I’m on my way to Edinburgh By @_sarahalliday

By Sara Halliday



I’m on my way to Edinburgh. One of Liam’s Christmas presents to me was that he had taken a week of holidays during my half term from SCA. We’ve never been to Edinburgh together, so we figured we’d take in the sweet sweet Scottish sights.

The train goes via York and Durham, two places incredibly dear to me. Living in London is great, there’s nowhere else I could progress my career as quickly, but a part of me yearns for the smell of manure spread in fields and people calling me ‘pet’. I come from a small town in North Wales, a town made ‘famous’ by Pontins and On The Buses. In its heyday people would flock there for respite from their cities, now they flock to cities for respite from monotony and unemployment.

It’s nice to get away, even if it is going to one city from another. These SCABS don’t need to relate to advertising (in reality they rarely do) but it’s so useful to study people from other parts of the country, from other parts of society. Even just sat on the train, I heard an old couple talking about fishing boats, kids asking about a nuclear power station and a mum telling them about Chernobyl, and a young man seemingly on a business trip who moved seats multiple times to get the best view out of the window.

In a masterclass from Olly recently, we learned the dangers of ABC1 demographics. Not only do they reduce an audience to a pay bracket and a letter, it encourages creatives to be lazy with their strategic thinking. People are fascinating, and the thing that’s so fascinating to me about advertising is the human aspect. I remember being about 13 and being obsessed with the psychology behind advertising, particularly the persuasive writing aspect. I dabbled with the thought of being an estate agent, purely for the fun of cajoling a buyer into a sale.

If we’re not thinking about the audience at every stage then we’re effectively shouting into a void. A void that cares very little about anything we’re saying. Marc noticed the other day that I’m quite self critical, so I will say that I’m definitely getting better at talking to my audience. I’ve noticed that the more I research and get to know them, the better I can recognise exactly what it is that will make them believe my message.

I hope that one day I’ll write something that will make someone feel as though I’m talking directly to them and only them. I want them to feel that they had my full attention while writing, and therefore give me their full attention back. I don’t want to shout into the void, I want to whisper directly into your ear. Yes, you. I won’t always say what you want to hear, but you will hear me.

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