Recently, Fazlee Sabbaruddin, the Creative Director of TBWA KL was invited by The One Academy to conduct a sharing for the students. His sharing titled ‘Four Letter Words that You Must Know’ aimed to give students an insider perspective on life in the advertising industry. Having started off as a junior copywriter and worked his way up to the top, Fazlee sure had a lot of information to share with the students on their journey to success.
The first word he presented on was ‘Sory’. Fazlee apologized for making everyone get out beds early on a Saturday morning but nevertheless was pleased to see them. He then went on to explain that the life in the advertising industry is nothing short of exciting but in order to succeed in it, there are certain words that the students must live by. ‘Fear’ was his second four-lettered word to the audience. He asked the crowd if anyone feared failure and sure enough a number of students responded yes. He went on to assure the students that failure is very common and embracing it will lead one farther than fearing it.
“Redo, a word that you have to like and live by”, he continued. “Chances of your first idea not going through are very high and you have to redo, redo and redo”. He told the students that in college, the pressure of redoing something isn’t high but out in the field, the level of scrutiny is much more. He advised them to fight for their ideas but to redo constantly as the outcome will be much better
His next word was ‘Love’. Fazlee recounted how it was not his plan to pursue a career in advertising at all but he had instead started off doing law but took the creative route after much convincing from a friend. Six months into the industry and he was feeling the brunt of it all. He recounted telling his superior that he felt it was not the right industry for him, but was advised to persist. Today, it has paid off and he feels it is one of the best industries to work in.
He also relayed that ads nowadays are lacking in soul. “I see a lot of social media ads that are fast, quick and in your face but there is no heart in it”, he said. This could be because of the short attention span of people which makes it important to get the message across, however whenever possible, show a little soul in your work. Another advice given to the students was ‘Life’. He explained that these days many people do ads because someone else has not done that type of ad, however this is not right. “Do ads that have a story to tell and look around you for inspiration”, he said. He added that inspiration can come from anywhere, the key is to look.
He also spoke about the importance of being ‘Lokl’, a play on the word local. Embrace the local culture and introduce it into advertisements again. The last word he shared with the group was ‘Nice’. Fazlee shared one of his favourite quotes which goes “when it comes to creative stuff, there are two requirements. You have to be talented and you have to be nice”. His parting advice to them was no matter where they go and what heights they reach, always be nice to people and people will be nice to you. The students gained a lot of information on the ups and downs of the advertising industry as well as the opportunity to view some fine examples of advertising done right.