There was a lot of talk about reciprocity at school last week. The definition of reciprocity is, “the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit” and Marc is big on it. In fact I think he started the week off by telling us we are the cohort that practices reciprocity the least; saying we don’t soundboard ideas among each other and with him and the mentors frequently enough. I felt especially concerned. I know how important it is to do it and, for example, I wish I had done it before this last book inspection. I do want to get better at asking for opinions on the things I’m making but I know I’ve got a long way to go. 

Even the mentors’ masterclasses felt targeted at reciprocity. They led us by example showing us how it’s done. First, Pete’s masterclass was all about the campaign journey for one of his clients The Compassionate Friends at the Raised Eyebrow Society

He took us through the whole process from campaign ideation to inception, focusing especially on the copywriting and the art direction. Pete was first set on doing the lines himself, he iterated and iterated but at a certain point he decided to practice some reciprocity and go to Richard Russell, who’s another writing expert SCA mentor. If Pete can swallow his pride and ask for some help then I think we all can. 

Of course Richard delivered and even over delivered, with a line that was just so perfect. It was one of those that you just know is right (not going to spoil it, go check out the posters). Pete said he knew immediately Richard’s lines were right for the campaign, he got that feeling when you see work and wish you were the one who had done it. I love and hate (but mostly love) that feeling, it’s like visceral motivation.

So when do you know when the time is right to stop being precious and just give someone else a chance to do what you can’t? It’s a difficult one to stomach for me sometimes. At the end of last week even Gary told me that he’s always been a solo creator but that the story Pete shared made him curious about the idea of starting to work with people. I get what he means, it feels like your thoughts can go to unlikely places when you say them out to someone and they can just pick them up and make something completely different with them. Cool. 

Later on in the week, Thiago gave us a masterclass about brand platforms and spoke about his work with Doritos (Doritos ‘Mariachi Doritos’ by AMV BBDO). It’s clearly a campaign that left a mark in culture and he worked on it with Richard’s wife. Reciprocity! Again! Honestly, it would all sound a little sus and cultish if it wasn’t just another week at SCA. It’s easy to think that a couple of years down the line many of us will still be working with each other, doing each other favours, being friends etc. It’s a nice thing to think about and none of it would be possible without reciprocity.


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