Emily Tan
Sep 11, 2015

Why are today's junior creatives such pussies? Iris

SINGAPORE - The session with the provocative title above began with Grant Hunter, regional creative director for Iris Worldwide, trying to explain that the title actually referred to kittens, not female genitalia.

Hunter (left) and Cheong
Hunter (left) and Cheong

"I mean pussies as in, you tickle them under the chin and they roll over, and when the going gets tough, they run and hide," said Hunter, adding that his wife objected to the talk's title. 

One reason junior creatives are overly cautious, he said, is that Singapore in particular, is too comfortable and has created a culture of complacency and entitlement.

But how hard you've had it isn't a true measure of great creativity, said Ed Cheong, creative director for Iris. "It's more about how badly you want to be a creative and how much you want to take your creativity as far as you can," he said. 

The two shared some pointers for young creatives who don't want to fall into a complacent rut:

  • Employers don't want to be parents. They don't want a bunch of kids at work. Yes, workplaces should be nurturing, but it's not the bosses' job to make you happy.
  • This generation badly wants to have money so they can enjoy life. That's great. But you're not entitled to that life experience, you have to earn it. 
  • Don't rely on incentives to motivate yourself. You'll end up chasing appreciation. Find an internal motivation to be better, so you find satisfaction.
  • Don't be dazzled by glitz. Awards shows focus on the end result, not all the important stuff that went into getting that award. 
  • Appreciate 'the art of losing'. That you will lose the life you once had, your friends that don't want you to succeed, you will lose your nerve and learn from losing. 
  • Learn to sell. This is the business of selling. Don't discount the ability to talk. 

Advice for agencies looking to motivate creatives:

  • The industry puts too much emphasis on winning and not enough on development. It should be about fun and great work, not trophies. 
  • Stop focusing on getting the work out of the way to focus on the shiny stuff between January and April. All work should be potential award-winning work and award-winning work shouldn't be set apart from real work. 

Campaign Asia-Pacific's view: Good advice, but a far less provocative talk than we were hoping for. Also the session didn't provide much advice on how to break in entitled employees (of any age) so they become people who "get shit done" rather than just "talk about shit", in the words of Perlyn Ong, a young creative copywriter at Iris Worldwide who contributed to the talk. 


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