The Dentsu Creative Academy is a platform offering learning modules and creative inspiration for all Dentsu Aegis Network employees. Interviews are featured to promote new modules as they are launched on the platform, to get know our people, and to connect our colleagues around the world.
This month’s interview features Lara Herzer, Group Creative Director from the United States. Lara has curated the Copywriting learning module and responded to the below interview on the topic.
First up, why copywriting and advertising? What drew you to them and what keeps you in the business?
This is a dream job for a naturally curious person. We get to explore a kaleidoscope of industries and people. A deep dive on modern cat litter technology? Yes, please! Being able to be a student every day of my life is what keeps me in this job.
When starting a new project, where do you find inspiration?
Everything I can get my hands on about the company, and then the usual suspects: music videos, podcasts, TV/movies, museums, articles, Reddit and lots and lots of library books. The physical kind that smell like Grandpa’s sweaters. You never know when an idea will hit, so creatives need to always be absorbing.
As a Group Creative Director, what’s the best approach for working with junior creatives?
Empathy for how hard this job is starting out. And then throwing them into the fire anyway.
How has technology changed writing and advertising over the years? What new challenges do you face with clients and users?
The basics of great writing haven’t changed. Less is more. Show don’t tell. Write from the gut. The industry has moved to shorter ad units and relying more on visuals. Users are more in control now, which as creatives we love because that means we can’t just be a megaphone for what the company wants to say. We have to provide real value, be it entertainment or education or something totally new.
How do you keep your inspiration and ideas fresh?
I think being a continual student of culture and industry trends is important. We have to always be evolving or you will be left behind. Like I just learned that Hinge is the new Tinder? Tinder is now for “old people.” You heard it here first.
What advice do you have for young creatives who want to break into the industry? What do you look for when hiring?
Build a network and work the hell out of it. And use your status as a student to get an audience with professionals to critique your portfolio. Once you graduate and are looking for a job, people don’t tend to be as generous with their time. When hiring I look for someone who understands a stellar tight concept and can write lines that make me jealous. Everything else we’ll build, but the basics need to be strong.
Dream client or brand and why?
Patagonia. I live in Chicago, but my heart is in the mountains. They take bold risks. And they are a B Corp.
Any additional POV, pearls of wisdom, quotes or thoughts you’d like to add?
I am a big believer in enthusiasm and recently saw this quote from Henry Ford: “Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” I like that. May today bring you enthusiasm for life, for your work and for those you love.