“I knew going to SCA meant going to the beating heart of the advertising industry, with a fast track to getting a placement and a job”

Andreas & Klaudia graduated in July 2022 and have since spent time at SCA partner agencies, Krow, Mr President and VCCP Blue. We chat to the brief busting duo about their creative journey, life at SCA and getting immersed in the world of cheese, insurance and testing water for poo…

Did you always know you were creative? 

Andreas: I don’t know. One thing I do know is that as a child, I had a weird obsession with Action Man colouring-in books (which matched my hideous khaki Action Man speedos) as well as being a severe doodler. My exercise books were covered in tangles, squiggles and patterns.

Also, at parents’ evening in year 10, my History teacher described me as having my “head in the clouds” which is what I want written on my gravestone. He was right, though. I’ve always been a daydreamer with a vivid imagination. I get lost in thought quickly and effortlessly, for my sins.

Klaudia: I always enjoyed making things, but I guess that’s the case for a lot of kids. I still vividly remember digging for clay in the garden and making bowls for birds (if only I knew they would all melt the next time it rained!) Some shops would have kids corners with colouring books, I would always try to ‘fix’ the drawings previous kids made (as every 8 year old art director should!). We’re all born creative and excited to try new things, most of us just ‘grow out of it’. As it happens, I didn’t, and I’m thankful for it.

Tell us a bit about your path in life so far…

Andreas: I used to tell people that my great-great grandfather invented Halloumi cheese, but sadly that’s not true. Although Greek Cypriot, I’m born and raised in north London. After messing up my A-levels, (I could spell the word DUDE with my results) I eventually studied Marketing at Uni. My 3rd year of University was spent in industry. However, I was unable to find a corporate placement like my classmates. So I decided to dip my toe into adland – an industry I was always fascinated by from a very young age. I emailed every London based agency listed on the IPA. I dread to think what I wrote in that email… Anyway, a few offered me internships. That was my first taste of advertising. Ever since, I tried but failed miserably to return to the industry (more on that later).

Klaudia: I finished art school back in Poland. It was like college here but it took 4 years. There I did all the standard subjects but also the artsy ones like sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and my major: graphic design. I decided that the best way forward for me would be to study abroad. I did a BA in Creative Advertising in Swansea. It was lots of fun but didn’t give me any way into the industry.

Why now? What encouraged you to explore your creative side and what were you doing before you took the plunge to apply to SCA?

Andreas: Urgh, this is so cliche, but that COVID thing (remember Rona?) made me reevaluate my life. My job felt like a bottomless pit of sorrow. After failing to get back into advertising and narrowly missing out on a social media role at Yard Sale Pizza, I saw an advert for SCA appear on my instagram and thought “I want a slice of that”…  The rest is history.

Klaudia: For me, it was a Hail Mary, a chance to get into the industry. I expected to be better off after uni but there was no place for me there (maybe because it was Wales). The closest agency was in Cardiff and the last time I checked they don’t exist anymore. I knew going to SCA means going to the beating heart of advertising, with a fast track to getting a placement and hopefully a job.

What is it that you love about your role as a creative?

Andreas: I can’t believe someone now pays me to daydream! Everyday is an opportunity to create. And for that reason, I honestly think we have the best job in the world. I also love how you become an expert on a totally random topic related to the brief you’re working on. We recently immersed ourselves in the world of pensions. On the surface, a horribly boring subject area, but who knew making pension ads could be so fun!  

Klaudia: What I love the most is the fact that we get to work on so many various things. For a moment, we become experts on insurance and beavers and how you test water for poo. It’s fascinating.

How did SCA help you achieve your goals? 

Andreas: It’s simple. Without SCA, there is no way I’d be working as a creative in advertising. I’m forever grateful to SCA and all the wonderful mentors. I hope that didn’t come across as some sort of X Factor sob story. Actually, who cares, I’m living the dream.

Klaudia: If it wasn’t for SCA I’d probably try really hard and not find a job. Maybe give up on advertising and do another degree, like a BA in Graphic Design. SCA is THE place to make you ready and get you on your way to actually doing advertising, not just studying it. 

Are there any standout projects or moments that you loved at SCA?

Andreas: The people stood out for me. Our cohort was a tight knit brilliant bunch. We frequently hang out.

Another highlight was Portfolio Day where we had the opportunity to showcase our books (and schmooze) to creatives from some of London’s top agencies. 10 months of hard graft was for that day, it was our swansong school moment. And it was perfect.

Finally, our end of year party was fun and quickly got out of hand. I ended up strolling in at 7:30AM the next day while my dad was eating his breakfast. Having sacrificed the wilder aspects of my social life while at SCA, I’d missed seeing that look of disappointment on his face.

Klaudia: Every project had its difficulties but also a fair bit of fun. For me making case study videos was one of those things. When you have your strategy down and assets made and the only thing left is making it entertaining to watch, surprising the viewer. For one of the briefs I animated a Barbie doll rolling out in her pink Porsche, another time a man being hit by a car. 

Where have you spent time on placement since graduating? What brands have you worked on and is it what you expected it to be?

Andreas: Our Placement journey has exceeded expectations. We’ve had so much fun! Since finishing SCA, we’ve been on placement at two small indie agencies called Krow and Mr President. Both agencies were filled with lovely, ludicrously talented and intriguing people. They immediately made us feel like part of the team and gave us plenty of opportunities to work on a range of briefs – from meaty 360 campaigns, April Fools Day content, naming start-ups and a surfboard made out of sewage… Some of the brands we’ve worked on include: Thatchers, Unison, Toolstation, Aviva, Ferrero and BetVictor. Currently, we’re 3 days into our placement at VCCP Blue which has been great so far!

Klaudia: Our first placement was at Krow London where we got to work on lots of under and over the line briefs including Toolstation, RNLI and Unison. It was definitely a pleasant surprise, everyone was super kind and supportive. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and still meet up in a pub on Thursdays. 

Our second placement ended last week. It’s been amazing to spend 2 months at Mr.President. We thought we lucked out on our first one but we’re on a lucky streak. The culture at Mr.P is absolutely top notch. Everyone is brilliant but also super approachable and helpful. We got to work on all sorts of stuff including BetVictor, AVIVA and Vans. 

How do you think creative agencies and organisations can inspire creativity? Could they be doing more?

Andreas: Perhaps agencies could inspire and empower youth by investing in outreach programmes at schools and universities. Also, maybe larger agencies could run their own courses for school leavers who don’t want to study at University but instead would like a career as a creative. A more accessible, inclusive and diverse industry is a sharpened industry. This ultimately results in a richer quality of work. 

Klaudia: I’ve experienced how hard it is to get in. Agencies could open their doors to people from other schools, backgrounds, maybe even professions. Give everyone an opportunity to see if they could do and enjoy this sort of thing. Creativity is something hard to grasp. It’s something we can learn to hone but the way we think is just who we are.

What excites you about the industry?

Andreas: Agencies are such fun environments to be a part of. They’re a whirlpool of creativity, energy and eccentricity.  In fact, they’re so fun that work has now become a form of escapism from a turbulent personal life over the last 6 months. 

Fun aside, everyday you have an opportunity to create work that not only reflects the textures and contours of society but is seen daily. I heard a great quote on Behind The Billboard recently (a brilliant podcast, give it a listen if you don’t already). It went something like this: as creatives we get to put our work in the world. Artists on the other hand, put their work up in a gallery and wait for the public to decide to visit.

Klaudia: On top of the variety of things we get to do, there’s the power of advertising. As an industry, we can make people laugh or cry, and make them think about something, sometimes even something worthy. Advertising has the capacity for changing the world, and even if it is mostly selling cheese there’s more to it.

What would your advice be to someone thinking about getting into the world of creative advertising?

Andreas: 3 words: fucking do it. 

Useless advice aside, absorb culture – read, listen and visit things and places you’ve not explored or experienced before. It’s vital to feed your mind.

Combined with that, always keep a record of stuff that catches your attention – from a beautifully written song lyric, to a chic magazine cover to an unconventional coffee shop menu. You’ll never know when these sources of inspiration might come in handy for a brief you’re working on.

Klaudia: If you haven’t yet, learn your history. Surprisingly, I didn’t get many lectures on advertising while doing my BA. You got to use uncle Google and get your hands on D&AD manuals. Keep reading about the new stuff too from places like Campaign. And most importantly, try not to stress it. Keep feeding your imagination with new places, visuals, aesthetics, points of view, things that don’t seem like you at all. It’ll come in handy.

Lastly, what tips and advice would you give to anyone trying to navigate their year at SCA? Or considering it?!

Andreas: Here are my two cents:

For current students; work hard, laugh often and follow the mentors advice.

For potential students, it’s simple, apply ASAP! It will end up being one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Trust me.

Klaudia: I know there were amazing individuals that went through SCA with jobs and newborns…but it’s super hard. I was convinced I could keep my job and do SCA. No way. And it’s quite a common thing. If you can of course make sure you’re ready to take 10 months off from your normal life. It’ll be much easier than navigating through it and having to compromise on both. If it means gathering up resources to be able to focus on just it, it’d be worth it. I’d certainly do that now. 

Andreas & Klaudia graduated from SCA in July 2022 and are currently on placement at SCA partner agency VCCP.

Check out their portfolio here:

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