Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Level 3 Creative Advertising student, Alice Keegan writes:
After the art directors had a brilliant workshop from Alex Taylor, it was time for the copywriters from each team to learn some more tricks of the trade. Freelance copywriter Roger Horberry (author of the book Brilliant Copywriting) visited the third years for the first time, to run two one-day workshops that focused on the important area of 'tone of voice'.

Roger used different exercises to help us all understand how to keep the audience interested in our written communications. He started by defining 'tone of voice' as content + expression + audience, saying we should always keep this in mind when writing.

The innovative and fun exercises that Roger used in the workshop included writing about brands in the 'voices' of randomly selected famous personalities, for example, writing about a famous brand of wine as if Peaches Geldof was talking about it; and six word stories, for example Ernest Hemingway's “For sale. Baby’s shoes. Never worn.”

A great tip Roger gave us was that even though we are continually being told to simplify and cut down copy to get more to the point, we should be careful that we don’t cut out the little words that give copy its tone of voice. He describes it as “everything you don’t have to say (but probably should)”. To emphasise this point we cut down famous speeches such as Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ to a few bullet points, making the speech a lot more to the point, but creating a lot less impact!

The last thought Roger left us with was “don’t be boring!” After all, if the writing doesn’t keep the reader interested, then there’s no point in it being there.

A great workshop for the level three copywriters that will certainly improve our ads.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Rory Sutherland, the Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, current President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and past TED speaker, gave an incredibly inspiring lecture to all Creative Advertising students on Wednesday last week.

His main theme was Behavioural Economics and how understanding a person's behaviour can be the most potent force to create lasting change and break down perceptual barriers in communication. Rory was keen to champion the ideas from John Kay’s forthcoming book ‘Obliquity’ (March 2010), which explores ways of solving problems by looking at 'WHY people do the things they do' rather than 'TELLING people what they SHOULD do'.

The talk was full of anecdotes and examples drawn from his twenty years in advertising and a lifetime observing how people go about their business, including:

- the real differences between caravans vs. yachts
- how to market coach travel and frozen food
- the way choice is framed affects decision making
- the curious relationship between scarcity and value
- the power of seduction vs. force
- how 'brand' is a psychological extended warranty
- how intangible value can be more important than real value
- why banks have marble pillars

Rory really is a truly inspiring speaker and he gave us all much food for thought showing us that the best result does not always come from the most obvious route.

Thank you so much for coming to visit us, Rory - we look forward to seeing you in Lincoln again very soon.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Even though advertising creative teams are traditionally made up of a copywriter and an art director, it is crucial that the individuals in the team are obsessed about their own particular 'craft' ie. the copywriter needs to be a talented and dedicated writer, and the art director a designer/visual communicator.

So last week the Art Directors had to leave their dearest copywriting partners and focus 100% on the craft of art direction in a one day masterclass run by multiple award-winning art director Alex Taylor. As you will have read in an earlier post, Alex's long and distinguished career makes her the perfect person to coach our students on how to get good ads to look great and surpass visual expectations.

Here's what level 3 student Adrian Matthews thought about the day:

"We started the day looking at some important figures in the industry and their personal interpretations of 'art direction' as well as where great art direction inspiration comes from. Alex said that it was important that we were to be ourselves and let our own personality come out in our work, after all “art direction that has been done before won't get noticed”.

"Alex spent some time looking at our best ads, getting us to focus on the art direction aspects of the communication. She also gave us a talk on what she has learned as a art director through her incredible career. It was fantastic for us as new art directors to hear what she has learned and benefit from her considerable experience.

"Before Alex arrived in Lincoln she set us the task of re-art directing a campaign of three ads and during the group critique of this work Alex continually pushed us to look for something fresh and different in our art direction. Alex provided us with some great insights into the process of crafting a great idea into a fantastic-looking final ad."

The workshop was a day full of inspiration, instruction and constructive criticism. And at the end of it all, Alex gave her own, unique 'Tomato' awards for the best art direction of the day. On Day One: 1st Josh Dando; 2nd Vicki Daley; and 3rd Ade Matthews. And on Day Two: 1st Nat Lennartsson; 2nd Nadine Palmer; and 3rd Jan Pruijser.

A truly inspiring practical masterclass on how to become a great art director given by one of the greatest art directors around.

Next week, it's the copywriters' turn to get obsessed about their discipline...

Over the past two weeks a war has raged in the Creative Advertising studio.

And that war has been on two levels.
Firstly, between the two 1st year groups (A and B).
And secondly, between the lecturers intent on leading them to victory!

The project was a re-run of the project that Winter School students had tackled and the Creative Advertising students were very keen to prove that they could produce things which were even better that those originally produced by other students in the Faculty.

Over the course of a week, each group split into pairs and set about working on a series of fascinating, engaging and appealing designs, all of which were aimed at getting a group of eager Third Years excited enough by them to be declared the winners!

The finished designs were a sight to behold: simplicity married with problem solving; metaphors raging alongside exaggeration.

Here are just a few of the pieces of work:-

Darena Stoda and Matt Parsons produced a stop motion animation which literally grew out from the ground telling their own unique story of inspiration. This solution was awarded the Runner-Up position.

A game of inspiration chess

A forest adventure: walking through the hanging vines was a journey of exploration with little clues to the team's inspirational past cleverly hidden within.

There were many favourites amongst the judges who were very impressed with what had been accomplished in the rather short timescale. But because they are talented and smart 3rd years, they looked beyond the craft to find solutions that were both engaging, interactive and just plain clear communication!

The solution that won impressed the judges because it was easy to digest and the more you engaged with it the clearer the message became. It was beautifully simple yet also invited discovery.

Kelly Bugg and Katrina Gilbert impressed the judges with their clever thinking and understanding of human curiosity. The desire to remove each block began a journey towards a clear and memorable message.

This JENGA game rode on the back of universal values we already associate with the game to breakdown perceptual barriers with ease. The work was produced by Kelly Bugg and Katrina Gilbert. The simplicity of this idea was in the fact that it used the JENGA ideals to communicate the message. First of all the blocks were two colours, to represent each individual.

Every block then also had an image or word on it which told the story of their particular inspirations. Some were sticking out, partially revealing the image and, in the rules of Jenga, invited the judges to pull them out further so they could see the whole thing.

But the beauty of this was that the more pieces of inspiration that they took away, the tower became increasingly unstable reinforcing the idea that we are all made up of a variety of influences and experiences which lay the foundation of individuality, and without all of those things we may not be the person we are now.

The judges reached a majority decision and whilst commending the other designs were happy to announce that Kelly and Katrina were the overall winners!

Congratulations Kelly and Katrina!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Level 1 on the Creative Advertising sees a lot of curious things: thinking in new and different ways; learning new approaches to creativity; identifying opportunities; and thinking outside the box. Here's a project where 'thinking outside the box' has been taken to a whole new level. Over to CA lecturer Justin Tagg:-

"Being creative doesn't have to stop when the brief does. In fact, the brief is merely a starting point. But how do you really get to know the product or character you are working with?

"To understand a man, you've got to walk a mile in his shoes"
Ancient Proverb

"Sometimes you have to 'live' the product to fully understand it so when asked to produce a narrative structure for a new hero which highlighted that hero's strengths, level one Creative Advertising students Matt Parsons and Jacob Frisby went beyond the brief to get as far inside the mindset of their new character 'Boxman' as possible and in turn created a whole new phrase:

"To understand a man, you've got to walk a mile in his cardboard shoes" Matt Parsons and Jacob Frisby

"They went 'that extra mile' and created Boxman himself! This gave them a significantly clearer vision for their storyboards and other character considerations. By living the product they gave birth to a fully realised character and one of the best fancy dress costumes of all time!

"Boxman has since been seen parading around Lincoln University saving lives, searching for his true identity and putting right what once went wrong, in the hope that his next leap may be the leap home.
Check out these classic Boxman poses here..."
Boxman is a hero but underneath he is just a man,
a man destined to walk the earth alone...

Boxman enforcing things that require enforcement... with force.

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