I am just back and recovered from a fantastic week in Dubai, where the J. Walter Thompson Craft Skills course was hosted this year. It was a really impressive venue for all forty delegates to gather, a first time for many of us to travel to the Middle East. The delegates were from a blend of roles from J. Walter Thompson agencies from different parts of the Middle East, across Europe and the United States.

This year four DDFH&B group employees attended, so we started off on a good foot with safety in numbers on our first day in Dubai. We were quickly reassured with a warm welcome from lots of friendly faces from JWT offices around the globe. The week was filled with engaging lectures and a live client brief on our first morning. 

We were split into 6 groups and were working on our pitch in between lectures. I was lucky enough to be on a team with each member having a unique nationality and background, from 5 different agencies. Every team member had a unique perspective and it was fascinating to see how different agencies, cultures and positions approached our challenging client brief.

We had a similar working schedule to the girls who attended last year. The glamorous setting of Dubai did challenge our concentration at times, but it was wonderful to experience their world and a new perspective on how agencies target consumers in the UAE - a completely different set up to Dublin! 

The gang of JWT Craft Skills 2015 – delegates, organisers & lecturers

We started with the Myers Briggs personality test. While it was intriguing to learn more about ourselves, it was also really insightful to learn about what other personality types we work with - whether it be clients or our colleagues - and gain a greater understanding of how their personality types work and how we can adapt ourselves to work better together.

We were kept on our toes with lots of in-class exercises and group work throughout lectures. And for me, there were a couple of particularly interesting learnings from the week. 

  • The first was about challenging client briefs. Before populating your brief template stop and think about what you are trying to achieve with the ‘Get…To...By…’ positioning. If you can nail that, it will lead to a really clear brief and great work!
  • The second was for your presentation deck, an example of the Hollywood Logline. As a creative tool, try writing one sentence that explains the whole purpose of the story you are about to tell your audience. This will help you keep things as clear and concise as possible!

On our last day, we were all nervous for the client pitch presentations. But we pulled it off thanks to our supportive lecturers and brilliant classes throughout the week. It made for six really different and interesting presentations on the day. 

Examples of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide

See how JWT Puerto Rico delt with the island’s work force problem:

A creative team from our class were actually involved in the concept of this Shell example:

While J. Walter Thompson Dubai tackled a big challenge asking women to openly discuss breast cancer checks: 

Overall, I would say this was definitely a fantastic learning experience for all of us. And what’s more, we now have a brilliant network of connections in JWT around the globe.

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