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
  • Living the brand. Our AD Vince Lawson's son is looking smart in his #Churchill baby grow. Oh yes! http://t.co/0HKTLFA9vH

    29 August, 15:43:04
  • The good kind of paper cuts. Incredible new work from paper masteress Elsa Mora http://t.co/2QxglmFbto http://t.co/VQBSl0VJ5k

    29 August, 10:52:52
  • 'Sharing Faces' by Kyle McDonald. Matches people's photo poses to bring them closer together http://t.co/tiy5pBdzp3 via @DinoBurbidge

    29 August, 10:05:16
  • Today, ladies & gentlemen, our sartorialist President @RobinWightUK is channeling, what we like to call, Urban Cowboy http://t.co/3p9EjxKpEy

    29 August, 09:12:45
  • Ok, one more, our @sky Pixar #ToyStory spot is also @Campaignmag's 'Ad of the Day'. Whoop! http://t.co/5MS7TRjsbu http://t.co/1kqb8sGgYg

    28 August, 14:52:47
  • And now a smashing 5* review from @JasonAtDavid for our @SkyHD Broadband #ToyStory spot http://t.co/HPeeh6jO7z! Appease the WeFe...

    28 August, 14:35:53
  • Hurrah for being @TheDrum's 'Ad of the Day' for our @SkyHD Broadband #ToyStory spot http://t.co/LzZ74cGKnT! http://t.co/WLqijNNGrk

    28 August, 14:25:24
  • Superstar pets are worth big business @RobinWightUK expains how advertising is capitalising on it via @Channel4 doc. http://t.co/YeeSkJULwC

    28 August, 12:14:32
  • The plant fight. Nature showing us who's boss http://t.co/H7GRyHuDGF via @wherecoolthings http://t.co/pIXPH8QYlg

    28 August, 11:11:42
  • RT @Oystertweet: #OYSTEROFTHEDAY: @Skyhd and Toy Story continue to chat broadband services together. Fun & engaging story by @WCRS_LDN http…

    28 August, 10:17:18
  • The usual strong biscuit arrangement @notonthehighst http://t.co/2hmx8A7Xud

    28 August, 10:07:09
  • RT @TheDrum: Does the gender of a CEO change the way the company works? The CEOs of @WCRS_LDN and @CriticalMass discuss: http://t.co/Nh7KXG

    28 August, 09:34:55
  • RT @ischafer: Nice work, @WCRS_LDN! Cast of Toy Story return for Sky Broadband campaign http://t.co/5Qt74TpO5e

    27 August, 21:47:12
  • RT @AdmediaLtd: Congratulations to @Betfair who placed Highly-Commended in #AdmediaCOTQ. Goodies are on their way @Posterscope @ArenaMediaU…

    27 August, 14:35:01
  • Kinda dizzy & sea-sick inducing, but also kinda cool. New GIFs by Dave Whyte mixing art & maths http://t.co/qcQs6ic1Ol

    27 August, 11:17:12