Reflections on Portfolio Brief 1 – By Fat Penguin


By Fat Penguin – The SCA Intake of 2016/17


Reflections on Portfolio Brief 1

We’ve just finished marking each other’s videos on our first two-week portfolio brief. This is what we thought.

Adeline: What I’ve learnt from PB1? Being a time management freak is a good thing. And maybe I should become freakier about it. Also, it’s a good thing if your partner accepts you the way you are, but don’t forget to adapt yourself depending on the situation: you can’t always be a playful child.

Daze: It felt pretty weird to be thrown in at the deep end, on something I knew nothing about (electric racing). But I had fun becoming an expert and schooling my dad and brother on Formula E. I’m now officially one of the lads.

Beth: I thought that PB1 was great fun and I got to work with my brother from another mother. Finally getting stuck into a proper brief with a partner is defiantly where it’s at. I found myself latched on to Alex Taylor towards the last few days of the brief, adsorbing all of the art direction gems that she was firing at me (she is queen).

Kenny: Portfolio brief one was intense and honestly, I learned a lot. I could go into immense detail but that’s an entirely other SCAB of its own. So here’s a list instead; don’t trust anyone, your partner is your lifeline, smoking doesn’t de-stress you, breaking up work with fun is a good idea, managing time will save your life, know the brand back to front. The list goes on but there’s a summary.

Lee: It was interesting working on a product I had next to no previous knowledge about and to come out with some sexy looking work in the end was a bonus.

Sophie: PB1 was a huge learning curve. I’ve been lucky in the small briefs we have been given to connect instantly to the product (I mean who wouldn’t with Kit Kat and Jack Daniels). It has therefore been easier to find an insight and write a proposition that excites me and my partner. However PB1 was a whole new kettle of fish. Formula E cars. Cars. Electric Cars. This week I have learnt the power of becoming a boffin on the subject – as it makes the process a whole lot easier.   

Krista: This is why I love this industry so much. Every brief is an opportunity to learn something new and exciting. I did so much research about Renault, formula e and cars in general, I’m pretty sure I can host Top gear now.

Flav: Really enjoyed working on PB1, stressful, of course, but quite fun. I knew absolutely nothing about racing which made it even more interesting. Looking back, I wish we pushed our idea further, I learned that nobody cares if the brief asks for one poster, people want to see three or it’s not a campaign.

Robyn: If car puns drive you up the wall, stop reading now. It was tempting to spout racing jokes for the whole two weeks – but that would have been exhausting. In all seriousness, the most valuable takeaway from our first portfolio brief was the importance of crafting a solid proposition. I’m a pretty impatient person, so it takes all my willpower not to race through the strategy to reach the pretty pics ’n’ words. They can wait. For the future: swot up and test drive the product (unless it’s a Formula E car). Come at it from a different angle. Make decisions, and make them with confidence. Take the wheel, if you will. Finally – write everything down. Keeping thoughts and ideas in your head because you’re worried they might sound silly is a surefire way to crash and burn before you’ve crossed the finish line, (I’m done, I promise).

Henry: PB1 was a great opportunity to show off our new creative techniques. As usual, after finishing the brief it was clear that what went wrong would be more useful than what went right. I learnt that time management is beyond important. Having a deadline for the strategy and sticking to it could have saved some late nights and a few hours of stress. Lesson learnt.

Orla: PB1 was alright.  Ended up loving the product and tried some new techniques. Definitely need to stick to the schedule next time though.

Augustine: Sometimes you compile pages and pages of research and you end up going with your first thought or just going back to the brief. PB1 was a lesson in the difficulty of throwing yourself into routes and then having to abandon ship. When you abandon ship you go back to square one. Kill your babies, kill ‘em good. Go back to the drawing board. Accept that research may or may not be directly or obviously fruitful – knowing everything about your product puts you into the right frame of mind to take the brief head on. Plus, research is good for the sake of research itself. We’re not just learning how to make ads, we’re learning about people. Formula E was a chance to dive straight into unknown territory. I’ve learnt, however, that I need to figure out my path from brief to proposition to execution – at the moment, I’m always unsure which way to go or where to start. It’s a glorious adventure.

Naomi: I loved working with Max — we laughed at everything, not because we didn’t take the brief seriously but because if we didn’t laugh we would have certainly cried. We changed our proposition the day before the deadline because we knew we could do better than our original. Our final case study video wasn’t amazing but going with our gut and changing things last minute certainly made us believe in ourselves a bit more.The lesson learnt from PB1 is that you should never settle for your first proposition/ idea, always push yourself to do better but definitely do it earlier than the day before. We have learnt our lesson now and so on PB2 we are researching hard until there is no more information we can squeeze. We will get this sorted by the end of the week giving us a week to do the creative outputs.

Kyle: I learnt the importance of changing environment when you get stuck in a rut. Sometimes the smallest of things can help you make the breakthrough you have been searching for.

Jesse: PB1 was great in showing me that it’s ok to go a little off brief, if you get end up achieving what you set out to do in the end. After spending days trying to think up ways to get 30 year old mums and dads to care about Renault and Formula E, we decided to just focus on Renault, and the whole process was a lot smoother. I guess making sure you hone in on one thing at a time allows you make yourself a lot clearer and more concise.

Max: PB1 taught me Group work is about listening, compromise, understanding, empathy and hard work. You have to trust in the other person, trust that they know what they’re talking about. Even trust bullshit that you come up with together because something great can come from that. There is always that moment you want to say “fuck it, I’m off” and that’s when you should drink coffee, recharge your mind, take a small break and then enter ’overdrive’. The best things happen in overdrive. I feel extremely lucky to be able to work in a partnership, it’s constantly motivating and the opportunity to chat endlessly about one thing, however insignificant, I am quickly growing to love.

Lauren : PB1 was a good lesson in time-management. Draft, re-draft and repeat – for sure. But know when to stop pushing and start pursuing. Working with Pjotr over the 2 weeks was beautiful – great brain, great man. We didn’t always agree on everything, particularly when it came down to the execution. But if anything, it helped us justify and consolidate our ideas as we went. No bad thing.

Anam:   PB1 was a HUGE learning curve for me. Time management aside, I found that I hadn’t asked all the necessary questions at the start and that became a setback when it came time to create a proposition.

Pjotr:   The most important thing I’ve learned: remember to ask mentors “what’s wrong with the work?” instead of “what do you think about it?”.

James:  Time management was my biggest learning from PB1. We did actually manage our time, but we left the execution to the last minute while we were searching for the elusive perfect proposition.

Alex: We created a new form of advertising but that wasn’t a good thing. Spending most of your time on nailing proposition and strategy is great but make sure you execute off it in the right direction. We had a misunderstanding with Pete that meant he thought we had something good when we were intending something else. Don’t be afraid to clarify. When you’re less than 24 hours from a deadline and have had to scrap everything just walk around in circles and panic around a pool table. It will be alright in the end.

Mona: PB1 has been quite challenging, especially on the time managing… Having two weeks to answer a brief feels very long in the first week but you will probably be in a rush on the second week if you don’t manage your time well. I learnt a lot about cars, racing, and also about listening, accepting rejection, starting again, and not ever leaving the case study video until the last minute.

Ludo: Having done PB1, and now working on PB2 you realise you must make some serious headway in the first week and stick to personal deadlines, for instance, come up with a proposition by Friday (week 1) and leave all of the last week for execution. Do this and you’ll increase your life expectancy by at least 5 years.

Malou: PB1 was a hard nut to crack. I’ve never ever heard of Formula E before this. But we all took a lot of learnings from it and that’s the whole point. PB2 will be just as hard and fun, but we all know a little more about cracking a brief.

Mark: My problem with PB1 was just how straight we were advised to be by the Mentors. I found of the ideas that I thought were a little bit more strange got knocked back pretty quickly and we were left with an idea, that while straightforward and clear, was not the most exciting work. I’m still learning what it takes to communicate but I think I need to make sure my ideas are simple and clear if I want to communicate them in a more exciting and challenging way.

Tomo: Need to push ideas. It’s not enough to do one poster. See if you can do another. And it’s not enough to just do posters. See if you can do a Twitter campaign. Or a PR stunt. Or a series of videos. Keep pushing. As Madness would say, take it one step beyond.

Jacob: PB1 taught me that daytime TV isn’t actually too bad.

Arthur: This brief was a great opportunity to tackle a brand’s problem by to turning it on its head. I loved to go through the different stages of the creative process – planning (less so…), SMP and executions – with a partner. It was interesting and necessary to exchange on an emotional and rational level with another creative. Especially when it leads to a constant playful child state, enabling us to bounce back and forth many ideas without fear of being judged. Reminds me of Souter’s speech, expressing how two creative come together to create a third one combining the best of the two first.   

Finally these two weeks reminded me that I should ALWAYS trust my guts, and not someone else’s. Although criticism should be taken into account in order to elevate the result, you should never compromise to something you know isn’t right.  

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