Pier Stamatogiannis: Copywriter
We caught up with Pier to find out more about her story.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in advertising, what do you enjoy most about being a copywriter?
The brief version is – I was a science degree dropout volunteering in public radio. I realised that I loved the ads on commercial radio, which public radio couldn't make because of their licensing restrictions. Adelaide had a great rep for radio advertising creativity back then (thanks in part to Street Remley) and it looked like fun.
What are the challenges you have faced throughout your working life?
Starting at the bottom, literally. In my first job I once had to wipe up liquid dog shit from the boss' cocker spaniels. And starting at a time when creative departments were predominantly male. Later, it was about not being recognised – for single-handedly starting up AADC's Mentoring Program and Open Day.
Having said that, it's been great overall, I've worked with and/or hung out with a bunch of cool, interesting people and I still love working in advertising after 30 years.
How do you feel the industry, particularly in Adelaide, has changed in recent years?
I'm probably not well placed to answer that. I've skipped the lunch/drinks scene for 15 years since having kids and that's where you get to keep your finger on the pulse. Maybe it's time to get back in?
What I do notice is there's less respect given to creativity over targeting/data/tracking. Rightly or wrongly, I reckon it's troubling. Maintaining people's attention and building brand love is easier when you produce something valuable to the target audience, whether it's entertaining or thought provoking.
Specifically, I feel like the 'craft' aspects – copy, art direction, sound design, printing, etc – are really under-appreciated now. Don't get me started on Fivvr. Or how creative/production/media budgets today are less than they were 20 years ago. I'm sounding bitter, but it does make me sad.
What do you think needs to change in Adelaide, especially to enable more female leaders?
Again, I don't think I'm well placed to answer that. But like most things in life, it boils down to:
Until some people get that it's not good for the industry (or its work for clients) to be speaking with predominantly one voice, we need quotas. Not just for women, but for ethnic backgrounds, genders and sexuality, education levels, socio-economic backgrounds and age groups.
Better work/life balance
It's insane that agencies could ever (or could still) believe that working 10+ hour days and weekends during a pitch would get the best out of people. It contributes to everyone working in a vacuum that is devoid of the random inputs and experiences we need to be creative; and you end up with creatives appropriating user-generated content from social media.
Respecting the life you have outside of work
Flexibility to come and go when needed, without apologising, or work a 4-day week because any more leaves you exhausted, is not a pipe dream.
Asking for what you want
Don't keep quiet about your ambitions, demand a seat at the table, and put your hand up every time an opportunity presents itself.
You can't be what you can't see
Women higher up need to be more visible, whether that's promoting themselves more (and overcoming any reticence to do so), mentoring students/newcomers, getting on panels, or reaching out to the media to provide comment as an industry expert, etc.
What do you hope for in our industry over the next 5-10 years?
At this point in time, it's hard to be wildly ambitious when you know there'll be a huge economic downturn because of the coronavirus. And there's some talk that brands will do significantly more work in-house, meaning smaller or fewer ad/marketing communications agencies.
However, I'd like to think this is an opportunity for an industry reset that is led by women – one that uses its talents to improve our world for everyone, nurtures creative thinking across every department, values return on investment, values agency craft and removes unnecessary layers of account services (on client and agency side), so that agencies and their clients can share the excitement of and pride in creating great communications.
Best piece of advice for young women entering the creative community?
Don’t fill your portfolio with uni/college assignments; be cheeky and create campaigns for brands whose accounts are held by agencies in your city or town. You'll stand out and be remembered.