Marianne Wathne Johansen

By Marianne Wathne Johansen




On the first day of SCA, Marc put up a slide saying OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE. He asked who read “opportunity is nowhere”. I put my hand up. He then went on to ask who read “opportunity is now here”. The majority of the room raised their hands. Slightly embarrassed, I realised that I was a bit pessimistic. Is it because I’m from a tiny fishing town in Norway with maybe 2 kind-of-good ad agencies? Maybe.


Needless to say, a lot has changed since last September. I’m now doing what I love every day, and I get to write, make cool stuff and have fun while working. Oh, and I’m in the best city in the world! There’s always something new to see, and it’s never been easier to absorb culture. I can certainly say that I’ve become more optimistic since starting SCA.


Last weekend, my partner and I went to the Design Museum in Kensington. Even before leaving the flat, I saw an opportunity to make the most out of it. Instead of automatically going for the fastest route, we decided to get the bus and get a “free” sightseeing of London. It only took an extra 15 minutes anyway. When we got there, I was in love. My partner wasn’t. He’s an art director, and has probably been to 99% more museums than I have. But there was one thing we really liked — a piece of work done by an ad agency. It was promoting old age as a positive thing, and the execution was a bookshelf filled with books written by the same imaginary author. The books had titles such as “how to work with a hangover” and “how to deal with arseholes”. The books on the middle shelf formed the words “LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE”.




I really enjoyed it, and I would certainly read some of these books myself if they actually existed.


Like any 24-year-old ad student would do, I took a picture and uploaded it to Instagram. The next day, I checked my Instagram. Along with a few likes, I had a comment and a new follower. He commented: “This was my work. Glad you liked it!” Slightly star-struck, I decided to direct message him and ask for a book crit. It’s gotten to the point at SCA where we actually have some work that we are almost proud of, so it’s time to get out there so people can tear our books apart. Hours later, he replied with his email address and told us to get in touch. Within 24 hours of posting the image on Instagram, my partner and I already had our first crit.


I think this experience shows that opportunities are everywhere. I didn’t go to the Design Museum because I was hoping to land a crit. I simply went there because I wanted to see something new. However, it opened my eyes, and taught me that just walking out the door can create opportunities. Many people say that the ad industry is full of arrogant pricks, but I believe that people in general are unbelievably generous – especially in advertising. From now on, I’ll always read “opportunity is now here” rather than “opportunity is nowhere”. In fact, it has changed my perception of life. So thank you, SCA.

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