Can marketing change the world for the better in 24 hours?

The Drum Network believes so. And they’re on a mission to prove it in their annual ‘Do It Day’ event by bringing together 200 top marketing brains from across the industry to battle it out and tackle real world problems set by 14 leading brands such as Amnesty International, Coca Cola and IBM.

The first half of the initiative – ‘Plan It Day’ took place last Thursday. And OgilvyOne Business’s Anna Crichton (Planner), Natasha Freedman (Senior Copywriter), and Andrew O’Sullivan (ACD), were three of those lucky enough to attend. Here’s their lowdown of the day:

Arriving in Shoreditch early in the morning, we were all ready for hipster baristas and fancy coffees. But when you’ve been set a task to try and change the world with such a tight deadline, nobody’s got time for that. So when we arrived at our venue – a huge warehouse at The Truman Brewery, we were greeted with proper builder’s tea and coffee on tap for that much needed fuel to keep us going throughout the day.

So how would we be changing the world today?
Tash was challenged by Coca-Cola to change the behaviour of litterers. Anna would work on encouraging men to eat less meat for the Eating Better Alliance. And Andrew was tasked to get businesses to make a real difference on Britain’s high streets, in a brief set by Business in the Community.

Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of the Drum, Gordon Young, got the day off to a rousing start with an intro that quoted Steve Jobs: “The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do”. Gordon then gave us an overview of what would happen over the next few hours. Half of that time would involve talks to inspire and motivate us and the rest would be spent on our challenges. It was then that realisation dawned on us, we didn’t have a day to change the world. We had three hours!

It was easy to forgot that after listening to Shed Simove, a leading motivational speaker. Shed’s speech was outrageously funny, but also truly inspiring and down to earth. At the end of his talk, every single member of the audience was left believing that yes, anything is possible. Just to give you a flavour of one of the stories he told us: Shed had tried and failed to sell books that took years to write offering advice on unlocking creativity, and how to be successful. He then released a book entitled ‘What every man thinks about apart from sex’ by Professor Sheridan Simove. The book topped bestseller lists worldwide, was translated into a dozen languages, and discussed on live TV shows and in national papers. It even made the Guinness Book Of Records.

The 200 page book was completely blank inside. Genius.


Getting down to business
After Shed’s talk, everyone was keen to crack on with the briefs. The room was full of enthusiasm, as teams frantically debated their best approach. With such tight deadlines, it was interesting to see how quickly ideas were conceived, dismissed, reconceived and decided upon. No time for procrastination here.


With a street food themed working lunch in between, the three hours ran out alarmingly quick. Pens down, and another talk. This time it was Gerry Farrell, advertising legend and former CD at The Leith Agency, who showed us that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones, and if you can explain it in two words? Even better.

Then it was on to the pitches themselves. Each team was given just three minutes to sell their idea, strictly upheld by the use of a timer and bicycle horn. With three different teams pitching for different clients at the same time, it was pretty intense, and felt like a cross between Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice – with a little bit of Hunger Games thrown in.

The pitches went well, with lots of support from the audience. It was time for a beer, while we nervously awaited the results of which ideas would be picked to execute on Do It Day.


The winning ideas
One by one, the judges from each brand stood on stage and announced their winners. Anna’s team narrowly lost out in what the Eating Better Alliance client described as a really tough decision. Tash’s group won their challenge for CocaCola with their Slow TV ‘BinWatch’ campaign, which will be piloted in Glasgow. And Andrew’s team were awarded joint winners by Business in the Community, who thought the other team’s idea was more feasible to execute within the time constraints. But because they also loved the idea of staging an entire high street closure, they made the brave call to try and make it happen. Full details of all the winning ideas are here.

Overall, the experience was a great one, where we learned a lot about what we are capable of. The dynamic we found most interesting was that bringing together creative minds and clients who are ready to take a leap, really can make a real difference.

We would love to use this approach with all our clients: small moments of brave which won’t cost the earth, or take too much time, but can potentially create something brilliant.

Anna, Andrew and Tash would like to send a massive thank you to everyone at the agency who rallied around, creating their own live version of Plan It Day on-site. The overwhelming amount of enthusiasm and ideas generated provided great inspiration and ammunition for the event itself, and also showed the true OgilvyOne Business spirit at its finest.

See you at Do It Day – 10th November.