Ask Esther // 10

As a junior copywriter, working at a little agency in Brisbane and having just graduated from uni, I don’t often get to do things that are ‘big award’ worthy. I think I’ve got few nice bits and pieces of produced work in my folio, but I’m wondering what the greater ad communities thinks of juniors putting scam ads in their folio.

I have friends who have started their own little businesses (lawn mowing, a pub etc) and I’ve come up with fun little ideas for various ads and I’m trying to figure out if it’s wrong for me to go up to Mr. X and say, “hey, i have a great idea for your pub, it’s these 3 print ads I’ve done up, can you just buy some space in a shitty magazine so I can put them in? You can pay me in beer.”

I’m not talking about basing my entire folio around this or doing it once I’ve settled at a bigger agency (I’m aware that on a larger level it’s morally wrong), but just a fun little outdoor thing or a nice print ad here and there that will maybe get my ‘potential creativity’ out a bit better then a bunch of government radio and retail print stuff.

Scam ads can be very helpful to a young career. If you are able to get a small client to run a clever little campaign you cooked up, by all means put that work straight into your folio and enter it into as many award shows as you like. Scams or proactive ads have helped kick-start many careers and helped to colour an otherwise worthy, but conservative book. I rather like the initiative and the energy it demonstrates, but I don’t want to see a whole book of them.

Also where it gets trickier is when an entire career is built on “scammy” work.

You can easily forget (or never even learn) how to solve a marketing problem. It is always much easier to invent an idea and go find a client that it might fit.

So by all means go for it, but use it as a means to an end and distance yourself from the practice as your career develops.

Leave it for the next generation of juniors. Career options are very thin on the ground for a senior scammer.

But right now, go for it. You can try writing some banner ads for me for starters.


You can ask Esther Clerehan anything about putting your book together, getting a job, what salary to ask for or what to do when someone steals your ideas. Go on, Ask Esther. There is no other creative recruiter with more experience to educate us on the art of the job hunt. You can email her here at junior at (wtf null@null lifeatthebottom

Written by Junior
Originally posted on: 21/06/2012
Category: Ask Esther
Tagged: .