All Posts in College Visits
Last Monday saw me, (Dani) travel back to my hometown to attend an employability day at the University of Sunderland.
The day started at 10am where myself and 6 other ex Sunderland Uni students took to the stage in front of a room of full of 2nd and 3rd year students all biting at the bit to get into the creative industries. My fellow speakers were all in different areas of creativity from illustration, to 3D design, advertising and digital design. For me, being one of the oldest graduates, it was great to hear from a couple of the panel who'd only been out of uni a year or so and had started to find their feet. Some of the panel had decided to stay in the northeast, some of us were in London and others freelanced from home - a fantastic and eclectic mix of creatives, perfect for the mix of eager students who had joined us.
"Monkey hanger" is an affectionate term by which Hartlepudlians are often known.
According to local folklore, the term originates from an incident in which a monkey was hanged in Hartlepool. During the Napoleonic wars, a French ship was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool. The only survivor was a monkey, wearing a French uniform. On finding the monkey, some locals decided to hold an impromptu trial on the beach; since the monkey was unable to answer their questions, and many locals were unaware of what a Frenchman may look like, they concluded that the monkey was in fact a French spy. Just to make sure, the animal was thus sentenced to death and hanged from the mast of a fishing boat on the Headland.
Bloody good job I wasn't in Hartlepool then!
Although to get to Sunderland by train Monkeys do have to pass through that treacherous place.
So Friday 6th May brought me back to my old university in Sunderland. I spent my whole life growing up in Sunderland and studied the Advertising & Design course there for 3 years, so seeing a bright eyed bunch of first year ad students was a really poignant part of coming back knowing that in 3 years time they'll be hot on my tail.
So after a quick intoduction we set to work. I wanted to use the session as an experiment and to be as prolific and productive as possible. I wanted to take the students out of their comfort zones and get them thinking in new ways.
So instead of setting a brief written on a piece of paper for a small insignificant product I got the guys to be brave and pick a big brands at random out of my little red hat. The likes of Walkers, Tetley, Nike, Nokia, Cadbury, Pedigree, Panasonic were in there to choose from. And why the hell not. We don't want to be producing students who shit themsleves when a big opportunity comes their way. We want students that see creativity as a playground! For they should be brave, daring, experimental and having a ball.
When the students had their brands I dropped the second bombshell. NO PAPER. I told the guys I wanted big, thought provoking ideas but their ideas had to be submitted on an online platform of some form. A Tumblr, WordPress, Twitter page, Facebook page, YouTube pages for example.
The way we communicate has rapidly changed and so has the way that brands are communicating with us. Brands can no longer tell people what to buy. As consumers we now have the upper hand and we choose what we interact with and when - that's why we need good ideas.
The fundamentals of a good idea are the same as they always were... we need brave, original, bold and engaging ideas lead by exciting and compelling strategic insights, but we need to use the platforms that are readily available as a way to not just execute but more as a way of influencing the type of ideas we have. Check this out from Andy Sandoz - he has a sweet little diagram on his blog and elaborates on being digitally cultured.
So once we had the thoughts down (baring in mind how they were going to be executed) we started having some fun. The guys really enjoyed the new ways they were using these platforms for brand communications. By the end of the session [around 4.30pm] we had eveything from blog novels about dogs for Pedigree, to a user generated Facebook store for Nike, to electronic orchestras for Panasonic, Walkers owning Friday nights down the pub via Tumblr and Twitter and even ideas for augmented reality swap shops for Nokia via Tumblr and Twitter.
Ok so the sites need a little brushing up and expanding upon but for some of the guys it was their first time they'd even made a Tumblr. They experimented, played around with the platforms and were thinking in new ways. But look at it this way, the guys now have ideas that are living and breathing in the digital world and that for me is pretty damn cool.
I must say a huge thanks to the first years of Sunderland. You make the Monkey's proud.
And for the rest of you - save some trees will yer !
Viva la digital revolution.
Dani & The YCC
On Friday, Paul & I [Mike] had the opportunity to head on up to see the 17 or so teams of the Third Year Creative Advertising course, soon to be grads and aspiring creatives within the ever expanding world of advertising. One of things that we love most at the YCC is helping grads prepare themselves and where we can, offer a spring board into the industry - or at the least, a very realistic and down-to-earth approach to the post-university life of Advertising.
Being an ex-student of Lincoln Uni's ever expanding ad course, it was good to see how the course has evolved and developed, but it was great seeing the people who were on the edge of making the big transition, an air of uncertainty, nerve-wracking, and yet exciting time.
Enough about us, without further ado I'll pass you on to two third year students who wrote an account of the event, over to you Becky & Anna...
Mike Cuthell and Paul Mann came to visit the third year students of Creative Advertising at University of Lincoln last week [Friday 1st April]. It was a great opportunity for us to learn more about the advertising industry from the London-bound creatives. Having met both Mike and Paul previously, my partner and I were looking forward to their visit, ready to absorb their wise words!
The guys took us through some of the work they have created in their careers so far and discussed the benefits and drawbacks of becoming part of the London advertising world. It was great to talk to creatives who were in our shoes just a few years ago, advising us on how to tackle the difficulties of making it in London when placements and jobs are so difficult to come by.
It was inspiring to see some of Mike’s work that’s already gone live and to know, that could be us in just a couple of years time. Paul talked us through how creatives go about pitching their work to clients, with his recent pitch deck for Dove Spa, demonstrating how one big thought can become an integrated campaign.
Of course they then talked to us about the Young Creative Council, and how rapidly it is growing. My partner and I, having already contacted various YCC creatives have found the website extremely valuable. It is fantastic to know that there are so many creatives willing to help out the newbies! From our experiences so far we have found the YCC a brilliant lifeline for creatives making the transition from university to placements and I hope we can be part of it, once we have landed our first job!
Paul and Mike talked us through some of the resources the YCC offer including single creatives, Bang Bang briefs and the Unite events. The Lincoln course has a few singles who want to meet partners and the single creatives seems like the perfect resource, so it was refreshing to know that this is yet another service that the YCC provides.
Following the success of the Unite events, several teams will definitely be applying for Unite III. The guys told us all about their previous Unite events and how they managed to provide various placements and jobs for some of the lucky creatives. Now, as Unite III is fast approaching, teams from Lincoln are applying for 1 of the exclusive 25 places, Anna and I obviously wanting to do everything possible to take one of these valuable spots!
The guys seemed to have plenty of time for us as a course, which was lovely; it meant we had the opportunity to ask plenty of questions, about their careers, placements, costs of living in London, where to live, how best to go about getting placements and how to turn those placements into paid jobs.
It was refreshing to get such an honest account of how the industry operates and it has spurred us on even more, counting the days till we move down to London!
So, thank you very much for coming up to see all the 3rd year students at Lincoln, keep up the enthusiasm!
- Becky and Anna [3rd year creative team at the University of Lincoln].
Well there we have it, if you'd like any of us Monkey's to pop up and see you drop us an email to email@example.com
P.S. The latest installation of the UNITE III Poster is now available to a Uni near you!
A couple of Mondays ago, two of us journeyed down to our old uni, UCA Farnham, to give a little talk on our progress in the industry and for us in particular, to give the YCC a face [albeit a couple of ugly faces] to some of the newest grads.
It was great to see how our old course had grown. When we were there our class had about 30 people. The first year now has 65 students - quite an impressive increase. More impressive still was that most of them turned up again after lunch! We obviously didn't bore them enough.
Fellow grads who presented with us were Louis Downs, a spirited entrepeneur, Lauren Dyer, now at DDB Health, Helen Trickey and Becky Coyle [UCA Epsom grad] from Rufus Leonard and Will Marsden and his partner Jordan Down from Ogilvy. All of us offered a slightly different perspective; Louis has gone it alone since graduating, having dabbled in publishing, web design and branding; Lauren [who is easily the most motivated person I've met] tried to encourage people to avoid fear and 'do'; Helen and Becky described their respective roles at the agency, from branding to digital design; and Will and Jordan described their experiences or differing cultures at agencies and their way of approaching and delivering work.
As I've said, the purpose of our talk was to offer the students a bit of advice from people who have just gone through what they are about to go through. Luke and I found that once we left uni, we weren't under-prepared but we certainly didn't expect the situation to be as it was. We don't in any way profess to know everything or to have it right - but who does? All we can do is offer our perspectives and hope that our mistakes can be built on by others so that they don't make the same mistakes.
University is the perfect place for groups like us to have contact with - our experiences are still very fresh in our minds, and we know what extra stuff we would have benefitted us whilst there. As well as that, once students graduate their time will be taken up with searching for work and worrying about money [now more than ever], so getting in as early as possible can help to avoid or at least curtail certain of these issues.
Again, as the YCC, we aren't a bunch of know-it-alls - we're learning from all this too - we're just willing to have our brains picked and are more than willing to help out anyone who thinks we can provide it to.