This journal documents my experience of the Camp Jack mentorship offered by Jack Morton — a global brand experience agency.
I recently participated in a six-week advertising bootcamp that took us through the entire process from defining/reframing the client problem, insights and strategy, developing a creative brief to creative execution and rapid prototyping. Participants came from all walks of lives. Some of us, like me, have had some experience in the ad industry and were looking for inspirations through learnings.
I come from a research and analytics background, having worked in both traditional market research agengies (e.g., Kantar); and in insights roles in advertising, brand and PR agencies. I have branched out into brand strategy and have progressively refocused my career to insights application rather than simply reporting them. I enjoy seeing the insights come into life.
At the end of the Camp Jack bootcamp, some of us were selected for an extended mentorship for which I submitted a case study to Camp Jack. The case study was for a creative strategist’s role from a year ago. The hiring manager was a seasoned creative who was very famous in the region (let’s call her Ms X). The HR told me that Ms X wanted to bring in different ideas to her team and therefore approached me on Linkedin, even though I had no experience in creatives. Even on the strategy side, much of my experience has been on brand strategy, rather than advertising planning strategy. I did not get the job but I have convinced Ms X enough that she invited me to the next round where I met the other teams in the region.
Although I did not get the job, questions about how I could have done better have been hanging around in my head. When I learned about Camp Jack, I jumped at the opportunity and hoped that I would be chosen for the mentorship so that I could receive hands-on and detailed feedbacks on my case study. I was one of the lucky 10 and had just completed my weekly one-on-one mentorship sessions with a strategic director (NF) from Jack Morton.
This is how my creative ideas evolve.
The (pseudo-)client, Motorised Bike Co., want to get more customers through Facebook and Instagram. They have been pitched marketing ideas left and right, but are tired of the same, clichéd approach. All the ads in their industry look pretty much the same on Facebook today. They want your help.
- I was too bogged down in having to “do creatives” and have forgotten about building the story before introducing my creative ideas. I should have included data and insights as support. Nervousness has caused me to miss out something that I have been the person in charge of at work!
- “Wow” as a Big Idea is superficial and not specific in its meaning. It needs to be ownable to the client’s brand.
After my mentorship session with NF, I no longer liked my “Magnet for Wows” idea 😆!
1. Add data
I distilled the research findings from academic research in marketing and commercial research on social media into this additional issue faced by Motorised Bike.
2. Add in the missing link
I decided to keep the insights: Bikers want attention.
Part of the attention-seeking on facebook, Instagram, indeed any social media platforms, is after the likes. However, likes are superficial, nor do they influence behaviours or attitudes. So don’t just chase after likes.
3. Reframe the benefits of Facebook
How might we use Facebook to not just satisfy bikers’ wants of attention, but also elevate them to the next level?
The answer is to use Facebook to get out of Facebook…
Building a community through (not just on) Facebook which will draw bikers together — motivated by the desire “to see and be seen”…
Using a variety of Facebook products (360 video, AR, Instagram, etc.) to facilitate seeing and being seen for the benefits of community and connections…
The revamped presentation can be found here.
I intend to further iterate this so please come back again to check out.
My mentor, NF, was the first person who encouraged me that my experience in research was not entirely useless. I understand and agree with the criticisms from clients and research users (e.g., agency people in advertising, branding and PR), and have reflected on researchers’ problems here, here, here, here and here.
I have also proactively sought out collaborations with professionals from different backgrounds in order to learn about how they apply insights in their works. While prepared to hear criticisms, some agency people can be so blunt that they come off as rude. Many have told me right in my face that research and researchers were useless. I am now immuned to unsolicited comments and have learned to sieve through them to pick out only those that are helpful for me to improve.
One particularly bad experience was with a brand agency — so much so that when I told a veteran strategist in London, he congratulated me for having left because what I have experienced was bullying:
This is what happend:
One of the tricks was assigning the projects to “her people” so that the rest of us who were not hired by her had nothing/little to put on our timesheet. I overcame this by reaching out to the global head of Solution V since one of my mandates was to develop the V business in the local market.
So I felt a wealth of emotions when NF told me that I should leverage my experience in research and drawing out insights, and use this in strategy. Never underestimate the impact of kindness!