Barny Rivera: Life after attending the LIA's Creative LIAisons program in Las Vegas

LIA 2014_2.jpgThe London International Awards Creative LIAisons programme 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 generously pays for about 100 young creatives from around the globe to attend Creative LIAisons, which runs concurrently with LIA judging in Las Vegas. Barny Rivera was an attendee in 2014. At the time he was with Digital FCB in Manila. Below he outlines the impact Creative LIAisons has had on his career.

What can a young creative expect from the Creative LIAisons? The short answer is: more than another laurel on your CV.

For those with longer attention spans, read on.
We flew all the way to Vegas to learn from the pros through a series of talks, and to witness the LIA juries poring over metal-worthy work from around the world. These two activities are big enough reasons to aim for a spot at the Creative LIAisons. But it's really what happens in-between that sticks with you.

One night we decided to have a hotel room party. It got so packed and noisy, the neighbors complained and the hotel staff came knocking on the door, with a gentle threat that we'd get kicked out of the Encore and escorted to the police station if we don't call it a night. Something to think about before holding your own hotel room parties.

LIA 2014.jpgDuring the day we stayed in a conference hall to absorb the wisdom of people I only previously encountered via ad blogs. During lunch breaks, coffee breaks, cigarette breaks, dinner time, casino time, and getting-drunk-at-the-bar-beside-Mark-Tutssel time, the creative conversations happened.

We shared thoughts on how we can be better at our jobs, how we can try to make it contribute to society. It's easy to lose your idealism in an industry like advertising. What we gave each other was a little hope that maybe somehow, in our own ways, we can use our creativity for a greater good.

My LIA experience happened four years ago -- that's a lifetime in this era of 6-second Youtube prerolls. I have since moved to two agencies, worked with award-winning creative leaders, joined writing and filmmaking workshops, studied improv theater, dabbled in urban sketching, traveled to foreign cities, and recently, acquired a vintage harmonica in Tokyo with a fervent prayer that I can teach myself to play music.

The Creative LIAisons kick-started my own creative adventure and steered me into many wonderful directions. An experience like this can boost your career, but if you let it open your mind to new perspectives, what you'll bring back home can add more to your life.

Barny.jpg2014 advice from Barny Rivera (pictured left) straight after attending Creative LIAisons that year:

Before flying to Vegas for the LIA 'Creative Conversations', I read a previous delegate's tips on surviving, enjoying, and making the most out of the experience. I owe him the knowledge of tasty $2 tacos. Now I pay it forward with my own DOs and DON'Ts.

    • DON'T buy a bottle of water on the street for $2. Buy two bottles of water for $2 in a mini-mart near the Encore, right beside the $2 tacos place.
    • DO keep your hands off the hotel room's mini bar. You're in Las fucking Vegas. Go drink outside.
    • DON'T be too shy to introduce yourself. That's how you'll find your drinking buddies for the next five days.
    • DO visit Fremont Street, also known as Old Vegas. It's seedy as hell, but it feels more authentic than The Strip.
    • DON'T miss out on XS, the nightclub inside The Encore. Have some pre-clubbing drinks with your newfound friends, swig enough whisky to get a buzz, and you'll only need one $14 tequila shot to last you all night. (Bonus points if you can get somebody to buy you a drink.)
    • DO show up the next day at 9 AM. Even if you came crawling back in the room nearly dead at 4 AM. There's a conference, remember?
    • DON'T miss out on asking speakers about the innermost conflicts of your advertising life. You may not have that chance again. Grab it.
    • DO start your own creative conversations over lunch, in the casino bar, by the pool, wherever you fancy. You'll be surprised at how similar (or different) your views are no matter where you're from.
    • DON'T even think about staying in your room for the night. Hang out with your newfound friends. You'll miss them back home.
    • DO have fun. It won't be difficult, I promise.

Creative LIAisons is an annual program limited to 100 attendees from around the globe. The program is funded by LIA, the companies that send attendees do not incur any costs. LIA does not directly choose the attendees. Seats are allocated to companies and networks that support LIA through entries and media outlets that organize creative competitions around the world.

Creative LIAisons runs concurrently with LIA judging, providing exclusive access to all of LIA's jury members. This is the perfect opportunity for the attendees to mingle and have one-on-one discussions with the top creative talent in advertising, design, digital, production and technology.  LIA holds a party for jurors, speakers, media and the Creative LIAisons attendees. It is an informal event that allows the juniors to have unfettered access to the leaders of the industry.

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 award show offers. Not only does it provide insight as to what is an award winning piece of work, but provides a guide as to what sets apart great creative. This has been described by many of the Creative LIAisons' alumni as priceless.

Leave a comment

About Campaign Brief Asia

A blog for advertising creatives in Asia. To pass on news or advertise on the CB Asia blog, or to subscribe to Campaign Brief Asia or Campaign Brief Australia/NZ magazines, or The Work 09 Annual, email: Kim or Michael

Latest jobs

Retrieving latest jobs

House rules for commenting

Here are the ground rules for posting comments on stories: This site is a moderated blog. Comments that are seen to be more abusive than witty and/or constructive will not be posted. Obviously, we do not allow 'hate speech' or comments that are seen as a personal attack, defamatory, degrading or prejudicial to an individual or company. Overly abusive language also adds nothing to any discussion and will not be published. On occasions we will be asking people to contribute work, opinions and views on various topics - you are free to disagree, so long as you observe the above rules and remain constructive.