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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
  • Enjoy the long weekend folks. No doubt you bunnies need some well deserved rest. Just go easy on the chocolate! http://t.co/QcLfB7Hhfg

    17 April, 16:41:44
  • @creativechoices @thedrum @Creativepool @nabs We're on the hunt for young creative teams. Pls help spread the word! http://t.co/2W9SScSo8O

    17 April, 16:15:30
  • Our very own Easter bunny delivering choccies to the office :) http://t.co/6lKgwWzwoE

    17 April, 15:54:19
  • With a revamped creative placement scheme, we're on the hunt for young teams to make the most of it! http://t.co/ftHQYwyO1S @YCC @AdJobWall

    17 April, 15:52:31
  • Here's some stuff to get out and see this Easter weekend and not all of it involves chocolate! http://t.co/u4e2vVuRHB

    17 April, 15:46:58
  • YUM. Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs by @stephcookie http://t.co/w9eITzblEy http://t.co/3eOb0RCd4y

    17 April, 15:06:06
  • This is one talented 16-yr-old! Shania Mc Donagh wins art comp with hyper-real pencil drawing http://t.co/uiInlzwlqZ http://t.co/XfJRQwQETq

    17 April, 11:04:04
  • Flying machines. Artist Juan Fontanive constructs perpetually looping flip books of birds & butterflies http://t.co/h7azDBPioM via @Colossal

    17 April, 09:57:30
  • RT @OlenkaSusannah: Find Momo. Part 2. http://t.co/oVyTIuLu7U http://t.co/9xesDt4bbJ

    17 April, 09:51:08
  • Great news to kick start the bank holiday weekend - our @BMWi Become Electric app is a finalist in the @OneShow http://t.co/UYM6u8cW3L

    17 April, 09:17:15
  • A lovely Easter treat from @NABS_UK with #FindingAdland. Play along for your chance to win egg-citing prizes! http://t.co/uIgveJ02fJ

    17 April, 08:31:16
  • @jezzalee You're most welcome. And good to see from @LouiseRidley apron pic that you've been good at sharing!

    16 April, 14:46:20
  • RT @LouiseRidley: B&Q apron biscuit. Just what we need on press day! Thanks @wcrs_ldn http://t.co/Fef6NDExrU

    16 April, 14:44:36
  • Nearly time. The #Matisse cut outs exhibition opens at @Tate Modern tomorrow!

    16 April, 13:59:46
  • Rufus Olins, son of Wally Olins, pays tribute to his 'fearlessly intellectual' father on @marketingmaga http://t.co/4xvEbrm9IE

    16 April, 11:46:39