How Big Brother made me a better creative

Copywriter and Big Brother 2012 contestant Michael Beveridge reveals how three months locked away from the outside world has made him better equipped for the advertising industry.

G’day adland. I know you probably have no idea who I am because no-one actually watches TV anymore unless it’s downloaded episodes of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones episode. My name is Michael. I went and lived in Dreamworld in a weird house full of cameras with 16 other people for three months and learned a bunch of stuff about myself, and, being that I was a junior copywriter before I went into the house, I thought I could give some half-arsed tips on what Big Brother can teach a young creative.

Don’t go mental when fancy client food is offered to you

Juniors in particular. Yes yes, I know you’ve only got an expired bus ticket with some peanut butter spread on it for lunch, but the minute you start losing it over three half-eaten muffins that are left in the meeting room, is the minute the attractive people in accounts stop seeing you as a viable Christmas party make-out option. So play it cool, let someone else get in there first and casually walk in like you’ve just come off some important call and snag an orange and poppyseed like it ain’t even no thang.

Don’t make out with the competition

They might be cute and oh so adorable when they bring you a coffee for the morning brainstorm session, but unless you’re ready to really commit, I’d suggest maybe looking elsewhere to find that magical partner. You might just… Oh I dunno… lose say… a 250k contract because you start feeling some feelings about that art director you used to dislike and then people start thinking you’re doing it so you can form some super-team and then no one hires you or you get given that crappy real estate client that only does Facebook ads and pages in the local Chinese newspaper.

Pull your pants up

No one will ever follow you if they have to look at your arse. This is more a metaphor for putting a little more care into your appearance when there’s people that matter around. I get it, we’re young, we have beards, we wear busted up Vans and Cons with reckless abandon and I’m not saying stop. All I’m saying is, sometimes, leave the ripped leggings at home and show the big guys that you’re capable of dressing fancy and you’ll get invited to an after party and you can accidentally hug Sonya Kruger. Seven times.

Lose your mind, find your mojo

You’re in day five of pitch week. You’ve forgotten what your bed looks like, you want to punch your friends in the face when they complain about staying back 30 minutes at work and you can recite the ingredients of a Red Bull with your eyes closed (if you could close your eyes)… You’re coming close to losing the plot, and all I can say is… go ahead and lose it. I lost my mind for the first time ever in the Big Brother house and I learnt some things about myself that I’m lucky to learn at a young age. It’s OK to have self doubt. It’s OK to not know what to think and have crappy ideas. It’s fine to feel down about your surroundings and it’s totally OK to sit on a cake. Just make sure there’s no clients around.

Michael is available for freelance copywriting work. You can contact him via Twitter.


  1. Alison_F
    19 Nov 12
    10:44 am

  2. Loving the second point…. reminds me of something, but I just can’t put my finger on it…

  3. Anne Miles
    19 Nov 12
    10:51 am

  4. Love your thoughts here Michael. Glad there is some good that is coming out of the experience for you. I think there is a lot of value in your advice, particularly the ‘find your mojo’ – never forget who you are, stay true to your values, and being authentic is OK (actually preferred these days).

    You could probably set up a business coaching others how to get on the show and how to win it now too!

    I hope I have a project that you fit at some point! All the best as you land back in the real world. Or not so real in advertising 😉

  5. Aimee
    19 Nov 12
    10:54 am

  6. You’ve come a long way since the days of Normanby Terrace Beveridge :)

  7. Lesley
    19 Nov 12
    11:00 am

  8. Totally Love “pull your pants up”.
    There is a big difference between dressing more casual and creative and dressing like you don’t care.
    it is respect for self, your colleagues and clients.
    If you respect yourself, others will respect you.

  9. Plug
    19 Nov 12
    12:02 pm

  10. @Anne. NIce astro turf.

    Good luck Michael B !!

  11. mzd
    19 Nov 12
    12:17 pm

  12. I do wish Michael had heeded his own advice in Point 3 while on Big Brother. I saw so much crack I had to go to NA.

  13. Dan
    19 Nov 12
    2:11 pm

  14. Thank you for your powerful insights. Has <> made you an offer yet? :)

  15. JayD
    19 Nov 12
    3:26 pm

  16. Michael,
    Thank you for this write up. As a youngen, struggling to crack this biz, I appreciate your advice. I feel like I’m often hearing the same advice over and over, and as much as I appreciate it (really, I do, and thank you for spending your time teaching me), this feels “fresh”, and somewhat relevant to me. Good luck, I only watched BB in full a handful of times, but I liked you– even moreso, now. Cheers.

  17. Kate C
    20 Nov 12
    9:23 pm

  18. You are absolutely in the right job Michael! You have a great turn of phrase that paints an amusing picture. Hope you have your own radio show one day!

  19. Rick2
    21 Nov 12
    1:25 pm

  20. Not wanting to be Negative Nellie but some polishing of sentence structure, comma use and grammar might be wise for a copywriter. Esp when you’re presenting an article to the industry…

  21. Cambo
    22 Nov 12
    1:54 pm

  22. @Rick2. Nah, it’s a job for the Mumbrella subs (do they exist?). Many, writers turn in copy that require a pedant sub to work their magic.

    Oh, and BTW Michael, all very interesting but the burning question remains: are you still hot for Estelle? and, if so, what’s the update. A nation awaits.

  23. Michael Beveridge
    23 Nov 12
    1:21 pm

  24. I can neither confirm nor deny any allegations regarding ‘Estelle’. She’s got a fair rig though.

  25. Alison_F
    23 Nov 12
    2:12 pm

  26. Charming!! Ha!

  27. Cambo
    23 Nov 12
    2:18 pm

  28. “Allegations”? It was a query not an allegation. Good copy reading skills there i see :)
    Oh, and “fair rig”. Please explain.

  29. Claire
    26 Nov 12
    12:56 pm

  30. Hahaha this is all so true Michael… and the ‘pulling your pants up’ lesson – do you finally learn? :)

    I used to go nuts over the delicious food, then realised 1) it made me look like a crazy woman and 2) no matter how yummy it is, don’t go back for seconds, or thirds, or fourths….

  31. Don Key
    26 Nov 12
    8:32 pm

  32. What a wit. Why waste his undoubted talent on cheap reality shows for those with huge or fragile ego’s . He should have his own chat show or morning breakfast radio show or regular witty column in mumbrella on being a freelance copywriter (surely not for long either with that HUGE talent work should flood in)….

  33. Nick Dalla Riva
    27 Nov 12
    3:39 pm

  34. Mick
    We were looking for a copywriter. Then we stopped.

  35. Hair Envy
    28 Nov 12
    2:31 pm

  36. Dude, seriously – I thought it was a wig!