AWARD school application – 2013

I applied for AWARD school yesterday. I was slightly confident until I saw the number of boxes filled with applications. Now I’m officially daunted and worried.

Anyway, here are my answers. I’ll update when I find out how I went.

Edit: I was accepted, yay!

Question 1 – Why are you applying for this course?

(This is the answer I was least happy with)


Question 2 – A piece of advertising that you like and why you like it?

I really like this ad because Microsoft has just been brutally honest. They’re admitting a truth that would have been difficult for them: Internet Explorer sucks.

They could have said some variation of ‘Internet explorer is better’, but by accepting that their old browsers weren’t good, it is more believable that the new browser is better. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

Microsoft don’t pull any punches and they include common sayings such as “IE is only good for downloading other browsers” and the image of the Microsoft browser child eating glue.

While the execution is a bit odd, the truth behind the idea is so good it doesn’t matter. The ad is convincing and personally made me consider IE10.

Question 3 – A piece of advertising that you didn’t like and why you didn’t?

(I took a bit of a risk with this one, choosing a Cannes winner. We’ll see how it plays out)

While there are many ads that are worse than ‘Back to the start’, e.g. Coles’ ‘Down Down’, I didn’t feel ‘Back to the start’ deserved the praise it was given.

As a production, the ad is strong; it has a beautiful soundtrack and interesting cinematography. However I believe the execution did not properly convey the idea. In other words, I felt it was just another corporation saying, “we are socially conscious”, and they are a dime a dozen.

Rather then telling people they are socially conscious, they should have shown people. There are plenty of companies that already use this strategy. For example, McDonalds Canada ran the ‘Ask us’ campaign where they answered difficult questions like ‘Why does your food look different in the advertising than it does in store.” And Google simply takes part in socially motivated projects rather than telling people that they are socially conscious.

I’m not suggesting Chipotle should do the same thing as McDonalds or Google, just that there are better ways to convey the idea. For this reason, I don’t like this ad and I don’t think it deserved the Cannes grand prix.

Question 4 – Create an ad for the  following brief

Product: Nescafe, extra strong coffee blend
Goal: Get more people to drink it
Proposition: The strongest coffee around 


Question 5 – Create an ad for the  following brief

Product: Purina dogfood
Goal: Get pet owners to buy it for their dogs
Proposition: For a stronger dog



  • Sasha Harris

    Love the coffee idea – Just wondering whether you got in? Maybe we’ll be class mates!

    • Justin Butler

      Thanks. Yeah I got in, so excited. Guess I’ll see you there!

      Your stuff online anywhere?

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  • Another Award School Applicant

    That’s cool, I like the Purina idea :) NB. I saw your Award School entry and others listed on this website