SM: We sit in the audience of advertising conferences amidst some of the world’s most creative problem solvers. We hear the people on stage making intelligent arguments, drawing culture-shaping conclusions from in-depth research, recounting how they’ve turned a worldwide corporation around or how they’ve created something nobody has ever seen before. The people in the audience listen intently, investing in their own creativity.
Contrast this for a second, if you will, with the standard of work we’re creating as an industry. We’re being forced to churn out content like it’s sausage meat with no time or budget. We’re all left feeling unfulfilled and under utilised. And we are. We’re an industry full of untapped potential to turn our skills to bigger problems than our clients dislike of the banner copy. What if we all did a little something on the side to change the world?
CC: Last year, we created ‘CRACK + CIDER: Shop for the homeless’ as a means to sooth our aching souls from the sometimes vacuous world of advertising. As Co-Founders, who met at ad school and went on to join the industry with lofty expectations and naive dreams of using our brands media space as a mouthpiece to spread our positive messages across the world. We quickly realised we had been duped. There was no caviar, shoots in The Bahamas or whisky for breakfast. Only KPIs of increasing the CTR of a CTA.
Our talk, ‘How Adland Made Us Turn To Crack And Cider’ showed the real process, motivations and mental breakdowns that comes along with having a social impact side project in the hopes of making our audience see it’s truly possible to make a difference in the world in their spare time. We ended with six tips we’ve learnt along the way:
Tip 1: Passion
When launching your own social impact project we firmly believe your passion for solving the problem will strongly equate to your tenacity: an essential trait to ensure success. As with creating anything, there are going to be hurdles on your journey: funding, time constraints, trolls, the list is endless. Our personal connection to the effects of homelessness helped us overcome each and every hurdle we encountered.
Tip 2: Simplicity
It’s easy to get excited about how big a project can get. To feel as though you have a global solution and a roll-out plan to execute by the end of the month. We have found that, in-fact, the best way to have the most impact is to start small. Where complexity is paralyzing, simplicity is catalysing. Just get that ball rolling and the momentum will keep you going.
Tip 3: People
It’s not just a cheesy Oscar speech - it’s the people around you who will help you get there. Although 99% of the people you tell might think you’re mad, the 1% who don’t will likely be instrumental in making your vision come to life. We certainly couldn’t have launched, let alone got to where we are today, without photographers, producers, PR professionals, designers, sponsorship managers, event organisers (the list really is endless) The good news is that if you follow rule 1, finding that 1% should be easy. Passion is magnetic.
Tip 4: Bravery
The biggest shortcut to success is bravery. Our name was a brave decision but it was ultimately what lead to people talking about us which lead to us having a greater impact.
Tip 5: DIY
A side project is a journey of personal growth (mainly thanks to YouTube tutorials). In our day jobs we’re put in boxes labeled with a certain skillset which doesn’t make you feel particularly empowered. With a side project you do EVERYTHING which is a training course money can’t buy.
Tip 6: PR! PR! PR!
People say that if an idea is good enough people will talk about it. This is not true. We PR’d the crap out of our idea until we accidentally ended up on prime time BBC News.
CC:Since sharing that our side project
has gained $100K in public donations with an average spend of £29, people have
approached us feeling inspired that our simple use of e-commerce has made
people more generous. Using our bold and perhaps provocative project as a case
study it showed our audience that becoming your own client is empowering,
catalysing and, most importantly, it works.
Charlotte Cramer is a strategist at Beyond and spoke at eurobest 2016. Scarlett Montanaro is a creative at AMV XLAB, eurobest speaker and an alumni of the See It Be It programme.