Life after graduation

I was informed two days ago by WordPress that my blog had its first ‘birthday’ and that triggered a range of thoughts. ¬†Celebrating a year on this blog means it’s been a year since major changes in my life, like moving to England, starting my Master’s degree and adjusting to a new life.

Well, in truly celebratory fashion of that event, the time has come to adjust to a new life again. I am staying in dear England, but the end of my Master’s degree has brought a new set of priorities and desires into my life, with a big part played by the agonising process to find a job. So between writing applications I try to read advice on how to survive in this new world I’m entering, which I would like to share with you.

A very good video is the interview done by Francesca Levy, the Senior Editor at LinkedIn, with author and New York Times journalist Adam Bryant. Some of the key insights from the video is that when you get to the stage of interview, you’ve already passed the gatekeeper that reviews your skills and experience, so you should sell a different side of yourself: your personality. And while interviewers try to pose trick questions to uncover it, interviewees try to give polished, ‘right’ answers making it more difficult for everyone. An interesting approach would be to be able to tell your story as it allows the interviewee to script their story (chronological, by importance of events, etc.) and the interviewer to see how the candidate thinks by observing the underlying structure of their story. Whatever you do, you also have to show what you can bring to the company but in a genuine, conversational way which will actually reflect you as a person. I think it’s a bit like advertising really, companies who try to be too pushy, efficient, cheap, most extraordinary don’t succeed because consumers can see right through their claims. Companies who are genuine and friendly, like Innocent for example, have much better chances.

An article I read which made quite an impression on me is that of Simon Wong, from the Harvard Business Review, which praised the first jobs you have as a young person. He described his experience and how you can learn so much about people from being a cleaner in a luxury goods store or in a restaurant. Perhaps because my first job was in restaurant, the article made me think that it’s a pity you can’t mention experiences which have changed you if they don’t match the profile of the job you’re applying for. But perhaps that’s what the interview can help you with.

My biggest lesson is: try to make your personality shine if given the chance, because pretty much everyone is qualified nowadays.

Any other interesting reads, articles, thoughts would be very much welcome!

New Guardian campaign is zagging a bit too much

As much as BBH has created some of the world’s most impressive ads like their long history with Axxe/Lynx, and they are known for zagging when the rest of the world zigs, they might have taken the zagging a bit too far.

A few years ago, they created the story of the three pigs who set their house on fire to get insurance money and then blame it on the wolf (you can see the video of that here in case you missed it). And yes, they won Cannes Lions prizes for it. So it was truly a ‘zagging’ campaign. But they decided to go further this time for their client The Guardian, and they created something which resembles an apocalyptic, American blockbuster action/horror movie campaign which I’m not sure appeals to many. In the attempt to own the weekend, they appear to be copywriting the term weekend, brain-washing/turning into zombies citizens and providing everything you need for the weekend.

Sure, it might spike conversation as I’m writing about it right now, it might raise a few eyebrows but it’s one of those ads that are made for the award rather than for the client. Does it make me buy the Guardian? No. But maybe I’m not the target audience for it. What do you think?

Last square, Milka’s take on the Coca-Cola campaign

It’s not often you see that companies actually change their products specifically for a marketing campaign. There’s the huge success of Coca-Cola in Australia and then Europe with the names printed on the bottles or cans in order to increase sales. At the time when I discovered the first campaign from Australia, I wrote a post on my old advertising blog, which you can read¬†here. I was amazed at the simplicity of the campaign designed to simply sell. Which ultimately what every ad should do as Master Ogilvy once said.

After Coca-Cola’s worldwide success, another company changed their product for a campaign, but it wasn’t one I would have thought of. Milka, the chocolate company, introduced a campaign in which you could send the last missing piece of a bar to a friend, or claim it back through the post. This might sound simple, but it actually meant restructuring the production of the bars. The ‘Last Square’ was introduced to the French market and you can see a presentation video below.

Question is, will it be as successful as Coca-Cola’s campaign? Does it have the same drive to make people buy? I could have an indefinite collection of bottles with my name, but will I want to send a piece of chocolate to all my friends? In a digital-driven world, this campaign seems to combine a good amount of new media and actual physical product promotion. We know chocolate is on everyone’s craving list but does it have the power to entice for more. I think yes, but for a short term. Is it enough to make you buy? Tell me your thoughts.