“Agencies are kind of invisible,” says Lücy Aa. “I had to learn about them another way, because there was no one else from my community who was in this world that could tell me.”
With stints at Droga5 London and current agency Mother, plus campaigns for KFC and Uber Eats under their belt, you wouldn’t assume that the art director and his copywriter partner Jordan Waters had struggled to break into advertising. In reality, both of them fell into an industry that has long been elusive to those who aren’t already in the know.
Aa describes his own journey as “the scenic route”. After dropping out of college and doing property management, he taught himself how to use a camera and spent the next five years freelancing as a director, photographer, and graphic designer, working with musicians including Skepta and Ed Sheeran. He even formed the beginnings of his own agency during the pandemic but ended up being scammed out of £10,000 by the business partner he was working with at the time.
The one good thing that came out of that horrible experience was discovering D&AD’s night school Shift. “At the time I’d just about discovered that advertising was a thing. I fell in love with old ads from the 1960s, so when the agency didn’t really pan out, I was like, OK I want to jump into advertising,” he says. “I was having conversations with [agencies], but because of my background and where I wanted to start they couldn’t make it make sense – I had no advertising experience but I had creative experience. Shift was the vehicle that helped me get in.”