guesses below and if you're the closest I'll take you on holiday with me to celebrate!

Ricky Richards