By Tomo Taka
Remembering Term 2
Term 2 is in the books. That went by in a flash. It feels like only yesterday we walked into the studio one cold January morning with poor excuses of a portfolio. Let me take you on a journey of how term 2 went by.
We went back in on a Tuesday morning – all armed with brand spanking new portfolios. If I recall correctly we were each meant to have three new campaigns inside. And with our partners we put our campaigns together to form a new book. Then Marc told us that the work wasn’t great but it was still early days so we shouldn’t panic.
By this point we had all started working on PB3 and a brief for TBWA. The new three-week portfolio cycle was in full force and Marc had given us a new toy in the form of Slack. Old Pete Cain was away at the time so we were sending him propositions and strategies via our #pbchannels. This actually helped us clearly define what we wanted to communicate in our work.
We submitted PB3. And the work for TBWA was ready. It was the first time a lot of us felt like we’d done decent work. On the flipside, the standard of case study videos for PB3 showed that we still had a long way to go if we wanted a shot at D&AD.
Disaster struck. We were meant to have been working on PB4. Few of us actually had – getting blindsided by PB3 and TBWA instead. Prioritising some work doesn’t mean neglecting other work. Sensing the state of affairs, Marc offered a PB amnesty. If you didn’t think your work was a 7 out of 10, you could sack it off. But your work for PB5 and PB6 had to be better.
A new sign-off system with points was in place. It seemed to be working. And work was actually going to be handed in on time. Case study videos were still lacking though.
Last week before half term. PB6 was handed in. The work was a marked improvement on anything we’d done previously. Maybe prematurely, but Marc said we were ready for D&AD. We said bye to Clare and Pete.
Week 7 / Half term
Our focus turned to D&AD. We carried out initial research and came up with early ideas during the week.
A rigorous sign-off system was put in place – a logistical nightmare that’s since been banished. Ideas were being formulated, tested, developed and changed. The baby-killing moment would come the following week.
This was the week some ideas met their maker. ‘RIP,’ we said. But no funeral was held. Marc gave us a bollocking for not scamping enough. Not pushing enough. Rightly so. But we also said the sign-off system was a hindrance. So that silently died.
Deadline week. Our studio was a painting of empty Red Bull cans and bloodshot eyes. Everyone delivered the best work they’d done in the year. And it was done on time. D&AD’s website crashed though. We were ready. They weren’t.
Attention turned to Cannes Future Lions and portfolios. We got the briefs for PB7 too. There was a natural dip in energy in the studio compared to the frenzy of D&AD deadline week. But we were still making progress.
We had a party with sponsor agencies, where they could get to see a bit of our work and our passions. Some teams got placements. Some teams got pissed. PB7 was handed in. It wasn’t quite D&AD level but it was a long way away from the lows of PB3 and PB4. Quite how we got here, I’m still working out.