WCRS
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Memory Lane

It’s Watford Week. And I’m feeling slightly fuzzy round the edges. That’s what drinking with advertising students will do for you. It’s a heady mix of premium French lager and fond, dewy-eyed memories. Not only did I probably imbibe a few too many Katonas, I also almost definitely and quite cringingly recalled the halcyon days of touting our book around London.

It is without doubt the most exciting, confusing, character-building, horrifically hard and stressful time of your life. And despite the rate at which the world is changing (we now broadcast our Watford crit live on uStream and Liveshare), it’s not changed much. Let’s paint the picture a little for you from first hand experience. You finished work in a bar at 1.30am, you stayed up playing Grand Theft Auto Vice City till 2.30am. You get up at the crack of 10am, slog your way across town to meet your partner, try and get away with just buying a bottle of water in Starbucks and stay there all day working on a brief set by a creative director with a thing for terrorising students with an impossible task.

Later, at a self-proclaimed top advertising agency, you sit nervously awaiting the drubbing. The creative director enters. He’s had a bad day. The client didn’t buy the route he liked. They changed the edit. He’s got an itchy rash. His wife is livid he’s at the office late, again. Time to take it out on students who have the gall to walk in here with gusto and enthusiasm.

A team arrives less than one minute after he does. He boots them out. “Here’s your first lesson in advertising, ladies” he cries. In the 1990s it was de rigour for all creative directors to reference to male teams as female. Then, it’s demolition time. He tears through the work. Nothing meets his benchmark. None of it could run. None of it would pass muster. Having torn it all off the wall, he pulls out flip chart and draws a diagram (yes, a diagram) of how to come up with advertising ideas.

Cut to later (in the pub) and sixteen 20-somethings are crying into their Lowenbrau’s, metaphorically. In actual fact, we were all getting hammered and laughing a lot (laughter was and often still is the soundtrack to being an advertising creative). We laughed at the ludicrously aggressive but somehow strangely inspiring crit we’d just endured. Despite the antics, the arrogance, the mock-anger, it was a thrilling ride that I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. One thing I did change, however, was how we came to approach group crits ourselves. Opting for enthusiasm and energy over aggression and alpha-male posturing. If a student team have made it thus far, it’s unlikely their work is devoid of merit, and in my experience, everyone’s got a workable idea. Beating it out of them may work for some creative directors. But we prefer to tease it out.

WCRS Tweets
  • Our talented @nikkisonfire helped create this super campaign for @LGFB http://t.co/aYr2zuH5US #warpaint4life http://t.co/LxrbJuZnnx

    29 July, 12:32:43
  • Photographer @hedislimanetwit shows us around Elvis' Memphis home Graceland http://t.co/i5eswG75WM via @itsnicethat http://t.co/rXitySYgvA

    29 July, 10:07:56
  • RT @OlenkaSusannah: Miniature skeletons take to the streets of Chiapas in Mexico. Cement Eclipses by Isaac Cordal http://t.co/P4wCNFCAtn ht…

    29 July, 09:53:35
  • Marilyn Myller: Ace new stop-motion animation made with styrofoam puppets by @MisterPlease http://t.co/yfB1LNFOaA via @Colossal @Vimeo

    29 July, 08:35:48
  • RT @OlenkaSusannah: This guy wants your junk. Send Dan Tobin Smith your kipple for his London Design Festival show http://t.co/56ubYlASVw h…

    28 July, 16:28:18
  • @itsnicethat Hands are up. Both of them.

    28 July, 16:18:24
  • Creative collaboration b/w insect & artist. Hubert Duprat X caddisfly larvae make gold cocoons http://t.co/s2gRxoyi4Z http://t.co/rZ6WihrDGx

    28 July, 10:17:29
  • Big thanks to @LGALondon for the new exhibition gracing WCRS' walls feat. Peter Beavis, Clement Jolin & Théo Gosselin http://t.co/V1RBq1UrVs

    28 July, 10:09:14
  • Lacking fans for your team? Then why not bring in the robots like this Korean baseball team http://t.co/xZ19HyZheS http://t.co/U4uq1IKZqh

    28 July, 09:34:04
  • Greeting you this morning with an incredible image of Mt. Fuji at sunrise by Kris J B http://t.co/0HZZtU3LHB http://t.co/nvlhbObUGK

    28 July, 07:42:13
  • RT @OlenkaSusannah: Illuminated light swings by Canadian design collective @DailyTLJ. http://t.co/vCrRLrBnt9 via @Colossal http://t.co/udF0

    25 July, 10:56:21
  • We're thrilled to welcome @DinoBurbidge as our Director of Technology & Innovation. Read more on @Campaignmag http://t.co/LWBKgmfKYA

    25 July, 10:46:55
  • Keeping to the signwriting theme here's a vid on the dying art of neon sign making in Hong Kong http://t.co/fHQhlzWytd via @AliciaGaworska

    25 July, 10:30:35
  • Secrets of a Signwriter. Moving portrait about Alan Cavley, one of last original signwriters in Wales http://t.co/cJWrMTup1I via @benbrazier

    25 July, 09:56:44
  • RT @OlenkaSusannah: Mmm chocolaty art. Chocolate Mill by Studio Wieki Somers & chocolatier Rafael Mutter http://t.co/wifppHoLyT @Vimeo http…

    24 July, 15:52:25