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Q&A : YOUNG LOTUS 2019: MEET HOLLY BURGESS

At ADFEST 2019, Copywriter Holly Burgess and Art Director Lucy Logan took part in the Young Lotus program for creatives aged under 30 – and won. Six months on, Holly is freelancing in Amsterdam, while Lucy remains at Leo Burnett Melbourne as Art Director.

 

At ADFEST, Holly and Lucy raced against 17 other teams to complete a real-world brief from Google. We caught up with Holly to find out more about winning Young Lotus 2019…

 

You won the Young Lotus competition this year along with Lucy Logan, congrats! What did you learn from being involved in the program as a team?

Thank you! We came back with some nice full brains. The speakers were brilliant and gave great insight into futureproofing ideas. These 24-hour brief competitions are their own kind of beast too, with each one we learn lessons on making it through with our sanity intact. This time, it was making quick decisions and sleeping enough to avoid presenting like a bunch of zombies.

 

How did you hear about Young Lotus in the first place, and what made you want to be part of it?

Luce heard about the competition in Campaign Brief before, but it doesn’t always include a team from Australia. An opportunity to see the award show, have a crack at the competition, and in Thailand of all places, was a bit of a no-brainer.

 

Judges said you “went beyond what was expected”. What was your idea and why do you think it won?

Currently we ask Google Home to help with small tasks, which is seriously underestimating a magic box connected to the entire internet. We wanted to use Google’s amazing amount of data to answer the world’s big, complex, hard-to-answer questions instead. The universal questions that have the world worried. So, going from something like ‘What’s the weather’ to ‘How do I fix climate change?’. It’s entirely within Google Home’s current capabilities and could potentially change how we use virtual assistants.

 

Any favourite memories of Thailand?

We met a lot of good people, so good times weren’t in short supply. But, my favourite would be after presenting our final idea to hundreds, shot full of adrenaline and the pressure off, we snuck away to have a mojito in the pool and breathe.

 

You joined Leo Burnett in 2016, but now you’re freelancing in Amsterdam. Why did you make the move and how's it going? Have you been working on anything interesting lately?

I’ve always wanted to live in Europe to explore more of it and this felt like as good a time as any. Freelance has been great for that freedom. It still blows my mind, but I’m actually being paid to write travel guides. I’ve finally had time to work on my very silly children’s book too, so I’d say it’s working out nicely.

 

What can you tell us about the creative culture in Amsterdam: what led you there & how does it inspire you?

Amsterdam is a progressive city, so there’s a real sense of openness to doing things differently. There’s new ideas floating around everywhere and it seems to filter into everything. Tech and start-ups obviously, but even some of their government programs too. For a creative city, it’s also really laid back. Companies here are nailing flexible work environments in an authentic way I’ve not encountered before.

 

In Melbourne, you partnered with Lucy Logan at three different agencies. Why did you hit it off creatively? Is it strange to be flying solo now?

Luce is a great example of a human which made it easy. It also helps that we’re both not precious and try to approach work with a sense of humour. We’re great friends, which is ideal when you spend most of your waking hours together.

 

Yes – very strange. We had to have a plan in place for the withdrawals, ha. We still text all the time which helps. Thank you technology!

 

Seven years into your career, do you have any advice for junior creatives: is there a secret to succeeding/surviving in ad land?

It’s probably more common sense than secret but – lose your ego as soon as you can, ask questions, be okay with being wrong (a lot). And don’t worry, it does get easier.

 

* Young Lotus is open to advertising professionals aged 30 and under. To enquire about joining the Young Lotus 2020 program, contact YoungLotus@ADFEST.com 

13 November,2019            
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