Copywriter Flushes Web-Based Portfolio In Favor of a Toilet-Centric Platform
Interview by Mike O'Donnell / Editor
If you ever wonder just how competitive the creative industry is getting, look no further than the lengths that creative professionals go to to get ahead. Many creatives don’t sleep. Plenty of creatives send follow-up emails to follow-up their follow-up. And others turn to data to hack new ways of getting through to hirers. Like WNW Member Andrew Hajjar, who has unloaded his copywriting portfolio site and christened a new kind of beacon: The #BañoBook.
Andrew’s work has been recognized by Cannes, One Show, D&AD, ADC, and plenty of others. But sometimes you have to apply that award-winning creativity to stand out from the crowd. Below, Andrew shares the inspiration and process behind creating the first copywriting portfolio not just made for the phone, but also “designed for the throne.” We hope you kings and queens enjoy this conversation.
Over the course of your career, how have you seen portfolio sites evolve?
Well, it’s 2019, so this might get me in hot water, but despite my agnostic religious beliefs, I think we can attribute changes in portfolios to intelligent design over evolution.
Back in my day, we left ad school with both a website and a physical portfolio (which, for the younger readers, is a portfolio printed on paper and bound in a book). It was a pain but it forced you to create something unique. Now you’ve got companies like Squarespace intelligently pouring tons of money into design and UX. Which makes it easy to build a portfolio, but has also created a sea of sameness.
Like you said, it’s 2019. How long do you think potential hirers spend on a given creative portfolio when sitting at their desk?
After some unscientific research I found “about 4 minutes per portfolio” tossed around a few times. But in the age of open-plan seating and fragmented attention spans, what does 4 minutes even mean anymore?
Let’s talk about The #BañoBook. An invention of pure genius. How did you come up with it? Why was it time for a change from how your work was being seen?
I’d like to say the idea came to me like a toilet-top Archimedes, but the truth is a bit less romantic. I knew I wanted to re-do my portfolio, so I approached it like we would for any client. Started with a problem. Did a little research. Identified a tension. Found a hole in the market. And luckily that hole just happened to be a toilet.
What kind of research went into The #BañoBook to accomplish maximum efficiency in making a splash with creative hirers?
The #BAÑOBOOK was actually born entirely from research. I found that people only spend ~4 mins looking at a portfolio website (which is not a long time). But ~24 mins a day on Instagram and ~14 mins a day on the toilet (which is a long time). At that point flushing desktop views for toilet-top Instagram views seemed obvious.
What were some of the challenges and surprises that came with unloading The #BañoBook?
Honestly, I underestimated what a pain in the ass uploading everything to Instagram would be. Cutting, compressing, letterboxing, and uploading videos in the correct order…it’s almost as if Instagram wasn’t made to host a writer’s portfolio.
What factored into your decision to forgo mobile development and UX design and hire promising young upstarts Instagram to build The #BañoBook?
The proof is in the pudding. Time and time again Instagram has shown the power to make idiot upstarts like Dan Bilzaerian, Backpack Kid, and Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie famous. So why can’t it do the same for an idiot like me?
How did your past work with clients like Clorox and PineSol empower you for this moment?
My years on CPGs definitely taught me to never underestimate the awesome power of what can happen in and around a toilet. And if it’s a Clorox-cleaned toilet? Buckle the fuck up.
Do you think the perception of your work shifts when viewed on a toilet versus an Aeron office chair?
The negative perception did cross my mind. But honestly, you can look at a book full of shit work from a $1000 ergonomic office chair. So what’s the problem with looking at a book full of amazing work from a toilet? Plus, with the proliferation of dating apps, more and more people are finding love from the throne…so I think the cultural perception of the toilet has changed.
Any advice for creatives inspired by your work and now in the midst of adding some baño to their books?
My advice to other creatives is not to be afraid to zig when others zag. I wanted to create a portfolio that was a representation of me, and I’ve always been a ‘bathroom guy.’ But just like anything can be a toilet if you have to go bad enough, anything can be a portfolio if you want it bad enough. Just figure out who you are, and let it rip.
Not to get too deep, but are you at all worried that you’ve peaked with The #BañoBook? What’s next for you?
To be fair, I peaked as Child Model #1 in the 1993 Brine Lacrosse catalog. Everything I’ve done in my career since then, The #BAÑOBOOK included, is just an attempt to regain some of that glory. So if anyone out there is looking for a 32-year-old, one-time child model for catalog work, drop me a line.