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BA (Hons) Advertising students recognised by D&AD

Photograph of 2 people smiling.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date 15 November 2022
Photograph of 2 people smiling.
Image credit: Adriana Hiromoto and Alejandra Lara.

For over 60 years, D&AD has supported both emerging and established creatives to develop their skills, shape their careers and showcase their work to audiences in the UK and beyond.

Founded in 1962 to promote excellence in design and advertising, the organisation continues to inform, educate and inspire those who work in and around the creative industries, and has since grown to encompass activities ranging from events to masterclasses.

D&AD is perhaps best known for its annual Awards, which are considered as a most prestigious global benchmark for commercial creativity. With an emphasis on rigour and integrity, winners are recognised with a series of ‘Pencils’ – Wood, Graphite, Yellow, Black and White – which correspond to a range of categories in line with a selected project’s originality and lasting impact.

Along with celebrating the work of leading practitioners, D&AD has been highlighting the achievements of those at the beginning of their journeys since 1979. Originally titled the Student Awards, D&AD New Blood invites early-career creatives to respond to briefs developed with leading industry partners in order to showcase innovative designs and cutting-edge concepts.

Earlier this year, BA (Hons) Advertising students Alejandra (Alex) Lara and Adriana Hiromoto were recognised by D&AD in recognition of their outstanding work and creative vision.

Their New Blood 2022 entry was developed in response to a brief set by the mobile phone network giffgaff, which asked entrants to scope out ideas that were capable of demonstrating positive impact through the use of Out of Home (OOH) media. Alex and Adriana’s concept, i’m home with giffgaff, suggested integrating ‘wifi safe spots’ into common areas around London, which could be activated in order to provide essential connectivity for women to coordinate safe journeys home at night – even after running out of mobile data.

Alex and Adriana were also collectively named as one of the ‘Ones to Watch Portfolio Picks’ at the 2022 New Blood Festival, where over 50 judges from leading organisations such as Ogilvy, Jones Knowles Ritchie and Untold Studio selected their ‘creatives to watch out for’.

Chosen from over 800 entries, Alex and Adriana were recognised for their creative collaboration, Ad&Alex, which is underpinned by a belief in the capacity of advertising as ‘a changemaker – a powerful voice capable of driving cultural and social progress through meaningful campaigns’.

As a result of their success, the 2 recent LCC graduates have been invited to gain vital industry insights at a range of different agencies, and have been able to discuss the development of the creative landscape with a number of senior creatives and executive directors – accessing the knowledge and networks needed to take the next steps in their careers.

We caught up with Alex and Adriana to discuss their collective approach to creative practice, the impact of their D&AD success, and their advice for prospective students interested in carving futures in the advertising industry.

Graphic concept image of a potential advert.
Image credit: Adriana Hiromoto and Alejandra Lara.

Have you always been interested in advertising, or is this an area you’ve moved towards over time?

Alex: I grew up half a dreamer, half a poet - but soon realised that I had an ambition for growth and innovation. I needed a career that would involve thinking, speaking out and making an impact. Advertising seemed to give purpose and meaning to creativity, fueling ventures and solving problems.

Adriana: I’ve always been driven by curiosity - the thirst of exploring and learning new things. Creation is a never-ending process that can’t be switched off in my mind. Creativity has the power to change people’s lives, and my goal has become learning how to achieve that.

I’ve always found my own unique way of thinking. There are times when going the opposite way fails, but taking the risk is worth it to find the best ideas. Creative advertising was the direction I’d always been looking for in order to work with something I’m truly passionate about.

Why did you decide to study BA (Hons) Advertising at LCC?

Alex: I need adventures just as other people need order. After studying in Spain and Canada, I felt like I needed to challenge myself a bit more. London was always my dream city, and eventually, it became my plan. London College of Communication just seemed to sit at the heart of the creative industries, and I knew that I had to be there.

Adriana: I’ve always liked business and art, but both seemed to be 2 contrasting extremes. Graphic design and advertising were closer together, and studying advertising in an arts uni was the perfect combination for a creative like me.

London is also a creative city – and while moving 10,164 km away from home (Lima, Peru) wasn’t easy, I was ready to start a new adventure and follow what I love.

Tell us about your collective creative practice.

We like to approach briefs as if we were on a mission to create a positive impact. We think of advertising as a changemaker: a powerful voice capable of driving cultural and social progress through meaningful campaigns. It’s much more than just selling.

When you truly believe in your mission, working in this industry becomes a passion.

Advert concept which reads 'I'm home'.
Image credit: Adriana Hiromoto and Alejandra Lara.

How did you first find out about the opportunities offered by D&AD, and why did you decide to get involved?

Alex: I personally discovered D&AD while I was applying to BA (Hons) Advertising. I saw a featured article of past students who had won and said to myself: “I have 3 years to get a pencil home”.

While on the course, we were encouraged to participate in their activities, but I think I mostly decided to take part because it was exciting to get out of our comfort zone and truly challenge ourselves.

Both Adriana and I admired the work of past winners a lot, and the high level of talent found in the competition pushed us to work harder.

What steps did you both take in order to participate?

When we first started working on the D&AD New Blood Awards project, we were in the middle of our final year, which meant we were faced with big projects and a dissertation. This year, we were determined to win, so we committed to really long days of work where we could execute all of our ideas.

It was a lot of effort, and nothing was assured. We could have invested all that time and still not have won, but we took the risk and it was really worth it.

Tell us about your featured work - what inspired your ideas, and how did you develop them?

For the D&AD New Blood Pencil, we were mostly inspired by our own experiences as women.

We’ve always been scared to go out at night but we wanted to change that, so our concept, i'm home with giffgaff, was all about trying to offer a solution to the problem, and regaining our right to enjoy the night without fear.

For our portfolio, we focused on working on our branding as a team to highlight what makes us special while creating a platform that could show our work to the world.

In such a competitive market, we had to make sure that we stood out, and we were excited to hear that our portfolio was selected in the D&AD New Blood Portfolio Picks 2022 from over 800 entries around the world.

Graphic featuring five colourful pencils.
Image credit: D&AD

Why was it important for you to be recognised by a leading creative organisation, and what kind of opportunities have you received as a result?

Creativity and talent are a must in this industry, but they’re also qualities that are hard to prove - getting excellent grades at a good uni is no guarantee of future success. We think that’s why getting our work recognised was crucial for us as it became our introduction to industry and opened many opportunities for us.

Just a few weeks ago, we were invited to meet an Executive Creative Director in a renowned agency who said that winning a D&AD Pencil was key to being noticed as new talent. We’ve also been able to talk to and visit several agencies, where we’ve connected with many people in the industry who have all been very welcoming. We’re also currently undertaking in a placement as a creative team.

What have you most enjoyed about your time at LCC?

We really enjoyed being part of a community of talented creatives, all of whom push UAL to be a leading institution.

When you move to London to study a creative degree, one thing you have for sure is passion - and that energy grows roots all around the College Building.

Growing alongside people with similar but different creative mindsets truly does inspire you. We’re always in search of talent, and studying at LCC allows you to pick the best of the best while giving you the opportunity to collaborate on projects with great people.

What advice would you give to prospective students who might be interested in exploring the world of advertising?

If you want an easy job or an easy life, don’t choose to be an advertising creative – but if you have a thirst to explore, can work the extra mile to get noticed, and feel able to draw outside the lines, then yes, jump in! It won’t be easy, but if you’re passionate and determined, you can get there.

Advertising is fun - you learn from different clients, you don’t have a fixed routine, and there’s always something new to discover. We believe the best thing about advertising is that you’re constantly training and developing your creativity, and you can apply it to lots of different fields in the future.

In short: advertising breaks rules, and so do we!

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