Mirror Mirror on the wall…

…who's the most creative of them all?

On Friday, Leo Burnett was great and gave us the day off so we could attend the wanted ads awards here in London, held by the Newspaper Society. The purpose; to gather talented young creatives from all over Britain, put them in a sexy building and let them compete against each other for one day. Delightfully this day started off great and was pleasantly sunny as we arrived at the London Art House in Islington, a great location we must say.

We were virgins to this event but some teams had been coming for the past couple of years. A few minutes after 9:30 the arena was filled with 24 creative teams, the highest number of participants ever in it's six year life. The conditions to participate were, you need to be a creative team and work in the advertising industry for no more than three years. Most of the teams were in their first jobs, with only a handful still on placement, like us.

We bumped into lots of familiar faces and even more new ones. We were quite glad to see so many people from our course, the new bucks university.

Tanked on Coffee we gathered in the main room to get briefed.

Al Young, the Creative Director of St.Luke's took the creative lead and introduced us to the tricky part of the brief: local media. The brief was set by Vodafone, we had to come up with an idea translating their existing strategy 'Make the most of now' into local media to communicate closer to the target audience. We were the keenest kids in town, right on the front row. During Al's brief speech he told us that we were here to win, like gladiators, to defeat and to kill (well not quite), but you get it. The eager competitiveness of this event was the best thing about it.

Armed with pens, pads and the brief under one arm the creative teams then spread through the building, every team was assigned a place.

Our spot was 'the Art Studio', we were sharing it with Imogen & Lianne from McCann-Erickson, Manchester.

It was a race against time, with ideas and moments flying by, we jotted down our initial thoughts and then worked on further. Although the seating was comfy, Wal strangely dropped on the floor to search for inspiration on the ceiling. The minutes pretty much ticked on in the same fashion. We had five hours to come up with a campaign idea to fit the local challenge and like most teams we used and needed every last second.

At 4pm the work was stopped and the teams rushed down for their well earned break before presenting their ideas to the groups of judges. Everyone was stressed out as the pressure was high – everyone wanted to succeed.

After presenting we spent the time waiting for the results with calming beer and nervous chatter.

The break gave us a second to catch up with a few mates and take some snaps. Here's James & James & Jai & Wal. They're great guys and are currently on placement at Lowe, they work in our former cheese factory office.

Next the announcement of the winners. Short, sharp and straight to the point. Naturally it left most disappointed but the two winning ideas totally deserved it, they were quite brilliant. Sadly none of them was us but hey there's always next year, a great day like this deserves a second try.

To drown the sorrow and celebrate the lesson the whole bunch went on to the pub.

Where people discussed the work, made new friends and enjoyed the Friday evening after this day of brain acrobatics.

Congratulations to the winners, Miranda and Zoe from LeanMeanFightingMachine and Enrique and Borja from Mother. Even crestfallen about not having won we agreed that their work was great and earned them the prize: They will attend the European wide competition, which will be held for two days in Stockholm in a months time. So fingers crossed for our UK teams! Go on guys make us proud.

After a couple of hours things became hazy and the photos blurry, good times. It was a great learning curve for us and can't wait for next year.