So, another London trip over. The students who I was privileged enough to have on my course had an experience that will probably stay with them forever. It’s nearly impossible to teach a semesters worth of an upper level course inside of two and a half weeks, but hopefully, they have learned some additional creative tools and skills that will help them well into their careers. I also hope that the places I took them as a group (Design Companies, the Brand Museum and of course Harry Potter!) were interesting, fun, insightful. It takes months to set up a syllabus and itinerary that will work in such a unique environment and time span – but is so worth it.
Finally, many thanks to all the amazing hard work the Study Abroad people do to ensure it runs as smoothly as it does.
The team brief this year was no biggie – just to re-brand the giant Swedish car company SAAB! Who have lost their way in recent years.
Each of the four teams had about three days (allowing for additional class and group activities), to come up with a strategic argument, a ‘big idea’ that would position SAAB back into the new car arena. This was not an exercise in working in Photoshop, or creating vectored images for end execution deliverables – this was very much more about coming up with a concept that would (re)connect the brand with it’s audience(s) and ultimately develop loyalty.
Team #3 ‘won’ the account as their overall strategy was the strongest and best thought out, but well done to all four teams for some really strong work.
An enormous ‘Thank You’ goes out to my friend Ewan, who consistently finds the time to not only meet with my students, but always puts so much into making us feel welcome. Amazing guy 🙂
A busy day. Another informative visit to a great London based design company – Thank you Jon – always made welcome when I bring students to see you. Really appreciate your time sir.
Next up was the English High tea experience for the entire study abroad group. Triangle sandwiches, hot tea, and the ever curious concoction of scone, strawberry jam and clotted cream (it really does taste better than it looks!)
Shortly afterwards the whole group headed to the Adelph Theatre on the Strand to take in a great musical – ‘Made in Dagenham’. Even if not to everyones taste, still amazing sets and a really polished performance. The journey too and from the theatre also gave everyone the opportunity to experience the ‘fun’ of riding the underground when things aren’t quite working right (see picture 3)!
First of the company meetings with my class. ‘Possible’, a digital branding arm of Grey (WPP). Thank you so much Alys and Lucy for making us feel so welcome and spending time to give us a great insight into the company and some of its clients.
Just enough time to grab a bite to eat after our visit before I had meetings with each student team to see their progress for the brand brief they’re all working on as part of the course – Where else, but my always favorite – Pret A Mange. Why can’t we have a Pret in P-Town 🙁
Last of the classroom sessions wrapped up – From here on in its all based around the team assignment. A majority of my students were heading out of town on a coach excursion tomorrow, and the remainder were staying close by. We weren’t gathering again until Sunday afternoon for the big briefing!
Friday night was the night I took my colleagues to a pub of my choice – the previously mentioned Holly Bush on Hampstead Heath. A lovely little place to while away an evening (although being located where it is – the dinners can be a little expensive), good beer and wonderful company to celebrate the trouble free end to week one.
My free time on Saturday and Sunday morning involved two things – first of all I was meeting up with my former teaching colleagues and good friends, who were in town. A wonderful afternoon/evening followed waxing lyrical about everything! Then this morning (Sunday) I took a stroll to the London Transport Museum. Always fun, but it had the added attraction of another war related exhibition. All extremely interesting. My choice of attractions this trip has definitely taken on a WW One/Two angle!
Finally, time to brief the four student teams. A great (re)branding brief from my friend Ewan Ferrier, full of creative opportunities. Each team has around a day to research, brainstorm and come up with a potential strategic direction and present those ideas to one of my other wonderful London branding contacts, Russ, who can hopefully then offer each team some welcome advice and art direction so that they can then develop their campaigns further, leading to Fridays presentations to the ‘client’.
The Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising: Never ever get tired of this gem of a museum. Rumor has it that they are only displaying 10% of their total collection and are looking to move/expand to show more. Hopefully my students appreciated this place too.
Scheduled later start with todays class, which was just as well as quite a few of my students had a touch of the zombies or ever so slightly feeling the effects of a very late night! Lots of drinking water throughout the class session but they all got through it. Not sure how much of my presentation they took in though today? Ominously, their briefing for next weeks team assignment was emailed to me during the class session – Enjoy this week folk’s, it’s about to get real, soon!
Most of the group appeared to be heading to the amazing V&A museum for the rest of the day. I had a couple of errands to run then headed off in search of ‘hidden gem’ pub #2. The previous wonderful find of a couple of days ago being The Holly Bush on Hampstead Heath (see below), where I will hopefully be introducing my travelling colleagues to on Friday evening. Todays ‘hidden gem’ is the Dove, tucked away in Hammersmith. An amazingly cosy pub overlooking the River Thames. No doubt a beautiful location during the summer, but a perfect place to relax on a damp January afternoon too 🙂