‘Dinnit Lose Yer Heed’

As part of our Work Based Learning module, we were given the option to choose one of two briefs –‘Caledonia Best Ale’ as set by Newhaven and ‘NHS Flu Jab’ as set by Leith.


We travelled to Edinburgh and visited both agencies where we worked on each brief in a workshop environment receiving help and advice from industry professionals.

I found the flu jab campaign particularly difficult due to the restraints set by the brief. There were a lot of compulsories involved with regards to tone of voice, imagery and logo inclusion. I felt that it was quite difficult to be creative with so many limitations in place and as a result favoured the ‘Caledonia Best Ale’ campaign.


In our group we first set about exploring as many truths as possible surrounding the product and its manufacturers. These tanged from “served on draught” to “made with Scottish ingredients”. From roughly forty truths we were able to whittle them down to a select six. These six became the foundation of our campaign and we set about generating ideas.


We produced several scamps, visuals and examples of copy before settling on one idea in particular and developing it further keeping in mind our target audience and the brief. I have focused on the copy as I feel I am currently at a stage where I am keen to explore copywriting and develop my copywriting skills further.

Being mainly copy based I decided to produce my final piece digitally for the first time. Previously I had drawn each submission to art director visual standard. By including digital software, my final idea has been fully realised. The colour and quality of the print bring the idea to life in a way that hand drawing wouldn’t. 


I am very happy with my final campaign for Caledonia Best Ale. I feel I have followed the brief well and communicate the relevant message to the relevant audience. The copy causes intrigue and encourages the reader to learn more: it makes people think. Upon learning more, the piece becomes quite humourous. It remains patriotic with obvious reference to Scotland’s history, but steers clear from being offensive or insulting. 




Keeping it Relevant.

For advertisers, there is a great need to remain relevant. By keeping up to date with current affairs is a good way to start, however it is vital to be one step ahead in order to succeed in reaching your audience promptly and effectively. 

As part of my placement at the DDCA, I have learnt that it is vital to market your product at a relevant time in a relevant way. Being driven by social media, www.discoverydaily.co.uk is reliant on reaching its demographic via email and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. 

This is the latest email that I have composed to outline the products available that are relevant to the Olympics. London2012 is very much at the forefront of everyones minds and is being featured everywhere. By being associated with it, I increase Discovery Daily’s reach and appeal. 


Let’s Talk About Me.


I recently took part in an online analysis of skills, knowledge and abilities on the Blackboard service of Newcastle College.

The results have shown me that I am good at the majority of course relevant skills however there do appear to be areas that might benefit from extra work.

I seem to have difficulty action planning and undertaking SWOT analysis. This is no surprise as I have mentioned in a previous post my dislike for generic learning methods. I find these encouraged techniques tedious and unhelpful in the long run. I am confident that my attitude towards them will not change and so I expect that I will always display an insufficient ability to adhere to the SMARTs, SWOTs and other self-evaluating methods of the education world.

In other news, it seems as though I display strengths in the use of computers, presentation skills and using search engines. These are all very relevant to the advertising industry: computer use is a given, as is the ability to research and source digital content, but in my opinion presentation skills are paramount in an ad agency: it’s great to have ideas but if you lack the confidence to portray those ideas to your colleagues and clients then you will find your career will stagnate.

Overall, I am happy with this outcome and look forward to seeing the results of a similar analysis towards the end of second year. It will be interesting to see my progress and if I have improved in a particular area.




Thinking Within The Box.


This really is branding innovation – A Brazillian agency has grown real fruit into the shape of juice boxes in order to promote the supposedly ‘all natural’ Camp fruit juice brand. à http://bit.ly/JOWGTr

This is an excellent idea: people just love a novelty. This is sure to grab the attention of adults and children alike. It is sure to not only promote the Camp brand but also encourage people to consume more fruit.

I first discovered this via Twitter but have since seen it feature on Facebook, YouTube and Google+. This kind of viral activity is one of the best kinds of publicity a brand could hope for – a South American fruit juice company suddenly has the world talking about it.



Brand Me Happy.


At the beginning of the FdA Advertising course, I was very much a novice in the world of InDesign and Illustrator, and frankly not much more adept in the world of Photoshop: I did not know my tracking from my kerning, nor my spot-healing tool from my magic eraser.

That was eight months ago. Having been taught at college and patiently self-teaching in my spare time, I feel I have gained a very good grasp on the possibilities that exist thanks to the Adobe Suite. Don’t get me wrong – I have made MANY errors and there have been moments where it seems the only rational thing left to do would be to abandon my .psd in favour of MS Paint. But I persevered and as a result I have somewhat magically managed to complete my Digital Skills module for submission on the 16th May 2012.


Firstly, I collaborated with a photography student in order to get a professional image that had been taken with the correct lighting. We liaised to discuss what my aim was, what I was trying to communicate and what props etc. I would like included. I created a mood-board using images that I had sourced for inspiration and examples of portraits similar to that which I desired. The photo-shoot was successful in providing me with more than 50 raw images to work with. I was able to select 8 images that I felt were a good base with which to begin. 


Taking the raw image and using Photoshop, I first set about using the healing brush tool to remove imperfections on my skin, clothing and background.  There were also a few white footprints on the floor so I removed these too.  I worked on separate layers for separate areas such as ‘face’, ‘body’ and ‘background’.

I sourced an image to overlay my portrait to give it some texture and set the opacity at 10% with the blend mode ‘luminosity’. I also removed the red channel from the RGB settings, which gave the image a distinct green hue.

I added a subtle Gaussian blur set at 1.0 pixel and added some noise to the image set at 12.5% uniform.

To finish the image, I adjusted the levels so as to show a little definition between the floor and the backdrop.

To create my logo I have used both the InDesign and Illustrator applications. I knew from the outset that I wanted to design a logo that gave an impression of creativity and individuality. I toyed with the idea of using a fingerprint but felt that had been done before. I also played around with the use of circles and “bubbles” in a variety of opacities and shades but I felt this was too simple and did not best represent me. I came to the conclusion that I should physically represent myself and so I decided to incorporate the silhouette of a man as part of my logo. 

The font I used was sourced from DaFont and called ‘Travel Diary’. I chose it because it had a sketchy feel and looked as though it had been hand drawn – this brings the touch of creativity I wanted.

By creating outlines and using layers, I was able to copy and paste the sketchy feel from the font over to the silhouette. Now, instead of being a solid block of colour, it became more incorporated into the design.


Overall, I am very happy with the outcome of the self-branding exercise, the photo-shoot and the subsequent use of Adobe applications to create the final product. I feel I have surpassed my own expectations in producing a poster that not only represents me well but also displays my proficiency in the use of Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Aside from using Adobe software, I have also shown skills accomplished through the digital skills workshops, such as digital research and sourcing.

I am more than happy with my progress and anticipate advancing my knowledge of digital skills further in the second year.



Not-So-SMART Targets.


Newcastle College suggests using the Reflection Cycle as a good strategy to use to ensure that I am managing my time appropriately. By planning, reviewing, analysing and evaluating my work and methods, I should find that I can manage my workflow easier and also that my productivity increases as a result.

At the start of any project, it’s important to plan. The Reflection Cycle suggests setting a SMART target at this point. Being a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed goal means that SMART targets should ensure that the aim can be achieved and keep motivation up. Once planned, the SMART target could be reviewed. What happened? Was the target reached? From there, the Reflection Cycle suggests analysing the project and your feelings towards it as well as evaluating your work. Using the evaluation, the success of the project could be concluded and any lessons learnt could be outlined.

To summarise, each step of the Reflection Cycle appears to be relevant and provide feedback in some form towards the progress and success of a project.

However, in my opinion I find that I cannot allow myself to be bogged down with corporate mumbo jumbo. Experience has taught me that generic learning methods such as the Reflection Cycle waste my time by expecting me to partake in activities that I find pointless and frustrating. This causes my brain to rebel. As a result, my work suffers and productivity decreases. For me, motivation and targets are very specific to the project at hand. I am goal oriented and need to set an attainable incentive for myself. By tailoring the method to myself in a unique way that sits well with the frame of mind I occupy at that time, means that work gets done.

A good example of this would have to be the latest project that I worked on as part of the FdA Advertising course – ‘Caledonia Best Ale’. As well as studying, I am a full time employee and a part-time intern. This means that time is valuable to me and my day-to-day routine is pretty hectic. It is hard to set SMART targets with an unpredictable month ahead – plans change, nothing is black and white and life throws curve balls at us all. As a result, I found that “Specific”, and “Measurable” targets were not as “Attainable” as one would like. This negativity greatly affected me. My work suffered as I found myself quite simply not wanting to do it. Surely this goes greatly against the ethos of “SMART” targets? As a result, I have taken a firm stance of independent thinking and I have decided to go about my work in a way that I know works for me to ensure that the best possible work is produced and deadlines are adhered to.



Virgin Exploits.


“Sir Richard Branson formed the Virgin empire on a few branding best practices: do things differently, do things compellingly, and do things with personality. Virgin Media, through the use of humour and their well-respected and humble leader Sir Richard Branson, communicate a warm friendly face to the brand. In a way, they make BT look dull and corporate. And, when inviting a service into your home, you do not choose a dull and corporate brand. Sir Branson’s presence in the adverts also helped remind consumers why they like Virgin; this is a brand that likes to do things differently and with personality, even more reason to have it in your home.”