adi hussain

'A Guinea Pig in the Wild' - a view from Creature's ad school hopeful

Creature offered a three-month placement to Adi Hussain, a budding creative whose story about the financial difficulties of joining the industry went viral

By creative salon

Adi Hussain, who describes himself as "British Pakistani, born out of the benefits class", is a carer to his disabled mother. In May he wrote a piece outlining his frustration at being “diverse talent” knocking at the door of adland but not being able to get in due to financial barriers.

Last month Creature offered him a three-month paid placement and, working with Adi, the agency now plans to hone a programme called “In the Wild”, which will include training and mentorship for creatives hoping to break into adland who have not had the chance to develop a portfolio.

Creative Salon asked Adi to share his experience of getting a job in an industry he always wanted to. This is his story:

A Guinea Pig in the Wild

After having bloodied my knuckles knocking on adland’s door, Creature were the ones to let me in.

Now, I’ve been offered the chance to write about my time at Creature.

The first day we spoke on a podcast, and every day that followed, I had to be reassured that getting paid to daydream was part of being a creative.

From the beginning, I was encouraged to keep a diary and after flicking through the pages, I realised that most of them were filled with notes on how strange this has been, along with the occasional sketch of a burning car.

Strange because at times, advertising can seem a little absurd. A bearded individual agreed with me but emphasised the importance of embracing its absurdity. Three weeks in and I’m giving it one big bear hug, because this is where I belong - smack bang in the middle of it all.

But let me go back a couple of weeks in an attempt to hit the word count.

When I came to this agency, I was introduced to every corner, I passed by the garishly decorated walls, and I met all the smiling characters that make Creature, CrEaTuRe!

And then there was me.

An alien.

Surrounded by individuals whose lingo I didn’t understand.

SCAMP. MOODBOARD. DECK. IDENT. ACTIVATION.

In a position where staring at the ceiling and letting thoughts slosh around is commonplace.

In previous roles, I’ve sold women’s shoes, shovelled cow shit into buckets – I’ve even fed eels a calf’s balls once. But nothing is quite like an advertising agency.

My first couple of days at Creature were slow with no comprehension for what every oddly titled calendar invite was.

Then the briefs came in and the following weeks were – more so than anything else – one cerebral blur.

With ideas running rampant to polished decks presented to clients, it can all seem a bit mad that the idea you had in the shower was well-received.

But this is advertising.

Everyone’s getting away with it.

Now it’s my turn.

Beyond live briefs there’s the curriculum - this is one day in the week where I spend my time learning about every cog in the machine.

At first, these sessions were cut short, and I was left with decks to flick through. This inflamed a concern I’d had about agencies not being able to teach on-the-job.

Since then, things have been moved around, and I’ve been given more than enough time to pick everyone’s brains - and pick those brains I have!

If I could say anything else about my three weeks in the wild, I’d say that Creature has been kind and it’s been fun. That is all a guinea pig like me could ask for.

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