By Tom Manning
Last summer, before finishing the course, Bark released their Tardis videos. They listed things they wished they had known before they started and we, The Future, watched intently.
Because I’m a keen and motivated individual, I emailed Marc two months before the course began.
Several students mentioned that they wished they had gotten better at ‘coming up with’ SMP’s. How would you recommend practicing them?”
He replied, “We suggest that students should come up with SMPs a few times a week and put them aside in a notebook. Very few students bother.”
Wankers, I thought. Who has 13 grand to buy the building blocks of their future and then not bother putting them together.
Then he said, “We are going to be spending a lot of time learning about SMPs in Term 1 and Term 2, so don’t get too concerned by it all right now. ”
So obviously, I didn’t give it another thought for the rest of the summer.
We all started in September as wide-eyed idiots, and after the first few weeks, true to Marc’s word, we learnt about SMP’s.
At the end of the masterclass he said something like, “We suggest that students should come up with SMPs a few times a week and put them aside in a notebook. Very few students bother.”
In fact I think he bet that only 3 students would write an SMP every day for the rest of the year. I was one of those three. Except it was a Thursday, and I like to start year-long habits on a Monday (it’s just good sense).
On Monday I noticed a few people had bought exercise books and written ‘SMP’s’ on the front. I hadn’t, but thought it was a good idea. I’ll buy a special notebook for them and then start. I never bought that notebook.
Each Sunday evening for the next few weeks I thought, ‘tomorrow I’m going to start writing them’. Then the morning would come and I ‘couldn’t quite face it’. And so on and so on for the rest of term.
The Christmas holidays arrived and so to did a meaty workload, creating six campaigns for our portfolio. We only had to spend an hour on each one though.
Each day I came to work, I spent about an hour deciding which brand to work on, then another two or three hours deciding an SMP and a few more hours making the ads.
We got back today, and our portfolios were judged in little groups. My group had Stephen and Joel in it, two of those notebook-toting nerds who’ve never missed an SMP in their lives. Predictably, they blew my work out of the water, with campaigns built on strategy so solid you couldn’t smash it with a sledgehammer. It sort of hurt, but I couldn’t begrudge those nerds, I was the lazy one.
When I asked Joel afterwards about his projects, he said he had a stash of SMP’s he’d worked on throughout the term, picked the best six, sat down and bashed out the campaigns. Simple.
So today I wrote an SMP – It wasn’t in a specific notebook, but that’s okay. I’ve got nothing but respect for those few with the unbroken records, I’m gutted I can’t be one of you. However, I figured Tuesday is as good a day as any to start a year-long habit.