The first ad I have ever made – By @elisaczerwenka

By Elisa Czerwenka


The first ad I have ever made


I was still in high school when I made my first ad. At the time, I did not know that I would ever look back at this experience as such an important one. But it was. 

I was in 6th grade. My class in school took part in what we called “School Buffet”. It was a monthly event with a simple task. Students would make food at home and then sell it to other students at school. It was the only time of the year where students could earn money for their class budget. Our buffet was planned for the 15min break on a Friday, the week before Easter. All the money we would collect could spend on class trips, food and events we wanted to attend. Now I was class rep, which means I was responsible for organising the whole thing. And making it a success. 

The usual procedure to get the word out about a ‘class’ school buffet would include putting up a handwritten a4 note on our post-board with a little scribble on it. Nothing more was expected from us either. But somehow, I thought that was not enough. 

So, I went home, opened GIMP (the Design weapon of my choice at the time) and starting making 1€ and 2€ vouchers. And because it was a week before Easter, I thought it would be fitting to if they looked like Easter eggs. I printed 20 of them and made a poster to explain the rules and announce the event. The Easter eggs would be hidden all around school on Friday morning, and the lucky ones to find them would get discounts. 

To my surprise, just minutes after I had put the note up, students started talking. Just the fact alone that someone went through the effort of designing a poster for the buffet generated lots of attention. Within hours everyone in the school knew that Friday was THE day. At the time, I didn’t think too much of it. It was such a small event, and I was too busy making smoothies for it. 

According to plan, I came into school to hide the eggs 30mins before any class started on Friday morning. Moments after I walked into the school, I was greeted by a group of about 10 girls, waiting for me (I went to an all-girls school). They literally woke up early to be part of this experience. They got up early for a potential voucher of 1 or 2 Euros. I couldn’t believe it. I told them to wait and started to plant the coupons all over the school area. Under sinks, behind doors, in between books in the library. 

When the bell rang, the students started to STORM the cafeteria. We had to push tables and chairs out of the way to make enough room. After just 10 minutes, we had run out of food. Even the smoothies, of which we had 10 litres of were gone before even half the break was over. But that was not the end. When we counted the money, we found out that we made more than twice the amount expected. The only thing we thought was: We should have made more food. 

At the time, I didn’t even think about it as advertising. It was just fun promoting something, I cared about. Now that I’ve chosen this path as a career, it is so clear to me what I was doing. And why I had so much fun with it. The buffet was a fantastic success. The Easter eggs remained a talking point for weeks on end. 

I love to think back to this day and re-experience the rush I got when I knew my idea worked. A rush that I am craving constantly now.

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