Creative Crash Course

By Mike McLafferty Posted on Jan 20, 2011

When you hear the term "boot camp" the first thing that comes to mind typically tends to be an image of military cadets trudging through a muddy obstacle course while some bad-breathed drill sergeant screams, "FASTER! FASTER! FASTER!" The 2010 One Club Creative Boot Camp in Atlanta was a little different; while there was no muddy obstacle course, there was still plenty of scrambling.

Over the course of four days, over 80 students from Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, and Westwood College converged on the Morehouse campus to engage in a fast-track learning experience on how the world of advertising works. None of the students were advertising majors, but they were tasked with concepting and developing ideas in groups and creating ads in a matter of hours. Kind of like in the real world.

This year's client brief was sponsored by Publicis New York and Pepto-Bismol. While the brand is widely known and regarded as one of the best medicines to cure upset stomachs and nausea, it also wanted to increase its presence in consumers' minds so that they use it more often rather than just leaving it in medicine cabinet collecting dust. As the students were paired up in groups and began to sink their teeth into the brief, they started to realize that maybe advertising wasn't as easy as they originally thought it would be.

"I had no idea going into this project the amount of work that it would take to manifest an idea," said Blake Roberts, a sophomore from Morehouse who's currently majoring in Business Marketing. "I learned so much about all of the different strategies and small details that go into creating an effective and unique ad campaign."

"I have been on the client side of the advertisement world with my previous internship and I can tell you that it is much easier to give a yes, no, or change this answer," said Danielle Johnson, a junior at Clark Atlanta University majoring in Business Administration. "It's not so easy fulfilling those requests on the creative side. I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for the creatives and all the work that goes into making a full campaign."

But the students weren't left all by themselves to figure out how to navigate the mysterious process of creating ads. A team of creatives and mentors from Publicis, Brunner, JWT, and the Creative Circus (just to name a few) came together to offer some first-hand industry guidance to help inspire the students to tap into the creative juices they may not have known they had.

"It was inspiring to see how much they were able to pull together in two-and-a-half days," said Mark Zangrilli, VP and Director of Human Resources at Publicis. "They were so excited and invested from the moment that they were briefed that the energy was contagious."

After the students spent two-full days locked away in their respective rooms creating their campaigns, the really scary part was finally rearing its head upon them. Each team was given a 10-minute window to present their campaigns to the judges with the hope of being the winning team and walking away with a summer internship at an Atlanta agency and other prizes.

Some teams acted out their hilarious and witty ideas for live commercials while others displayed ideas that were so out-of-the-box and clever that even the judges had to pick their jaws off the floor. One team in particular came up with the ingenious idea to package Pepto in a condiment packet similar to the ketchup and mustard ones you see at fast-food restaurants so that consumers know they can indulge themselves in their favorite foods and yet still be protected.

While all the teams brought their A-game to the stage, there was no denying that group #8 (consisting of Danielle Johnson, Blake Roberts, Demetris Horton, and Jahmal Parris), who were last of the day to present, brought the kind of energy and enthusiasm to their idea that it immediately sold the judges on their campaign.


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