Back in August last year I applied for a place at VCCP’s Ad School in attempt to pad out my CV and have a break from working delivery shifts at work to pass the extensive summer break. It turned out that my application had been shortlisted and I then had to make a 1 minute interview about why I should be accepted onto the placement – which basically entailed me and my friend, Emily, getting the bus to MediaCity on possibly the windiest day to try and shoot something that was “a bit different.”
We took various different clips outside the main attractions (pretty much, Coronation Street) from jaunty angles e.g. trying to casually walk past a billboard without getting a flow of traffic interrupting the whole thing. In spite of this, I was accepted (hurrah) and thus spent the rest of the week in a blind panic trying to persuade my manager to let me have the week off, arrange travel down to London and some sort of accommodation that wouldn’t break the bank. Coach and hostel booked, with the time off approved, I set off on my little trip with a Tesco meal deal in hand and a few glossy and mindnumbing magazines which were allowed given the five hour journey. Factor in a brief stop at the services where I saw a very tanned (and orange) Gareth Gates in McDonalds – remember him – and a bit of a hiccup trying to find the hostel with Citymapper and 5% battery with Mum ringing every 5 minutes to make sure I’d arrived, I made it. To the dismay of myself and the suitcase full of Pasta n Sauce sachets, there were no kitchen facilities at the hostel but they did do food downstairs at the bar. And when I say food I mean burgers. So my first night was spent sat in the bar, alone, eating a burger in my velour tracksuit with wet hair because I’d had a shower before I plucked up the courage (and appetite) to go downstairs and eat. No judgement please.
The rest of the week picked up however: I found the offices in good time – with 80% battery, Citymapper and a bit of common sense this time. A quick coffee in Cafe Nero and a phone call to Mum and off I went into VCCP HQ. I was one of the first to arrive and got chatting to another Ad School-er who was equally as nervous as me. The whole group arrived soon after and we were taken into one of the meeting rooms where we got the small talk out of the way before they let us know how the week would pan out and were given a goodie bag with biscuits. Winner. Each department, digital, creative, planning and account management gave us a talk at some point throughout the week and then there would be time for group work and meetings with our mentors around these meetings.
Our brief was to rebrand The O2 and showcase that The O2 isn’t just a venue for music. We were given a budget, split into groups and sent on our merry way. Our idea was ‘Do more at The O2’ which we incorporated into our print and digital ads, deciding against TV and radio as our budget wouldn’t cover it. With the amount of unused space at The O2, we decided to incorporate with our idea of ‘Do More’ and thought of having monthly pop-up events, whether it be fashion, gardening, or art related. I was predominantly involved with the print ads. With the help of our planners, we came up with the idea of using popular artists that have played at The O2 doing something ordinary, like sitting in the huge IMAX at The O2, climbing ‘Up at The O2’, eating a burger at GBK etc, with the tag line ‘Food at The O2’ etc. So for example some of the print ads we scamped was an image of Kanye West sat on a throne of burgers, with the slogan, ‘Welcome to the Good Life’, Jay-Z holding an ice cream with ’99 Problems’ as the line and the Arctic Monkeys checking out a girl in a bar, ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ – you catch my drift. We then had to gather all our ideas and thought processes, collate them into a powerpoint which would be presented on the Friday to a board of executives. No biggie. FYI we left the office at 11.30 pm on the Thursday evening…
Although our pitch wasn’t announced as the winner, our print ads did receive a few laughs. That and the fact that I was the token Northern Ad School-er with everyone else living in or in close proximity to London, it’s safe to say I had a whale of a time and it was only a taster of the career I’d like to be a part of in the future.
If you’re considering what career to go into, or just feel a bit creative, I’d definitely recommend applying for the Ad School.