Saturday, 16 April 2011

How to get a Watford place

So I'm winding up the blog.
This is because I've lost my love for advertising.
I didn't try and fail. I've just changed path...

I did manage to get a place on the Watford course. I just didn't accept the offer. If anyone wants to know roughly how to do it, its all here in the archives. The creative test I used is here. The portfolio I submitted is here...(it only got 6/10 so you should look to do better than this). Tony doesn't really like digital so don't do complex google-maps-treasure-hunt rubbish. If you do digital, do something simple like Subservient Chicken. And before you do anything, I'd read 'Hey Whipple, Squeeze This', 'Advertising is dead, long live advertising' and 'The Idea Writers'.

So yeah. Don't get me wrong, I still think that a lot of the work (especially in the 60s) was great, fresh, exciting, artful, witty, intelligent. But I've realized that I don't like selling. I don't like 'creating want'. And for those who say that advertising can't make people buy something they don't already want or need - that it simply convinces them chose my brand over the competitor's - well, I don't like branding either. Creating something from nothing - adding value which isn't there and getting people to pay more for it. Some people think that stuff is cool, but I'm not one of them. And I'm not so keen on state of advertising today... the phrases crowd-sourcing, multi-platform, user-experience and brand advocacy make me feel empty inside and a little angry.

And while I'm aware that the lifestyle of an adman would be fun - drawing, filming, travelling... If I'm doing something I don't believe in, then deep down inside I'll never really be satisfied. So I'd rather do something meaningful if possible - and if not meaningful, at least something which is appreciated rather than widely hated.

Yes there are your Duncan Marshalls (an ex-Watfordian himself) who do good and meaningful things in the field of advertising, like helping get clean water to millions (see Tap Project) or Obama elected, but these type of people are 1 in a million. And the type of projects those types of individuals initiate are vastly removed from what I'd label advertising. They're simply great ideas.

And you don't have to be in advertising to have one of those.


  1. Would you mind uploading the portfolio you used again? It would be nice to see what level of work gets a 6/10.

    What did you decide to do instead of Watford?

    1. Okay... done. Let me know if you need the creative test i did uploading too.

  2. I'm on my phone at the moment but will upload the folio later.

    Ive decided to go into non-commercial law. It's a long and expensive road ahead, but I feel I'm in the right line of work. I get to work hard and argue all day long but for a good cause!

  3. Dear Tom,

    I have the same question as the previous poster: Would you mind uploading the portfolio you used again? It would be nice to see what level of work gets a 6/10.

    Kind regards,


  4. Hi Paul, if you drop me an email, I'll send them over - it's easier. I'm on heg87(at)live(dot)com.

  5. Hi Tom, Just stumbled across this really, I know it's an old post etc. You made a lot of sense. At least you didn't waste years headed down the wrong path before realising. Best of luck. Martyn