Australian creative directors James Orr and Elle Bullen talk about how attending LIA Creative LIAisons in Las Vegas impacted their career

LIA Creative LIAisons was started in 2012 as a way to give back to the global creative community. It is this program that sets LIA apart from the other awards shows in the industry. Annually, LIA invites and pays for about 100 attendees from around the globe to attend Creative LIAisons, which runs concurrently with LIA judging in Las Vegas. 

The program consists of networking, seminars and the privilege to sit in on statue deliberations. Access to the judging room from the beginning of statue discussions through to the final metal decisions is an experience no other awards show offers. It provides invaluable insight and comments as to what makes a piece of work an award winner. Attendees are given the opportunity to mingle and have one-on-one discussions with the top creative talent in advertising, design, digital, production and technology. Creative LIAisons has become one of the most sought after programs in the industry.

SDWM, Melbourne creative directors James Orr and Elle Bullen 
Creative Liaisons 2012
In 2012, we struck gold at an award show. 
And we didn't even win a trophy.
Elle Bullen James Orr Vegas .jpg
We were invited to attend LIA's Creative LIAisons in Vegas. At the time, the promise of a trip to sin city on the clock was so exciting that we didn't think about what the experience might hold beyond the blackjack table. But what we learned when we got there, besides don't take Wesley Snipes' advice and 'Always bet on black' (1992 film Passenger 57), has stuck with us to this day. 

Those three days of creativity and conversations with people from all over the world made us think about our roles and the industry in a new way. 

We'd always been the competitive types, competing for everything from uni placements, to a foot in the door at agencies, on briefs and against other agencies for business. It seems to go hand in hand with this business. But ironically enough, it was a competitive Award Show that helped us see beyond competition, to concentrate on creativity.

While most award shows pit young creative minds against each other, this one brought them together. Folks we once saw as our creative nemeses became collaborators and contacts. We learned that no matter what country you're from; we all share the same pressures and passion. There were no briefs, just the best work in the world to learn from. We got to see judging in action, and understand why that work was considered the best. 

We had open access to brilliant and inspiring minds. And we witnessed firsthand what watching 82 three-minute case study films in succession can do the human mind. 
All things that didn't stay in Vegas, but came back with us to shape how we approach briefs, identify opportunities and ruthlessly edit our case studies.

It was a once in a life time opportunity usually reserved for the ECD's and CCO's of the world, which made it invaluable for a couple of rookie creatives who until then had only ever judged their own work. The chance to go behind the scenes and be exposed to this culture of creativity doesn't come along every day. So if you're lucky enough to be under 30 and offered that chance, grab it.

In 2012 Orr and Bullen were a young team at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne ~ Campaign Brief's 2012 Australian Agency of the Year. Each year Campaign Brief chooses 7 young creatives from agencies in Asia, Australia and New Zealand to attend  the Creative LIAisons in Vegas in late September.

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