Advertising: Jean Genie

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Posted by - Starbots Creative

Are you keeping abreast of this years Apprentice on BBC 1? In week 2 the candidates were summoned to the Istituto Marangoni, where they were to become jean genies and create an advertising campaign for Japanese denim.

Our design team got cold shivers watching the interaction between the candidate and the designers. We watched from behind sofas and closed hands as the candidates pored themselves over the backs of the team at Designworks. It is imperative that a balanced relationship exists between designers and clients, where both parties listen to each other and trust each other’s expertise.

There was a great interchange where designer Courtney attempted to steer the candidates into thinking about the end user and not their own habits. Whilst discussing the inclusion of a Japanese Cherry blossom finish on the packaging of a men’s denim line:

Designer:       “Is that a feature you think users are going to pick up on and appreciate?”

Candidate:    “I’ve kept a fragrance box for 15 years, it now stores minidiscs”

Designer:      “What would the ongoing function of that box be [for the user] would they put their minidiscs in it?”

The irony that the candidate failed to realize was that he was talking about the storage of an outdated and failed technology, which made the teams reason for including the cherry blossom design as superfluous as the doomed technology of which he spoke. Put simply, it is our job as a design agency to gently nudge the client back on track.

Know your audience

What Courtney was trying to do, as the designer, was get the client to really focus on the target market and the audience. Just because a team of 6 candidates think that a cherry blossom design is a nice idea, doesn’t mean that it is appropriate for the end user. Interestingly in Lord Alan Sugar’s opening statement to the two teams he states that the feedback from the industry experts and top advertising executives will be fed back to him, the client. How many times have we seen Sir Alan Sugar wearing denim? The answer, not many.