In 2020, AWARD School launched ‘Hardcore Thinkers Only’ – a bold campaign aimed at individuals interested in unleashing their inner creativity and breaking into an industry of ideas. AWARD School graduates Marina Vasilieva (Host/Havas) and Rubini Gunaratnam (M&C Saatchi Sydney) are the creatives behind the campaign, and they chat to us about their path to success.
TCC: Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind the AWARD School 2020 campaign?
Marina: While what we do is great fun, the amount of creative resilience required to do what we do well is insane. Being a casual creative on the side may be nice, the industry needs those who are committed to giving creativity their all: people who will write hundreds of headlines to find the perfect one, stay up into the early hours to get their work pixel perfect, and aim to make something that’s never been made before. Those people are not just your run-of-the-mill creative dabblers, they’re the ones who have an insane level of commitment to creative excellence and shaking up the industry status quo. They’re exactly the kind of people that we hope the Hardcore Thinkers Only platform will recruit for this year’s cohort.
Rubini: Every day, we give birth to ideas, then watch them die – sometimes in the same day. We interrogate our brains, all while battling imposter syndrome. It’s a tough gig, but we love it, because we’re wired that way and Hardcore Thinkers Only speaks to that. We had to actively recruit people with resilience, grit and pour-your-heart-out thinking, because that’s what our industry demands.
TCC: What were you doing when you applied for AWARD School?
Marina: Wrapping up my Advertising degree at Curtin University.
Rubini: Working a 9-5 where ‘creativity’ was combining a SUM and Average formula in spreadsheets.
TCC: What prompted you to apply?
Marina: My university tutor at the time who drummed it into my head that no CD will look at my book if I didn’t go to AWARD School. He was right, so I applied.
Rubini: Daily conversations that started with me saying, “Hi I’m Rubini, I want to be a copywriter” and ended with every ECD in town saying “Cool, come back when you’ve done AWARD School”.
TCC: What were the highlights of AWARD School for you?
Marina: The first highlight was the people, who even after many years and moving interstate I still stay in touch with. I went to AWARD School in Perth where I was one of just nine students that year, so we had a really good group of us that caught up each week and hung out outside of class.
The second was the opportunity that came with it. I got my first gig in advertising half way through AWARD School when one of my tutors asked me to come work for them, which was the very first step to getting my foot in the door. If I didn’t go to AWARD School, I would have never met them and perhaps would have had a much harder time finding a job in the industry.
Rubini: It’s easy to get so far down your own rabbit hole, come time to present, it was refreshing and really cool to see how other people think.
That, and forging new friendships from shared stress and anxiety. It’s cool, we laugh about it now.
TCC: Did you land your dream job right away? Tell us about your role now.
Marina: Back when I was in Perth, a gig at Meerkats was definitely on top of my bucket list, and to have gotten my first job there before graduating was an amazing feeling. Now I’m working as a creative at Host / Havas which is awesome. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some ultra talented people and have grown immensely in my time there.
Rubini: Yep. I’m now a copywriter at M&C Saatchi, Sydney and I am loving it. Cam Blackley’s great. (He didn’t tell me to say that. I swear).
Applications for 2020 AWARD School open on February 6 via AWARDonline.com.
An AWARD School Info Night will be held in capital cities on February 5. An online version will be made available for regional-based applicants and for anyone who is unable to attend in-person.
Register your interest