Cicely Alderson and Lisi Davis studied BA (Hons) Creative Advertising. After graduating in 2018 they moved to London, gaining a joint placement and winning at TBB Cream, an annual event aimed at showcasing the best emerging talent in the creative industry. The pair work as a creative team and are now Junior Creatives at Leo Burnett in London. They have worked on campaigns for Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut and BMW amongst others. Here’s what they had to say:

What do you remember most about your time studying BA (Hons) Creative Advertising at Leeds Arts University?

C: Leeds Arts University showed me that there are so many different types of creative careers out there. The course itself is proof that you can make a creative career out of brilliant thinking. The best bit of advice I took away was that it’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.

L: The course helped me handle the industry because the tutors are always honest about your work, even when it’s negative. The advertising industry can be pretty brutal, so it definitely helped me get a thick skin.

Spoon Art from Cicely & Lisi on Vimeo.

What did you do straight after leaving University?

C: I got a job stacking shelves at Sainsbury’s, saving up to move to London in the new year. I would regularly go down to London to meet Lisi and go for crits, we managed to bag a placement at FCB Inferno as a result. During this crazy time we won TTB Cream, which we soon learned was a big deal.

L: I got a job in a pub for about 6 months, whilst working long-distance with Cicely on our portfolio and taking days off to do crits. If you want to get into the top London agencies, don’t be fooled. Most have a waiting list, even for placements. We had to wait 6 months. So pub-job it was.

Could you give us a description of a typical day?

C: Some days me and Lisi lock ourselves in a room and try to make each other laugh with ridiculous ideas. Other days we have no time for ideation and are in back-to-back meetings, learning to present and defend our ideas every step of the creative process.

L: The only thing that stays the same is the first half hour - we get in and waste time chatting and getting coffee. From then on, your guess is as good as mine. It’s a mixture of briefings, creative reviews, ideation, preparing for shoots, and actually going on shoots.

Do you have any tips or advice for current students or recent graduates wanting to work in your field?

C: Don’t settle for an agency that doesn’t excite you, perseverance will get you anywhere you want to be. It’s the ideas that count, so prioritise having an interesting portfolio over a polished portfolio. Go for loads of crits, presenting ideas is a huge part of the job, so is understanding what kind of creativity hits the mark. And finally, enter the TTB Cream awards.

L: Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. It takes some people longer than others, especially in London. I’ve met top creative directors who struggled to get junior jobs even after 4 years of placements. This may happen to you. But once you’re in, you’re in. And once you get a placement, make friends with the freelancers! They’re the ones with senior contacts at most agencies, and this will help you get your next placement.

Finally, are there any future ambitions or projects in the pipeline you can tell us about? It would be great to also have a picture of you two at the agency and a link to some of the work you have done?

C: Right now we’re loving life at Leo Burnett. There’s huge clients and huge opportunities. Personally, I would love to keep going up the creative ladder until I have a stress-induced heart attack.

L: Projects in the pipeline include 360 campaigns for Kellogg’s, McDonald’s and LFC. Personally, I would love to keep going up the creative ladder until Cicely has a stress-induced heart attack.

Header image: still from Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, Sports Box