By Principles Agency
After spending 4 weeks with our strategy team, Leeds University Business and Marketing Student Oakley Webb shares his Ten Commandments for agency life.

Thou shalt use ‘The Creative C’

The broadest appeal does not equal the most impressions. There’s a gap between brand message and consumer understanding. The smaller you make the gap, the more people understand what you’re saying. But if everyone gets it, nobody cares.

Thou shalt ‘work backwards’

When working creatively, always start bold. What can we do that will get us fired? Now let’s take one step back and do that. The creating a truly thought-provoking advert means pushing the boundaries.

Thou shalt not make any reference to your personal affairs in the office

When Paul or Chloe act interested about your weekend or evening plans, it is imperative that you ignore them. These sirens will charm out the details of your personal life and weaponise them against you. When engaging in office gossip remember: You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say can and will be used against you around the office.

Thou shalt remember that ‘niching’ prevents building brands

I’ve always been taught that narrowing down your target audience into those who already want your product makes for more effective marketing. But what I wasn’t taught is the value of mental availability. Even if consumers don’t want your product now, the impression your advert has made may cause your brand to come to mind when they are in the market in the future.

Thou shalt observe that Ben isn’t averse to adverts

I’m convinced that Ben is the only person in the world who sits through all the adverts, then gets up to make a cup of tea when the programme comes back on. In my four weeks at Principles Ben has shown me roughly 74 adverts. Of those 74, approximately 52 were described as “One of my favourite adverts of all time”. Who says people don’t like being sold to?

Thou shalt notice that Paul is a teddy bear deep down… just really really deep down

Past the bad jokes, beneath the grunts and grumps, Paul’s a ray of sunshine. Just don’t tell anyone, its Principle’s best kept secret. And definitely don’t ask him about the rat-dog.

Thou shalt focus on the brief

Principles has taught me the bread and butter of propositions and briefs. How to take data from consumer, company and category research, and turn those insights into an agency brief. Squeeze that brief into a single-minded proposition, then explode it out into strategic territories and finally, creative concepts. Well, that’s a brief summary anyway.

Thou shalt not underestimate Jasmine’s pool skills

If Jasmine tells you that she’s never really played much pool, she’s lying. She’ll pot all the balls on the table, especially the white one. I’d write the pool related phrases she’s taught me but I’m not sure they’re appropriate…

Thou shalt not look for the what, thou shalt look for the why

It’s easy to see that an ad is performing well and pump more money into it. Anyone can pull a campaign that has failed. But the truly useful information can be found in understanding why something performs the way it does. Why did that resonate with our customers? How can we use this information to inform future decisions?

Thou shalt invest in thy snack drawer

The world of advertising can be a dangerous place so it’s important to have somewhere you can turn. Somewhere safe and supportive, commonly known as the snack drawer. My personal snack drawer ranges from nuts and fruit, to crisps and chocolate.