Monster Learning Curve @Jem_Bauer

By Jem Bauermeister 

On Friday John made our first real ad alongside Frank PR. The day started out with us all bleary-eyed at 7:45 am, huddled in the pit watching Moz The Monster. We were readying ourselves to re-create the John Lewis ad in just 7 hours using 1/10,000th of the budget for MyVoucherCodes. The minute the ad had been played, the madness began.

Here are some things that I learned from the process:


  • Insights and ideas can come in jumbled up orders. Our team came up with sock puppets as a way of portraying all the characters and then sweets to represent the toys in the bedroom. As we were talking about it, it clicked. That’s what a budget Christmas looks like. Socks and sweets. That insight fed and strengthened our idea. We’ve got a masterclass on insights on Monday so I might end up learning that what I’m saying is wrong, but I realized on Friday that insights can help at any stage of the process, not just strategy/pre-creative.
  • Prepare the materials. We went out to buy a lot of stuff for the set which we wouldn’t have known we had needed until we’d seen the ad. But there were a few things we could have got ready before the day like cardboard boxes because they’re always needed and crafty bits.
  • Trust each other. When there are so many people involved a lot of processes get managed by completely different teams and we all need to trust that when you call out “someone bring the hairdresser set in” that the hairdresser set is going to come in and look fantastic.
  • We all need a “yellow hat” in our lives. Suzie was videoing the sock puppet scenes and every shot was complemented by constant comments “oh guys this looks perfect”, “this shot just looks soooo good”. And it really helped the morale while Joe and Phil did yoga on the floor trying to twist their arms into the right positions.
  • Use the template (shoutout to Ian).
  • Check everything. There were a few technical hiccups towards the end that I won’t go into because we talked about it a lot at the time. But there were a few things that slipped past quite a few people’s eyes (and ears). Yes, we should trust each other, but we should also take a short moment to quickly check what we’ve been given. Even when we are on a super tight schedule.
  • Know your tools. We could have spent a bit of time the day before deciding who was going to do what and which computer(s) were the fastest for editing and rendering.
  • Haters gonna hate. We had a few trolls arguing with us on Twitter. They started off by saying that we were being exploited by the client as free labor but then when we told them Frank PR is a sponsor of the school and gives us money towards scholarships, they turned around and said education shouldn’t be free. So do they want us to be paid for our work or not? Their arguments were completely nonsensical. But it’s been said before, if you aren’t getting anyone’s backs up then you’re probably boring as hell.
  • The best work comes from minimum time and maximum pressure. Pete said this to me and Helena once while he was killing our idea a couple of days before a deadline. It couldn’t be truer. I’m really proud of what we created.
  • Have fun. Always.


I’m sure there are a few other things but these are my main takeaways. Thank you, Frank PR and MyVoucherCodes (if you’re reading this) for the incredible opportunity. We all had so much fun, it was certainly the best day of the year so far. Oh and here’s the ad we made:


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