Vera For BBH – How to Get a Job in Advertising

For the most part, CVs are dreary to write and worse to read. They are uninspiring, linear and don’t lend themselves to the kind of storytelling and experience that capture our passions, skills or abilities. So when I hear of an interesting approach or idea to snaring a job, I love to lend support.

In late 2010, Katherine Liew from Adelaide won an internship with Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore – out innovating thousands of others to become the “world’s coolest intern”.

And when Simon Kemp shared a link to the Vera for BBH campaign, I had to learn more.

Vera4BBH2 Now we all know how hard it can be to land a gig in any agency – but BBH is one that is known for quality work. It attracts the best and brightest. So Vera set her plan in motion – a Facebook page, Twitter account, a slew of content, some seeding and some outreach. Her plan, obviously, was to start a revolution – a pink sheep revolution. As she says on her Facebook page:

Dear BBH,
I have seriously considered jumping through various hoops like a circus animal to get your attention – like the rest of the black sheep wannabes.
For three days, I have tried to think of ideas that will impress you and I have lost much sleep trying to fit in with all your black sheep. Somehow, that didn’t sit right with me. I was looking to fit in and be awesome? It sounded like secondary school all over again.
I’m sorry but I can’t do it. I’ve been the sheep in BRIGHT PINK WOOL for as long as I can remember and I’m slightly worried that my kind are unrepresented in this world.
I guess my question then is, Why aren’t pink sheep being considered for this internship?

And three days into the campaign, Vera has a page launched, some quirky, on-message content and attracted the attention of the local social media crowd in Singapore. 


I love that Vera defines herself as different from the oh-so-run-of-the-mill black sheep (after all if one works in advertising one must wear black … note to self: check wardrobe). But the big question – is this enough to get the job?

Here’s hoping so … pledging your first pay cheque to a charity is not a bad way to start a professional career. Passion and purpose. Play to win. Love it.

Take a #fastBREAK and Play This Friday

I can still remember the sketchy, randomness of the very first #fastBREAK event that we held back in 2009. Rather than spending a Friday morning drinking coffee and chatting with friends before work, we went out on a limb. I asked Scott Drummond, Jye Smith, Isadore Biffin, Elias Bizannes and Matt Moore to give us five minutes of insight and passion. And together they inspired a movement.

Three years later, Vibewire’s #fastBREAK series is a cornerstone of Australia’s innovation scene – drawing young, established, mid-career and seasoned speakers into an intergenerational conversation with a curious and inquisitive audience.

Co-produced by the Powerhouse Museum, #fastBREAK is a brilliant opportunity to step out from behind your device, computer or even your TV and soak up inspiration and imagination from people who are pushing against the envelope of social innovation and creative industrial practice. It’s an hour of ideas, passion and personal storytelling from 7:45am on the last Friday of every month. It is designed to get you out of bed, fed, caffeinated and inspired and then off to work.

But don’t take my word for it – book in and see for yourself.It’s the best $10 you’ll spend this week.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

As I surf the web or watch the feeds, links, articles and images scuttle by, often a theme emerges. After all, we are part of a massive, global, connected consciousness. But I often forget that we are all not connected to the same people – or that we have differing levels of focus or interest. But this is precisely why these collection style posts can be useful – to share with those who otherwise missed a tweet, a link or an email.

  1. Dave Phillips has distilled the #kony2012 conversation into an an engaging discussion. Some great reflections and provocations here
  2. I saw some of the back and forth on Twitter with Mack Collier on the topic of social business – and now he has followed up with more context. He says we need to stop marketing “social business” if we want to start selling it. What do you think?
  3. What do CEOs want from their CMOs and the marketing team? It may not be what you think. Try and work a few of these 10 key impacts into your KPIs and see how it changes your role in the business
  4. Which channels, accounts and platforms should you use for your social media efforts? And when? Drew McLellan shares the recent updates for the’s Social Landscape. Download it – it’s worth its weight in gold
  5. Kevin Rothermel shares a great piece on how creativity works. It looks like it might be my new favourite ebook.

Trust + Scale Trumps Bright and Shiny – Australia Post Goes Digital

You can tell when you are in a Post Office by the smell. You open the door and you get the feint mustiness of paper, humidity and light glue mixed with a light dusting of body odour and desperation. It’s the same smell that has been around since I was a boy – and it greets me whenever I have to trudge my way to the local post office to pick up a package.

A cynic would suggest that it is entirely manufactured – that a consultant somewhere had manufactured a brand experience, turned it to liquid and issued it en-masse to every Australia Post location around the country. It is a smell that reeks of authority. It smells like my grandfather.

And visiting the local post office is just like spending a weekend with a half crazy relative. The in-store displays and products are as haphazard as Aunt Mable’s crocheted rugs – lots of bright colours, incongruous items and bargain basement prices right next to first day of issue stamps and rare coins.

But all that is about to change. Well online anyway.

It’s only taken twenty years, but Australia Post looks like it might just be going digital.

I’m pretty excited to see this transformation. The Australia Post Digital Mailbox promises security, accessibility and convenience. Imagine being able to store valuable documents like your passport somewhere easy to reach. Or being able to access account details, pay bills and receive registered email. It sounds almost too good to be true … and I would say that it was if it was an offering from anyone else.

But despite the external appearances – Australia Post clearly understands scale, the importance of trust and security. They understand what it takes to deliver services at volume and speed. And with an ageing population, a brand like Australia Post may well just deliver greater online participation and a deeper sense of trust than newer platforms and brands have been able to manage.

It’s great to see Australia Post take this bull by the horns, finally. My grandfather will be happy!

Hi, I’m Gavin – How Do You Tell Your Personal Story?

What do you say when you introduce yourself to someone? How do you speak and how do you make eye contact. How firmly do you shake hands?

When you meet face-to-face there thousands of data points and impressions being captured by the people you are meeting. Some are visual. Some are tonal. And yes, some are olfactory.

But what do you do online? How do you tell your story? For example, you can find out about me at:

But, for me, the sum always feels greater than the parts.

To be honest, telling your own story is extremely difficult. In my opinion, it’s why we have agencies and consultants … because they can view your achievements, strengths and qualities with an outsider’s perspective. But tools like LinkedIn and blogs can definitely help. And in this age of infographics, sometimes you just need a visual snapshot – which is why I quite like It connects to your LinkedIn profile and turns the underlying data into a visual CV. Here is mine – and while it could do with some additional elements – it does seem to get the point across. What do you think?


Five Social Media Tools I Use Everyday

Just when I think that the world of social media has settled down – that I understand the linkages, measurements, approaches and benefits – something new comes along to upset my apple cart. That means that I am constantly juggling old with new, testing and learning and attempting to map past successes against new tools and techniques.

This is, in part, why we see lots of “5 tips” or “10 must haves” style articles. Constantly.

But I have noticed recently that many of these articles talk about the “100 best” or “99 favourite” tips, tools or techniques. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time for 99 or even 100 anythings. But I do have time for five.

So I thought I’d share with you the five generally free social media tools that I use everyday. And if you have a moment, drop a comment below and tell me about your favourites too!

  1. SocialMention – as a general purpose social media monitoring solution, it’s pretty good. It comes with decent analytics, sentiment analysis and even RSS feeds.
  2. Topsy – want to know more about who, what and trends? This is where Topsy comes in.
  3. Google AdPlanner – what’s currently going on in the world of your contestable keywords? Digging around in the beastly AdPlanner can let you know what you are up against
  4. Posterous – even with its uncertain future (just been purchased by Twitter), Posterous is an awesome aggregating and distribution tool. You can bring content in and you can have Posterous auto-post out to many others. It’s your social media BFF
  5. Tweetreach – no doubt you want to measure your efforts, right? Tweetreach have just launched a new infographic-style reporting engine that tells you just how far, how quickly and how/who pushed your hashtag into the viral stratosphere.

But let's take this a step further … maybe we should use some social media tools to keep track of these and others! So here's a list that you can use:

Open Your Mind to the Open Learning Revolution

Comic bookI’ve been a passionate and curious learner for as long as I can remember. As a very small child, maybe 3 or 4 years of age, I created by own “office” is my grandparents’ house by opening the kitchen door and nestling down in the gap between the door and the gas heater. There I would spend hours reading, drawing and discovering.

When I had the opportunity to teach at university, I leapt at the chance. I loved the whole process of designing courses, engaging interesting and challenging “guest lecturers” and seeing the light in eyes of students when “everything clicks”.

But it wasn’t until I reached the corporate world that I understood the power and importance of learning. After my first 12 months with IBM, I realised that I had learned more in that year than I had in the previous five. It was a pressure cooker that made me bring all my experience, knowledge and capacity to new challenges – and to reassemble this in new ways. It was my own personal learning revolution – and helped me begin thinking about The Social Way.

Fast forward a couple of years and it’s clear that the opportunities, risks and challenges are social. I put together this presentation and speech on social learning back in 2009, presenting it along with my colleague Joe Westhuizen in Singapore, the US and Europe. But exactly how will social learning impact us all?

David Price is an education consultant, project manager, strategic adviser and public speaker. In 1994 he helped establish Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, where he was Director of Learning for 7 years. Since then, he has led national projects in arts and education in the UK and advised companies, NFPs and govt departments internationally. The focus of his work is primarily about finding innovative ways to engage learners through more democratic and more relevant forms of education. He is a Senior Associate at the

And tonight – if you happen to live in Sydney, you can find out more about The Open Learning Revolution in a talk and workshop led by David Price. It’s bound to be fascinating … hope to see you there!