When alumni return to college to speak to our current students, they’re always surprised by how much they themselves get out of the experience. Just ask Wilf Eddings and Akwasi Poku.
“Seeing young minds tackle a brief in a fresh and naïve manner – in a good way – was my favourite part about returning to college,” Wilf told us.
Wilf and Akwasi, both former students, are now working for international advertising agency R/GA on some of the company’s biggest campaigns.
Their clients include the likes of Google and Nike, while their work can take them all over the world in the sort of career that our students dream of. They brought that experience and knowledge to the classroom when they returned to speak to media students.
“There was so much creative talent at college and we wanted to offer education from the ad industry’s perspective as to what the industry is and how to get into it. We wanted to help pass on a bit of that knowledge and hope to get some of those kids interested,” Wilf said.
Wilf and Akwasi began with a presentation of what they do at R/GA and some of the projects they’ve been involved in, including a World Cup campaign that resulted in more than 2 billion online impressions.
They then gave our students a taste what life is like in the ad industry by setting them a brief to come up with an advertising campaign in just 30 minutes. Tasked with creating a campaign to ‘show why Nike is better than Adidas’, the students were split into groups while Akwasi and Wilf offered advice and pointers along the way.
“I was most impressed with the different angles that each group took – no one was wrong, everyone had a unique approach to their work and some of the ideas were just so fresh,” Wilf said.
“It put into perspective of how quickly generational differences come into play, especially in the technology they use.”
Sharing ideas and moving forward
After working on their campaigns, the student groups presented their ideas to Wilf, Akwasi and the rest of the class. The ideas ranged from the sublime to the downright wacky, but our two expert alumni pointed out that with a bit of focus, even some of the ‘sillier’ ideas could actually become reality.
Wilf and Akwasi subsequently wrote to each group individually to give them feedback on their ideas and are now planning to invite the class to the R/GA offices to pitch to the Account Managers for Nike, showing just how much of an impression the experience left on them.
Wilf added: “The reactions from each student during the ideas workshop was the highlight for me. To others thinking about getting involved with the College, I’d say that it’s a valuable way of getting involved in the place you started in, and well worth the morning you might give up for it.”