So I wrote a piece on the best Christmas ads in 2017 for a brilliant website. Future Rising is a company who connects individuals with the creative industry and who provide advice and tips for aspiring professionals.
You can read my piece here. Once you've registered which is free and easy to do! And check out the rest of their content :)
After University I took a trip to America. And after five weeks, visiting three different states, driving and flying across boarders, I have noticed one thing consistently. Whether it's on the radio, on the television, on the billboards, on the benches; the advertising is overt.
From everything that I have seen and registered in my memory, it is so overt there is little to little creative idea, there is a message (or a few messages, or a few too many messages) and an image and that's all I've seen. There is often a slogan or a line describing the ad, for those who didn't get it at first glance. But first glance would be obvious; it'll be an ad for hair spray, on one side of the billboard- a bald man sad face, on the other side- the same bald man, happy face, with spray on hair. EASY.
The same as on the radio, descriptive, shouty messages paraded an entire 30 minute Uber drive, to the point where I, a polite British person who would never inconvenience anyone, asked if he could please put his own music on. I didn't care if it was heavy metal or grime or classical at that point I just wanted the shouting consumer messages to stop. And I don't remember any of the advertisements specifically because there's so many they just run into each other, creating one long marketing message against advertising.
To me, this highlights some pretty big cultural differences between two 'on the surface' similar westernised cultures. Maybe the British are snobby in their advertising, we like to think with metaphors and that there is a deeper meaning to a creative message; we want emotion and a story. Maybe we wouldn't mind if one year John Lewis simply told us that their Christmas range was really good value for money and they had over 300 different types of bed frames, something for all! Maybe we would mind. Or maybe the Americans are more receptive to simple, clear, no nonsense messages. They prefer the 1,2,3 shout at me kind of ad. It would be interesting to do some research on this. But for the time being, I'll conclude by saying that I am thankful of the difference. If everything was the same we wouldn't appreciate anything, would we? I also admire the British advertising, how we overthink tiny details and how we like things to be perfect.
But sometimes we compromise being happy.
We push the goalposts of success further away once we have achieved something.
We're never really satisfied with what we've got because, as humans, we always want more.
More money, more friends, more clothes, better technology, nicer features, a more successful job.
And in a lot of ways that's great. We strive for the best at all times and we are competitive, pushing ourselves further and further our of our comfort zones, never standing still.
As long as we can differentiate between ambition and desperation, as long as we can continue to appreciate the little things in life.
Which might sound like a mad, weak, slightly pathetic thing to say but I'm not the only one preaching happiness.
There are TedTalks and companies who have flipped the traditional ways of working on their heads.
So if it's one thing you do tomorrow, tell yourself you're doin' great.
We came second
I'm really not going to beat around the bush, we came second. Flying to Lisbon to present our work was an honour in itself, to be up against teams from France and Leeds, both with incredible creative and strategy, is also an honour. Leeds had an excellent idea and simple creative that not only challenged audiences but immediately made sense for the brief, they were worthy winners for sure. Check out the EdCom website to see their creative.
This experience has taught me so much about the industry as well as about myself. Now more than ever I firmly believe that when surrounded by brilliant people you can, and will, create brilliant work. I say in the title that we won second because we really did win in many ways. As a group we had the best time traveling around Bournemouth working together to create something amazing for the client. We also had the amazing opportunity of experiencing Portugal together, something not a lot of university group members can say they've done, but something that I will forever cherish. So regardless of coming second in the competition, which is still an amazing achievement, it was always going to be a win, win situation for us.
Optimist over n out.
We made it!
We made it through top ten to the final of the competition. Which means Brilas are off to Lisbon, Portugal to present our idea to a panel of judges. Including industry professionals, academics and the client. We are absolutely thrilled.
How did we make it? Honestly, I'm attributing this particular success to our approach at working on the brief. Like I've mentioned in my previous post we began as we believed a real agency would begin working. Well, apart from the office hours. We were free agents and we worked long hours as a team in lovely natural environments discussing how and who we are as an agency and as individual advertisers in our roles. We established a precedent of thinking about things and possible routes to explore. However we were also taught by our lecturers different ways to think beyond what might be expected of us and tackle a problem from other perspectives.
This established a comfortable environment for us all to express our honest opinions on the brief, therefore expanding on those brilliant 'silly' ideas and bouncing off eachother to ultimately get where we are today.
We are constantly cautious that our pitch tells a story and has been built in a way that takes the audience through our thought and work processes. Beginning with our initial brainstormed ideas, primary and secondary research, who the audience are and leading into the big idea and proposition, what this means and how it can be executed. Finishing with how we plan to advertise the campaign, media channels and measurement tools.
This is our pitch we submitted that got us this far- to be uploaded soon or visit EdCom AdVenture to see a full PDF version. I've uploaded some strategy slides below :)
We've built on aspects of it quite a lot for our university assignment and also for our final pitch to the EWL. We'll upload that one later ;)
Stay tuned for news on the result of Lisbon!
The coast is always close and I am curious about consumer behaviour and why we do the things we do.