Durban – As creative hopefuls started to walk down the red carpet in anticipation of winning a Loeries Award, the judges shared some sage advice for those who fail to win.
“How many NOs does it take to win a Loerie?” is the central theme around this year’s awards ceremony taking place at Durban’s ICC on Saturday and Sunday evening.
And leading creative directors who judged the awards said failure was a part of the journey and meant creatives were trying to push the boundaries.
Loeries judge Mariana O’Kelly is one of the most awarded and respected creative directors in the country and is the executive creative director at Ogilvy SA.
In 2014, her team made history by winning Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide’s first Cannes Lions Radio Grand Parix for work on Lucozade.
She told Fin24 that failure was a part of the journey and should not impact a creative’s identity.
“If you learn that a no is ok early on in your career you will get to a yes a lot easier,” she said. “As a young creative, you feel like you want to conquer the world.
“You are so ambitious and eager and hungry to win awards that you forget the journey that you have to travel in order to get there.
“It’s not a reflection on your identity at all. Someone is helping you make peace with the fact that it is going to be hard. And it should be hard. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and there wouldn’t be anyone audience; everyone would be on stage.
“As executive creative directors, we’ve got to accept a no, because sometimes you have a brilliant idea to present to a client and they give you a no. You can’t throw your toys and storm out of the room. You’ve got to be able to take that no and work with it.
“A no is not only relevant when it comes to awards, it’s relevant in the board rooms and with our clients and our audiences as well.
“Sometimes you launch something and you think it’s amazingly successful and then it hits radios and TVs … and the audience doesn’t like it and they’re giving you a no.
“Always in your life, you’re going to have a no. If you accept that, then you’re going to get closer to a yes,” she said.
AUDIO: Interview with Mariana O’Kelly
The more you fail, the better you will become (T&Cs apply)
Loeries judge Suhana Gordhan, who is a creative director FCB JHB, said creatives face nos at every turn.
“You don’t come naturally into this industry feeling ok to fail,” she said. “I think it’s a very tough industry from the time you walk in, you feel you have to succeed and you feel you have to do really well.
“With all the big successful agencies talking about failing hard – a lot of them make it their theme and their mantra – it makes it OK.
“(It’s ok to fail), as long as you’re failing with a purpose and understanding what you’re trying to achieve.
“In order to go where no one else has gone, in order to do the big scary stuff, you sometimes have to fail.
“Specifically working on a brand like Nando’s, where people almost expect you to win awards, I know we entered them every year, we won small awards.
“It took me five years on the brand to see that award translate," she said, referring to the Loeries Grand Prix she won for the Last Dictator standing Nando's advert. "Often we a client says no, you feel devastated and almost need a day to get over it.
“But it pushes you hard and often the work is a lot better than the first time they said no. So, many nos lead to a resounding, brilliant yes.”
AUDIO: Interview with Suhana Gordhan