Last Night a Creative Saved my Life - Guest blog by Ze Anwar

Ze has been a huge inspiration to many people including myself. He has fought through mental health issues and become one of the most consistent creatives of the OMB community. His ideas have improved massively and he always encourages others to do well. This has seen him win awards and force his way into the industry whilst fighting for diversity and inclusion within the creative world. This post is a privilege to be able to share.
— Bank of Creativity

I remember when I first came across One Minute Briefs on Twitter about 3 years ago, when OMB were running a brief for the NHS choir. At that time I was a NHS whistleblower and I was campaigning vigorously on social media for justice for myself and other whistleblowers. Being a NHS whistleblower really destroyed my life, I had just recovered from a suicide attempt after losing my job and I was battling PTSD every day.

Finding One Minute Briefs really saved my life, it was like a beacon for me to try something new. I was really finding it hard to find a job as I was blacklisted from working in the NHS where I had a solid 5 years of experience within NHS procurement.

So I thought let me focus on something away from the toxic environment of whistleblowing, I had a family to support and wanted to start a new career path. I always felt I was a creative type of person, So on the next brief I entered, and from there I haven’t stopped entering and I don’t think I ever missed a brief since I joined.

The OMB community was really supportive of my work and I gained so much respect for every member of the community, who are a talented bunch and very competitive, which is a good thing as this pushes you to reach your potential and beyond.

In my first Year I won ‘Most Prolific Omble’ award at the OMB awards which was held in Manchester, and the following year I won OMB Omble of the year and just last year I won that award again, which was such a life changing experience for me as I also won a chance to work in a creative agency for 3 weeks, I had so many ideas and I was involved in some TV and Radio work, which was created by the wonderfully talented David Felton, and I had one of my ideas chosen for a car advertising campaign. Unfortunately this did not lead to a full time job, but I learnt so much I was thankful for the experience and plan to carry on fighting for a chance to express myself in the industry, which is crying out for diversity.

I would say OMB saved my life and I am eternally grateful to Nick, who I class as a very good friend/brother, who is supportive of all the Ombles and goes out of his way to help and nurture every aspect of Ombles creative learning experience.

My favourite brief I worked on was for Isabella, a young child who has neuroblastoma Cancer. As I had worked for the NHS, it made me feel like I was helping people again. My poster was chosen for a short video, which got over 30 million views and featured on TV raising a lot of money in the process.

I treat every OMB as a serious brief and at the same time have fun with my creative learning, which you don’t get to do at an agency. I recommend anyone who is creative to enter One Minute Briefs, no matter your level, as, by entering, not only do you get to enter briefs from world famous clients but you get to train your brain. We are no different to athletes and we have to train to stay on top of our game.

My final two points which are very close to my heart is to do with my mental health. I find writing traumatic (more so with my whistleblower experience). I was at very low point, I had lost all hope on life, my dad had just died and I had a new baby which I could not support financially. I did do art and design at college a long time ago and I found that exploring my creativity helped with my mental health, and One Minute Brief is a great tool to help, and I recommend anyone with mental health to give a go!

My last point about one minute briefs is about diversity, in all my time in the creative field I have found the whole advertising industry very negative towards black and ethnic minorities, but I never found this with One Minute Briefs as it is the most welcoming and diverse communities in UK advertising bar none.

Once again I would like to thank the following who have helped me along my journey Louise Chorley, Richard Bayley, Gary Lewis, David Fenton, Matthew Wyatt and many many more, and a big thank you to Nick Entwistle who has created such a vibrant community.

To all the newbies who are thinking of joining in OMB, have no fear and go create….

Follow Ze on Twitter.