This time last year two graduates from Bucks New University had just found themselves on the shortlist for The Shelf Awards. Their names were Jakob Schumacher and Christoph Hubner. They had great work and a great attitude. Both impressed the guests on the night including leading creative directors, copywriters, art directors, recruiters and other industry experts, who voted them the best graduate creative team of the evening which meant they picked up The Shelf. One year on they share their memories of The Shelf Awards…
This time last year, just before The Shelf Awards, what were you doing?
Jakob: I was just finishing my degree at Bucks New University and had visited lots of agencies in London like Draft FCB to get some feedback on my portfolio.
Christoph: Jakob and me had just finished studying at Bucks and we were starting to look for jobs, but most of the time we just enjoyed the last few days of a uni life.
What did you think of the other graduates’ work?
Jakob: The level of the other graduates’ work was very high. It was really interesting how other creative teams were thinking and working. Some teams were stronger at thinking, others at the execution. I think if you are trying to be good at both that’s the key for success. Many people say that a good idea is everything. That’s mainly right but it’s also necessary to sell your idea to the client and for this you also have to be good at the execution and presenting. But to go back to the question it wasn’t easy for us to win “The Shelf Award” because there were really strong teams that night.
Christoph: To be honest, that really depends on the work. By some stuff I was just stunned, great idea, cool execution. That’s when I wished I could have come up with these ideas and I really enjoyed the work.
What was the evening of The Shelf Awards like?
Jakob: It was a really great experience for Chris and me cause we had to present our book in front of other creative people from the industry and you have to know we’re from Germany so English is not our main language. But we made it and it was really interesting how people did react to our campaigns and to get their interest.
Christoph: The evening was great fun. When we arrived at The Shelf, we had no expectations what would happen. Then we started to set up our stand and we had a first glance at the others’ work. We didn’t even think about winning. But we wanted to fight for it. 🙂 When the actual event began, time just started rushing by. We went through our book again and again.
What kind of advice and feedback did you get from the guests at The Shelf Awards?
Jakob: There was so much advice on that night and to be honest I just remember a few pieces. But one was quite special for me. NEVER GIVE UP AND BELIVE IN YOUR IDEA. That’s really important not to throw an idea away just because someone doesn’t like it.
Christoph: There is no such thing as the best feedback. What really motivated us was the over all positive and encouraging feedback. Also to discuss the work, laugh about and improve it. We had the feeling that the creatives we were presenting to actually had fun. That was nice.
How did it feel to win?
Jakob: It was our first award and it felt great to win “The Shelf Award” which is by the way hanging right behind me 🙂
What has the last year been like for you?
Jakob: The last year was quite eventful. After The Shelf Chris and I did get a lot of job offers in London but also in Hamburg where we come from. So it was a really hard decision but in the end Hamburg and my girlfriend won. Back in Hamburg I got offered a job at Kolle Rebbe to work for clients like Lufthansa, Nike and Warsteiner.
Christoph: The last year was pretty cool and exciting. First Jakob and me tried to get a job in London. But that just didn’t work out. (Everybody liked us, but they just couldn’t come across with a serious offer.) So after two months we thought we should give it a try and go back to Hamburg and present our book there. Within three days I had a job. So I am a junior Art Director at Scholz & Friends Hamburg. It’s amazing. Jakob’s story is the same, he is a Junior Art Director at Kolle Rebbe. The Shelf and studying in Britain really helped me, as we are international and everything is in English.
What advice would you give graduates at The Shelf Awards this year?
Jakob: As I already said. Believe always in your ideas and do face-to-face networking. To know people from around the industry helps a lot.
Christoph: Don’t stop! Always keep pushing and never give up on your dream. In advertising nothing is impossible. As you are already at The Shelf, follow your path, you’re on the right track.
What does the support of The Shelf Awards mean to graduates?
Jakob: The support of The Shelf Awards is really helpful for graduates like Chris and I was. There are not many nights after your gradation where you have the chance to present yourself in front of so many people from around the industry. Every team got a lot of feedback on their portfolios and even received business cards from big agencies.
Christoph: A lot. It is the contacts with all of the people. It is the self confidence you get while presenting. And it is a huge push of motivation. Hope The Shelf Awards are as much fun and success as last year. Thanks a lot.