A Big Project

A message from last years winners to our future hopefuls and a selection of photographs from their trip down to the head offices of Standard Life.

'Well, it was an experience. And an incredible one at that. 

Following Winter 2014, the ‘Big Project’ was approaching, something everyone since first year was waiting for. A chance to do some real advertising, for a real client, in real life. It was fantastically real.
Abi had contacted myself, Carys, and Shaun within around two minutes of the new groups being announced after Christmas – our team was already formed, and we could get excited.
The big reveal came around, and we found out that we’d be working for the international savings and insurance brand ‘Standard Life’. A company which spans many countries, offering insurance, pensions and savings to all their customers. Based in Edinburgh.

The brief. It was fair to say that the brief was a big one, and a challenge in itself. To encourage people to save, and to get people to see saving money, as appealing as spending money is. A challenge as the vast majority of people love to spend, it’s that ‘buzz’ you get from owning something new – why put money away instead? But we were ready, to tackle the challenge head on. We had only six weeks. I say ‘only’ as when you hear the words ‘six weeks’, it seems like forever. Forty two days, or sixty thousand minutes brings with it the ‘we’ve got ages’ attitude. And we had to avoid that straightaway. The only way to tackle this project was to get going, and get going from the word go. We chatted, we planned our time, where to meet and when. The brief required two full campaigns, covering some mandatory media including TV and radio, but allowing for extras – whatever would make those campaigns even better. So we split our weeks into chunks.

The first seven days.

We researched. Trawled the internet, spoke to real people, to our families and friends, even read a few books (I know, books!) Really getting to grips with the spending and saving habits of people helped us dramatically later on in the process. Looking for that juicy insight all of the time.

The next fourteen days.

Campaign one. We wanted a full campaign finished within two weeks. Executed and all, and if we don’t finish, we’d move on. The pressure was on. Our first campaign focused on our age group. The aspirational types, the young professionals aiming to start in the real world. It was relatable to us, and we aptly named it ‘We’re Here for Doers’. A primarily digital campaign, utilizing social media, YouTube, and Spotify. We’d meet up most days, at 9am – it’s the best time, and work outside of the studio. Occasionally stopping for tea breaks, and even Easter eggs (they were on offer in Tesco at the time, couldn’t resist).

The following fourteen days.

Campaign two. We’d finished our first, so we got to work with fresh eyes on a different approach. Settling on women as our audience, from an insight that not as many women have a pension in comparison to men. We wanted to encourage women to take out a pension, not to save for the big things, but for the smaller things instead. Simply adding a topping on an ice cream, buying some flowers for your living room, or going out for tea sometimes. The little things in life that make it sweet, we didn’t want people to think twice. Why think twice.

Crunch time. The last week.

With two campaigns under our belt, we had to finalise. Printing, practicing, and pitching were the only things on our mind for that last week. Writing and rewriting our pitch into the most concise and clear message it could be. We all had our roles, we had our work printed, we could only wait.


Presentation day came around, and we were second in. We were honored to have two fantastic people down from Edinburgh, Lauren and Gillian from Standard Life. Along with Justin and Dave, we pitched both our campaigns. And following, spoke in more detail about our ‘Doers’ campaign – the one that we were excited by ourselves. We left the pitch feeling good, and left Lauren and Gillian with a copy of our campaigns to take back to Edinburgh.
With all the great briefs coming our way following the six week project, it was easy to forget the sheer amount of work we’d produced, but we eagerly waited for some feedback from Lauren and Gillian.
When we received the news that they’d selected our ‘We’re Here for Doers’ campaign as their winner, it was fair to say we were bowled over. We couldn’t really believe it, especially as all the teams in the year had produced some seriously awesome campaigns.

We’d be going to London – and not just London, the high life.

8th June. Team reunited at Kings Cross and we took the tube over to the Gherkin. One of the most incredible buildings in London, and we headed straight for the top floor where we were greeted by Lauren and Gillian, and introduced to Mary, Head of Customer and Digital Marketing. Stepping out of the lift, it was fair to say we spent a good ten minutes simply taking in the incredible views of London, before we got started on a workshop around our idea. Our idea was potentially becoming a real campaign, as part of the company rebrand. After chatting for the afternoon, and working around our idea with the company, we would be heading to the OXO Tower Restaurant. An incredible experience, the food was something you’d see on MasterChef. We had a great meal and conversation with the team from Standard Life, and we can’t thank them enough.

Our hotel for the night was on the banks of the Thames, with a stunning view over Tower Bridge, so naturally we went for a walk across at midnight. The next day we jam-packed it with London’ey things. Shoreditch, Brick Lane, casually walking past Matthew Lewis (Neville from Harry Potter) and going for a chilled drink in the Ice Bar. And in the evening we all headed our separate ways, on a serious high. The experience was something we’ll never forget. Producing a campaign which we could pitch to a real client is the best experience you can get, its what we’ll be doing in industry after all. It allows you to develop your creative skills, as well as manage your time and have a laugh along the way, of course.

If we’ve got any advice, it’d be..

Get going. Don’t wait to start, as six weeks is a lot quicker than you think.
Two weeks for each campaign. Stick to a deadline, and move on.
Rehearse, but not overly. Know what you’re talking about and the client will too.

Enjoy it, it’s an amazing opportunity, grab it with both hands.'