How to Stay Cool and Improve in the Face of Constructive Criticism: Career Tips from Students of the FAME Portfolio School by Grey and FindSpark

Andrea was a student at FAME–the Famous Academy of Modern Effectiveness–a free, selective portfolio school by Grey Group & FindSpark, where she had a focus on Art Direction. Students of FAME are ambitious creatives with no advertising experience who were selected to learn from and be mentored by top creatives from Grey.

Read more about the story behind the partnership between FindSpark and Grey for FAME in AdAge.

In this article, Andrea shares her experience during one class, where she learned one of the core lessons about being a creative pro.


For the third week of FAME, I wanted to make a splash. The week before, for our first assignment, my computer crashed. Talk about a meltdown. All my work for Week 2 was lost. Thankfully our moderator, Kristen was understanding and set me up with a new the laptop by the end of the class. After this mishap, I had to come in with an out-of-this-world presentation for Week 3.

Leading up to Week 3, I kept meditating on the brief provided. The brief was: create a new occasion for Breathe-Right Nasal Strips and give people a reason to use them as something other than a nighttime sleep aid.

What stood out to me the most was the “creating a new occasion” for the use of the nasal strips, that’s the part of the brief I honed in on. Create a new occasion, a new scenario, a new environment for which someone would also use Breathe-Right Nasal Strips. I decided to start my research at the source, so I headed to Breathe-Right’s official website and went through the content on their website to get a feel for how the brand wants to position themselves.

As I search the site, I come to a couple of conclusions:

  1. Breathe-Right has positioned themselves as a sleep-aid, but what the nasal strip actually does is open your nasal passage so that the person using the nasal strip does not snore.
  2. Breathe-Right’s site is dedicated to overall improving health and wellness of the Breathe-Right user. 

Then it hits me like a ton of bricks: meditation! Another occasion in which Breathe-Right Nasal Strips can be used is meditation! Brilliant, right?

I was really excited about presenting this idea for the Week 3 brief. The idea of using nasal strips to improve meditation seemed perfect! Meditation seemed to align perfectly with how Breathe-Right already was positioning themselves. The idea was right on brand and that’s what I was going for.

Wednesday comes, its Week 3 of FAME and I’m super ready and excited to present my idea to the class.

I had created two posters. I will admit, my digital design skills are basically non-existent. The last time I took a graphics class was Freshman year of high school, and I did not keep up with it. So, my super incredible idea was not executed to greatness, at least not how I imagined it to be.

When it was my turn to present, I open my mouth and I freak out and give 1/5 of the presentation that I am supposed to give. I’m embarrassed, to say the least.

The feedback from the instructors was plain and simple- this isn’t enough. Quickest feedback of my life.

But I understood where they were coming from. For this brief, my other classmates came up with some out-of-the-box ideas. Ricardo’s campaign was one of the most unforgettable- repositioning nasal strips for sex. Vienhang had a campaign where nasal strips would be used for food/wine/beer tastings. Super cool, right?

So my meditation idea wasn’t super innovative, but I wasn’t the only one who was on that wavelength.

A couple of other classmates incorporated yoga practice and mindfulness into their campaigns.

Although Nelson completely went to another level and attempted to make nasal strips a fashion statement, which might be what Breathe-Right wants.

The much-needed lessons I took with me from Week 3 of FAME:

Be patient with my beginner’s stage of entering the field of advertising. This is a new world to me, being on the inside of it, at least. I come from academia, from the field of higher education, but culture and media have always been my calling.

Being a student at the Famous Academy of Modern Effectiveness and a creative professional is not for the faint of heart, but for the first time, I took this critical feedback and had the desire to come back with some better, instead of giving up.

Know any aspiring creative pros? Help them out by sharing this article!

Have tips for handling constructive criticism as a creative? Share them in the comments!

 

 

Loved the article? Connect with Andrea on LinkedIn!

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