Hey everyone! Today we’ll go to Canada to meet the guy who has got a job of the dream after studying at ad school. He loves kittens, Lego and of course advertising. Enjoy the interview with junior copywriter at Barrett and Welsh Inc, Zaheen Hussain
How did you get a job at Barrett and Welsh?
I’d gotten in touch with Gavin Barrett, CD and co-founder of the agency, a couple of years ago. He agreed to meet with me so I hastily put together my first copywriting portfolio. When he met me, he felt I had potential but the portfolio was still lacking. So I went back to ad school. I took a copywriting course at a college in Toronto to learn how to use the ‘tools of the trade’. And in 8 months, I had a brand new (and much improved) portfolio. He was very impressed with the change in my book and took me on as an intern. I became full-time shortly.
Tell us about some unusual task you did at agency.
Does arguing for wasp-rights and humane treatment of them after an infestation of the office count?
In your opinion what is the difference between the Barrett and Welsh and other creative agencies in your country?
Barrett and Welsh, while also being a mainstream agency, also specializes in advertising to Canada’s very diverse and multi-cultural population. Most of the cities, and Toronto in particular, have a significant immigrant population hailing from South Asia, China and the Philippines. We feel ‘mainstream advertising’ often doesn’t speak to newcomers or even apply to them as strongly as it could. We use cultural nuances and insights to create an emotional bond between Canadian brands and those new to the country, as well as those from the ethnic minorities who have been here a while.
What do you have in your bag right now?
I’ve only been in the industry for a year, so not a lot. However I did get the opportunity to work on something exciting recently. Our agency was tasked with naming and creating a brand for a new grocery chain aimed at Toronto’s South Asian population. One of the names I’d come up with for the store got chosen! So that was my first big moment in advertising so far.
No awards yet, but hopefully that’s next on the agenda.
Which of your own rules do you follow every working day?
I log onto adsoftheworld.com to see what the greats are coming up with. Then I give the tiny Han Solo Lego figure sitting on my desk a firm handshake.
If you can restart your career what would you do?
I’d become a zookeeper!
How did you report latest ideas to the creative director?
I’m lucky in that my CD understands what I’m trying to convey regardless of whether it is by email or in person. That being said, explaining ideas always works best face-to-face.
Describe your own dream agency.
Barrels of kittens and thai food everywhere! And a lot of Lego bricks.
Which celebrity would you choose as your CD if it could be?
Robin Williams. And thanks to the show ‘The Crazy Ones’, we know precisely the kind of CD he would have been.
What can you advise all young creatives of the world?
If you’re looking to get into advertising on the creative side, think about doing copywriting/ad directing courses in a college. It makes a huge difference.
Also, always make time for your hobbies. On one hand, they’ll help you remember that your identity extends beyond being an ad-man/woman. But they’ll also help you get over any writer’s/painter’s/sculptor’s (you get the picture) block.