All Posts in Opinion

September 21, 2016

Ad-ventures Abroad | Copenhagen & NYC

I watched a man die on the streets of New York City. He was out jogging ahead of me in the bright summer sunshine of midtown Manhattan, when suddenly and without warning he fell over, quite plainly dead. If you’ve ever seen a real corpse before – as opposed to one on television – quite a few differences are immediately apparent. For starters, the skin takes on a waxy inhuman sheen, gauntly stretched across the skull. There’s a noticeable lack of inner fire, as if the embers of the human spirit have been perceivably extinguished to leave nothing but an uncanny husk. It’s like watching an early CGI movie; something is disturbingly wrong and you want to look away.

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June 24, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 4

Get the dish on DAY 4 right here:

Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

This morning started with a fun brainstorming session for another cool brief that creatives Holly and Julie had just started working on. Later we began to go through some of the work that I have been doing this week, and they gave me some really helpful suggestions on how push them a bit further. So another great day at AnalogFolk! Despite all of the flooding and train issues. I can’t believe it’s been day 4 already, It has gone so quickly!!

Max – CHI & Partners

Day IV

When I arrived in the office today everybody was in a pretty good mood after taking home a cyber gold lion for Lexus' hoverboard last night. Had a casual celebration champagne for lunch and kept on working on the super bowl brief for the rest of the day. Everything is set up for a big finish tomorrow.

Tom & James – Wunderman

Having woken up expecting to row ourselves to work, the journey to the Wunderman office was relatively pain free.
Today our heads were down as we were finalising ideas for the big pitch to the ECDs tomorrow, where we will be presenting them the fruits of our week of labour. A crit with the jovial Richard and Nigel was a welcome break and we got some great advice from a very experienced team.
Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

Day 4 began with Aims getting up at 6am to vote and Sylvs remembering why she usually cycles to work after a nightmare experience on the tube. We spent the morning refining our ideas for McVities before showing them to the team at lunch. We were helped on with more sweet treat offerings from Vicki, this time including an incredibly sour apple bon bon which definitely gave us the punch in the face we needed to get inspired. After some great feedback from the McVities team we started the party early with 4 o'clock beers for the No Cannes do Party which included the best perk you can think of. Free Prosecco. We're feeling great now. It may be a different story tomorrow morning...

Published by: YCC in Opinion

June 23, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 3

Here's the wrap up from day 3!

Tom & James – Wunderman

Day 2 + 3 (because we were naughty yesterday and didn’t submit an entry): We had a hectic day. Presented initial ideas at our first ‘creative review’ and ended up having to ditch most of them. We consoled ourselves with falafel over lunch. Spent the rest of the day reworking the others – then it was off to the Cannt Be Replaced Speed Crit…

Today has been a little calmer. Developing the chosen ideas from yesterday further and getting stuck into a portfolio crit with one of the CDs. So far so good!

Max - CHI & Partners

After half the day working at (what at least already feels like) my desk I got the chance to join Will, a copywriter at CHI, doing some life writing for the Euros at a clients office. That basically meant sitting on the 12th floor next the the thames, watching the games and coming up with hilarious stupid puns. Iceland made my day.

Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

We started day 3 with a brilliant briefing from the lovely Vicki Maguire and the McVities team which was made even better by the constant supply of products (you really can't beat a chocolate digestive.) After demolishing nearly an entire packet of biscuits, we felt substantiously queasy and took advantage of the sugar high to quickly rattle off some ideas. After lunch we went through our concepts for HSBC which seemed to go down well and we ended the day on a high that wasn't brought on by sugar!

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Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

Another great day at AnalogFolk. We had Eddie the filmmaker in today to record me answering a few questions for the YCC Cannt be replaced video. A couple of the questions I answered were what I thought the next big thing was going to be? And what sort of advertising I wanted to make in my career? I’m looking forward to the final edit of the video. I somehow don’t quite think I’m going to be making it onto the big screen though.


Matthew & Penny @hellomattdunn @pennylam65 - Karmarama

Today was an eventful day. Dickie came back to us with feedback on the work we did yesterday. It seems we impressed! Put straight onto a new brief for a digital bank. Half way through the briefing we all noticed an electrical burning smell. Seconds later we're all evcauated outside. Nothing like a bit a drama!

Charlie & Emily @Em_pemm @CharlieRaymont - GREY

Day 3: Today we where lucky enough to be briefed on McVities, and of course along with this we had the responsibly of sampling some of the products, and by some, we mean a lot so there goes our summer bods. As well as this to finish the day we had a great, insightful feedback meeting with the HSBC team.

June 22, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 2

Sarah & Jules @theafghanhound1 – GREY

Today we met Vicki Maguire, fresh off the plane from Cannes, who revealed she will be giving us a brief involving coffee tomorrow morning...intriguing. Inbetween that we had a creative wander down Leather Lane and got a meaty HSBC brief. A Tuesday has never gone so fast.

Max - CHI & Partners

Arrived pretty early and surprisingly dry this time. A massive super bowl brief came in today and I can't wait to get my teeth into it! After a huge vietnamese lunch I had to do the little interview for the roundup video. surviving the first nervous minutes it ended up being really fun. On my way back I almost casually ran into the partners office but luckily was safed before I actually got in.

Matthew & Penny @hellomattdunn @pennylam65 - Karmarama

Today we were trusted to our own devices. Feedback from yesterdays work proved fruitful and was told to develop some gems. Working closely with Richard the CD is extremely rewarding. Highlight of the day was afternoon tea!! Victoria sponge cake and Lemon drizzle was on the menu today. Looking forward to tomorrow, we have a new brief coming in!

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Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

A better morning than yesterday, as there was no rain, no confusion with the buses, and I had the pleasure of meeting one of AnalogFolk’s friendly K9s. The weather was so much better today! So we took the opportunity to have some lunch in the park, where I met some of the other designers from the agency. I also had my first review going over some of the initial ideas I had come up with yesterday and earlier this morning. Now it’s time to begin to develop some of them, and see where they go tomorrow.

Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

Day 2 consisted of warmer weather and enough risky agency Christmas card ideas to offend any good Catholic Grandmother. We had a break from the tinsel and candy canes and enjoyed a food market lunch in the park with the other teams Emily and Charlie, and Sarah and Jules. After getting back we got a great brief from HSBC and emails for 3 briefings tomorrow so now looking forward to a busy day Wednesday. The day was pretty relaxed compared to our evening. We attended the Cannt be replaced book crit night just around the corner. 8 crits in 24 minutes was intense but fun and we made some connections we hope to keep! So thanks YCC and Cannt be Replaced for another great day!

Charlie & Emily @Em_pemm @CharlieRaymont - GREY

Day 2: Today we carried on working with our christmas brief for half the day. After we explored the heavenly food market at lunch we then given a live HSBC brief to work on. We spent the rest of the day racking our brains to come up with some (hopefully) worthy ideas.

Picture one

June 21, 2016

Cannt Be Replaced | Day 1

So over the course of the week we'll be sharing daily anecdotes from the teams! Here's your first instalment.

Charlie & Emily @Em_pemm @CharlieRaymont - GREY

Day 1: Despite turning up to GREY looking like drowned rats due to the 'first day of summer', as far as first days go this one has been brilliant. We have been made to feel welcome by a great creative team (Stevie and Emily), as well as being saved by other GREY colleagues from the coffee machine that nearly exploded on us.. Our first brief has us singing Christmas tunes and thinking about all things sparkly. We are really excited to see what tomorrow brings. Thats all folks, Charlie and Emily.


Tom & James - Wunderman

Things Tom & James did on Day 1 at Wunderman:
1. On arrival, we got off at the wrong floor and ended up in ASOS’ office. They seemed nice.
2. We finally met our hosts – the lovely Charlotte & Lucy – who were even nicer.
3. We signed a Non Disclosure Agreement to work on a super secret brief (shhhh…).
4. We grabbed lunch. Tom highly recommends the kebab place round the corner.
5. James was soundly beaten at table football. Twice.

Max - CHI & Partners

The first day of London summer. I had quite a hard time to get to soho in pouring rain and packed tubes but when I finally got there I got a super warm welcome. Equipped with a cup of coffee I got a little tour through the office and was introduced to the creative department. After a delicious welcome lunch I jumped onto the first brief. By now I switched to good old english tea. The rest of the day day went by pretty quickly and I left the office with the sun shining. It actually is summer in London.

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Ed @BBGoodger - Analogfolk

Weather was chucking it down this morning, making it even more difficult for me to navigate my way around the bus stops near Waterloo, frantically trying to figure out which queue I was meant to be standing in. Turns out I was in the wrong one. A really good first day at AnalogFolk. An awesome agency with a great vibe to it. And apparently it was a quiet day too! Met Simon my Creative Director, who briefed me on an exciting new project. Slightly terrified though as I’m currently the only one working on it! Had some great food from the market for lunch today. Had some Falafel in pitta it was delicious, but they give you so much! It was near impossible to eat without making a fool of myself.

Sylvs & Aims @sylvsaims - GREY

We arrived at our first day at Grey, rain soaked, excited and equally as nervous. Sat in the reception area we tried our best to point out the other two creative teams using the memories we had of their LinkedIn and website photos we had unashamedly creeped the day before. We watched as member after member of Grey came in, collecting their awaiting guests before we were greeted by Amy, introduced to the other teams and taken up to the 4th floor. After a mini tour, of which we only remembered the location of Thursdays free bar, we met the lovely creative team of Emily and Steve. After polite introductions we quickly started on our first brief- try to top last year's beard baubles Christmas card. A mean feat. The beard baubles had been spoken about by American new channels and none other than Philip Schofield on everyone's favourite morning tv programme. So what could we suggest for this year? The awful weather hammering against the windows outside helped us to forget it was the first day of summer and we got well and truly into the Christmas spirit. With turkeys and stockings, christmas trees and bells dancing around in our heads we conjured up ideas from the truly shite to the surreal. We finished the day with a handful of ideas we were happy with and looked forward to the next day when we would get to show and tell.

Matthew & Penny @hellomattdunn @pennylam65 - Karmarama

First day and they where gentle. Got to meet some fellow creative's and the big chief himself Dicky. No messing about though. Straight into working on some OOH for JustEat followed shortly by some tag lines. All in all a great first day! And they have a GIANT football bouncing around in the office!

Sarah & Jules @theafghanhound1 - GREY

We're Sarah + Jules and we met on the Watford course.
The first to text 'stripes' each morning gets to wear them.
Jules won today
On our first day at Grey we met a guide dog that guards a sweets cupboard, worked on a Christmas brief in June and got showered in Sharpies by the creatives.

May 24, 2016

Break through the noise, that’s what you’ll be paid for

It’s getting to that time of year where if you’re an advertising student, you’re probably thinking: “Shiiiit, I best get myself one of those placements.” By now you’ve Googled the words ‘Creative Advertising Placements’. Been on the IPA’s website (you know who they are, right?). And filled out a perfectly thought out application form for BBH’s Barn (hopefully you didn’t miss the deadline). If this is all you’ve done, or dare I say less, it’s time to pull that finger out of your arse, and start using it to scratch your forehead, whilst you think about how you’re going to make yourself stand out.

Be your own brand

Hey you. Creative type. You’re about to enter the world of communications and branding, so for starters, you need to brand yourself. You don’t have to make a campaign about yourself (or maybe you do), but in order to stand out from the rest of your mates and other ad schools, it’s time to stop thinking like everyone else.

What are you going to be known by? ‘Tom and Ben’ or ‘Vikki and Hollie’? How many people do you know called Tom or Ben? Will your name be remembered? Probably not. Unless of course, you’re so brilliant that you’ve already won 10 awards.

Why not do something a little different? Creative team Newby and Wells did, by using their domain name in a unique way: //

But if you’re going to call yourself something wacky, don’t do it if it doesn’t stand for anything. Giving yourself a parody agency name like ‘we are Falcon’, ‘Starchy and Starchy’ or ‘BB8’ may seem amusing, but will it get you remembered? Not if you don’t do anything to back it up.

What I haven’t seen yet, is a team who have changed their names to something unique and original by deed poll, so there’s one option. Or maybe you could get married and be known by your shared surname, there’s another option.

Your website is your digital canvas. Your front door to the world. Your “how you doin?”. Simply putting your brand logos in square boxes isn’t really enough any more. You’re up against some serious competition. As creatives, we’re told to think outside of the box, so why have you made it 150px by 150px?

Use your art directional knowledge and create your own style that you’re proud of. Your website represents you, make it great. That doesn’t mean that everything needs to be mocked up, when you get into a crit, they may hate your idea and tell you to start again. Don’t waste valuable hours polishing marmite turds, unless those turds are the product of Latvian space traveling, Eurovision winning alpacas. The internet sure loves alpacas.


Get noticed

So you’ve got a book, made a website and you’re looking for crits. But before you can get a crit, your first challenge is to get past the agency gatekeeper and receive a response from the person in charge of placements. You and every other ad student graduating this year... you may be waiting a while. Time to think about a way to skip that queue. What’s going to get you first in line? Maybe you’ll win an award, maybe you won’t. Then what?

Your portfolio shouldn’t just be about amazingly executed print ads, it should be full of big ideas that get people talking. Creating PR ideas will be part of your job role, so doing something that gets public intrigue before you’re even hired is certainly a good start. If you’re thinking about doing a stunt, don’t just do one for the sake of doing something different, and whatever you do, don’t post your favourite Creative Director a picture of your feet, accompanied with the message: “I’m trying to get my foot in the door.” That CD no longer likes you, and you didn’t even get the chance to say hello.

When I was a student, I was told about creative team Callum & Marc (now employed at BBH) who got their first placement through their Megabus Book. It was this idea that got me thinking about what I was going to do to get noticed. After a bit of thinking, I realised that the well known creative award the Cannes Lion, wasn’t actually a whole lion, it was only half a lion. So I created the back half as a new award for Cannes 2015, The Cannes Lion Arse Award. I sent it to Campaign magazine and tweeted about it like crazy, and ended up going with my creative partner to Cannes after receiving a number of placement offers. My university tutors didn’t understand the idea and were nervous about us putting it in our book, which goes to show, your tutors aren’t always right. Follow your instinct.

Antonia Jackson cannes lions

So you make ads, what else?

Agencies are looking for T shaped creatives, multi-faceted bi-lingual freaks of nature, or something like that. So take photos of your leftovers , illustrate awkward boner moments, blog about Phil Jones’ face, code, make short films, play the trombone, write slam poetry or paint using only the force of gravity.

If you have a skill, try incorporating this into a proactive idea. Make that art series featuring Kim Kardashian. Design that new product that cures man flu. Think about the take out. Do you want it to go viral? Do you want a journalist to write about it? Or do you just want it to be respected in the ad world? Whatever it is, make sure you’re getting it in front of the right people.

Think about what’ll interest the person who’s going to give you your first placement. They want to see that you’re hardworking, proactive, and good at problem solving. So maybe start there. Find a problem and solve it well. Really well. Look for insights, find a solution, and get it talked about. If you can get a stranger to share your content, then you’re on the right track. Social media should be your best friend. It’s your platform to communicate with the industry, use your Twitter profile like a CV. Cover it with your interests, post your work, follow Creative Directors and recruiters, partake in @oneminutebriefs, and hashtag strategically so the right people find it.

One minute briefs

And for god’s sake, Tweet at your favourite CD’s and be brave, ask them for a crit. The worst that can happen is they won’t reply. If they don’t, message them again with something different until they do.

Everyone’s making noise. Make yours ultrasonic.

March 29, 2016 - Comments Off on The Box-Ticking Book

Last week, I had a couple of crits with people that go to the same university. In their folios were briefs for the same brands and local clients they’d been told to work on.

They were for businesses you’ve never heard of, with CTAs longer, and more dull, than you would ever hope to have to write.

So why was I looking at them? Because these ideas were marks towards their degree.

Marks that would never worry any industry creative during any crit or interview.


Because they’re looking for good ideas.

Not what number out of ten an assessor gave it.

The first thing most creatives will probably ask is why have you chosen an obscure product for your book.

And your answer probably consists of the words “tutor”, “university” and “we had to”.

But it shouldn’t.

It’s not about getting the degree. It’s about getting the job.

It’s about you. Your book of ideas. Your style.

In the ultra competitive market that is advertising, where there’s roughly only one junior team job available at most decent agencies each year, your chances are already slim.

Don’t make it harder for yourself.

Before you even think about competing against the entire nation’s ad grads, compete against your course.

You might be a different team, with a different style, but if you do the same briefs, there’s only ever one winner.

So give yourself an unfair advantage.

Do the box-ticking book.

But do more.

Just don’t show me an idea for a university project, D&AD or YCN brief.

Unless that is... it's won something.

Published by: YCC in Opinion
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March 16, 2016

The First SheSays Event of 2016

But never fear, we hopped along to Shoreditch house to catch the talk last night and we laughed, almost cried and were bloody impressed by what we saw.

It's been a while since I wrote anything for YCC and I'm going to include a little tangent on this post about the surge in coverage and awesome think pieces about women in advertising. But first, a run through of the inspiring stuff from last night.


First up to speak was Jana Labaki who talked us through how D&AD came up with their White Pencil to reward campaigns that used their power for good, that stood up for the little guy. She also touched on the interesting topic of corporate responsibility and how we are starting to see a shift in how big business go about their marketing. She used a couple of cases to illustrate this point but the one below by Droga5 for Gram Crackers is my fave.

Next up was Thea Hamren from Mr President. Who are, for the record an awesome agency and one that I feel the London ad scene really needs.
Thea talked about her incredible personal project called Refugee Phones which, if you have a smartphone lying around at home... DONATE IT. The whole project stems from one simple question; if your house was burning down what would you take? Often the answer is your smartphone, it's what you use to stay in touch, which is something that is incredibly important to these refugees. Letting a loved one know you're safe is priceless. Aside from Refugee Phones, Thea also talked about how 2016 is the year for projects with purpose. The tipping point if you will, the point where we all realise that as an industry we have some of the most creative brains in the world, and what the fuck do we do with them? Banners and social posts. We have influence, we have the power of creativity and we should seek to make things with purpose.

Then, Scarlett and Charlie took the stage to talk about Crack and Cider. Now, if you don't know about Crack and Cider I have a question for you... Where have you been!? It's a project that has the purpose that Thea mentioned in her talk, plus the drive and love that Scarlett and Charlie possess as creatives. And, Y'know Scarlett is YCC so it's something we obviously unbiasedly support.

Last but by no means least came Andy Leek. Now, I know what you're thinking: A MAN!? AT SHESAYS? OUTRAGEOUS. But hey, it's 2016. Andy may have been the wildcard at the talk but he bowled us over. His talk was funny (check out the MacBook selfie stick and the Edward Snowden bust), endearing and almost made us cry. Andy is an artist who like many of us has worked super hard only to be raked over by big bad Adland. He isn't shy about talking about it, which I personally applaud. I applaud it because he turned his anger into something good, a simple personal project with a brilliant human element that made people feel good. Check out Notes to Strangers. I think I speak for all us YCC lot when I say we were chuffed with our notes.

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I accosted Andy after the talk because I wanted to hear more about his thoughts on the positive changes we can make to the creative industry and how personal projects are the start of that. YCC started out as personal project so for us it's something we feel very strongly about. Something we did talk about was that he changed his talk at the last minute, he was going to take us through his influences on the final slide and point out that they are all men. He was going to use this to 'call us out' if you will. In his words "so that next time I got up to talk all my influences would be female hopefully". He explained to me that he changed it because he felt fraudulent standing up on a stage and saying that after the amazing talks that had taken place, which I agreed was fair. BUT, he has a point. We need more of that, so much more of it. More Crack & Cider, more Refugee Phones, more big brands going up against the trolls, more female creatives being the change, shouting the change from the rooftops if need be. The advertising industry is failing us on every level from pay gap to thigh gap. We need to advance, to evolve, and I'm excited to say that it's down to us to change it. We are a community that harbours a wealth of creativity and knowledge. So I am going to pass on Andy's calling out of this and I'm asking you:

What are you going to do to inspire positive change with an issue/project that matters to you?

Lastly, huge thank you to SheSays for having us along.

Published by: YCC in Opinion
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February 17, 2016 - Comments Off on Want to work in a digital agency? Don’t rely solely on your degree

Degrees were once seen as a must-have for new employees, but they are no longer mandatory. That’s especially true in the creative sector, where passion and willingness often take precedence over academic bravado.

As a young entrepreneur myself, I’m committed to bringing young talent into my business. That talent may present itself in different ways, whether it’s a teenager preparing to take their first steps into digital or a graduate with a desire to create.

I always believe in giving young people an opportunity. In 2015 we recruited six graduates, two apprentices, a sandwich placement and a work experience student. Read more