Mad(men)ness

Mad(men)ness


For reasons that will become obvious, Charlotte’s Summer school diary is in two parts. Her first week was a crash course in branding, the creative process, and what actually goes into making an ad. They took a break at the end of the week and decided to ‘rebrand’ our Summer School. To quote Zena, they had so much fuuuun.

My first week

The phrase ‘thrown in the deep end’ seems to spring to mind for my first week at d.fferent’s Summer School. I was in the Account Handling team, and spent my first week on task with a great gang of three other Summer Schoolers working on a very exciting mock pitch project.

To extend the swimming metaphor further, the fantastic team at d.fferent supported us like a comfortable pair of arm bands, giving us advice, support and guidance throughout our project.

First, the brief: senior client director/planner Rachael sat the four of us down in the  board room and gave us a run-down of what we would be expected of us. We were given four days to prepare to create an advertising campaign for an local beer company whose sales were falling due to a local upset over the brewery’s new management. Sounding a little familiar? *cough* NewcastleBrownAle *cough* *cough*.

One teensy challenge… Neither the company (‘R&R’) nor its beer actually existed. This meant we had free reign over the creative. Head of digital and design, Andy, let his mind-bogglingly clever mind be mind-bogglingly clever. He mocked up a logo design, bottle label and various bits of merchandise from scratch.

So what did we actually do?

I’ll explain in terms I used to mum who thinks Summer School is the perfect excuse for me to live out my Madmen obsession. We were a dream team: Zena was a much lovelier Pete Campbell in research and planning, Bethen was Peggy Olson as copywriter/creative, Andy a perfect Stan in digital and design, and I revelled in my role as Joan Holloway/Harris (think season 6/7) as Client Partner writing the all-important creative brief.

We all worked together to create two campaigns for our fictional beer company including TV ads, print designs as well as a social media campaign. Yet, at d.fferent, there truly is the belief that a good idea can come from anyone, anywhere – we all found this sentiment unbelievably true. Each of us contributed to different areas of research, had a go at penning various captions and ideas on design features, including some unintelligible hand gestures that Andy made into a poster.

The presentation

I think one of the most valuable experiences of the presentation was the feedback process, with our mentors acting as the client, we had the opportunity to really experience how a professional pitch or presentation would take place.

I’m one of those odd people who enjoys presenting to a crowd, but for those who might get a bit of sick in their mouths at the thought of ‘public speaking’, fear not. Although professional, it was a relaxed affair. I can’t emphasise enough how supportive our mentors were. And they gave us beer for afters – for reals.

All went well, and we went home for the weekend feeling a little happy with ourselves, and a little sad having to say goodbye to half our little Summer School dream team after they had finished their placements for that week. (BTW: it was so wonderful working with you guys, thanks for the laughs, cake and interesting facts about Wales. It was so lovely meeting you all and I wish you all the best in whatever you end up doing with your superstar selves!)

So that was my first week. I was all pepped up for another week at d.fferent HQ! Bring it…

Image l-r Charlotte, Bethan and Zena (Andy is behind the camera)


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