With a focus on developing vital skills, ideas and solutions, the MA Advertising course at London College of Communication encourages students to develop the practical and critical skills needed to navigate to shape and define the future of the advertising industry.
As a copywriter with a love of strategy, current student Mihika Jeyanth has used her time on the course to not only develop her skillset, but to gain valuable experience as a creator and public speaker.
Earlier this year, she was named one of 20 winners in the Cream Collective initiative – a collaboration between leading search firm, The Talent Business, creative agency Creature London and international magazine Campaign. Developed in response to the global pandemic, participants developed responses to a brief titled Turn new hope into new action, which asked them to consider the ways in which positive behaviours developed during Lockdown could be sustained in the long-term.
With support from mentor Carole Davids, Mihika was recognised for her concept, Tap into Nature, which encourages Londoners to retain their newfound appreciation of nature in innovative ways using the striking iconography of the London Underground.
Along with fellow MA Advertising student Roshni Garg and Course Leader Dr Paul Caplan, Mihika also participated in a panel at one of the leading events for marketing, brand, advertising and technology professionals, Advertising Week 2020.
Joined by Andrew Rajanathan (Publicis Imagine) and Amy Kean (&us), the session explored ways for the industry to make the most of the ‘New Gen’, providing opportunities and support needed to make the most of both ‘real’ and virtual talent.
We caught up with Mihika to discuss some of her exciting successes over the past few months, as well as her experience of studying at LCC.
“A way to connect their newfound love for nature to public transport in London”
How did you get involved with the Cream Collective opportunity?
One of our tutors, Claire Lambert, told us about the submission. As advertising creatives, the best way for us to get our work out there and get noticed is to win awards, and Claire would often tell us about various opportunities that we could participate in.
The Cream Collective brief was quite an unusual one, but one that was expected with the pandemic sending the whole world into lockdown. The task at hand was to turn a positive change from lockdown into a lasting change.
I was inspired to find insights that meant something to me - something that, if implemented, would have a purpose and facilitate positive behavioural change. I chose to explore the fact that, despite the negative impact of the pandemic, there was also so much good observed in nature around the world due to reduced human activity.
How did you develop your winning concept?
For a large part of lockdown, I was back home in India where everything was very strict. It was impossible to leave home unless you needed to buy medicines or groceries. I managed to return to London in mid-May to move in with my 2 best friends from the course, and over my first week back, I realised that Londoners had things a bit easier. They could take a walk once a day - coming from a place with intense restrictions, this felt like a dream.
I noticed my friends made a point to go to the park every single day, and so I went with them. They found comfort in nature, in the presence of birds. They watched the eggs of a swan for days, saw them hatch and watched the young swans grow over the 2 months in lockdown. I realised that Londoners had fallen in love with nature, and this small positive change was one that I hoped I could prolong.
My idea was also rooted in the fears that, with people worried about being exposed to the virus, the use of private transport would increase, which would have reversed all of the positive impact of lockdown where carbon emissions reduced by 7%. If people avoided public transport, the impact after lifting lockdown restrictions would be far worse than ever before. I wanted to find a way to connect their newfound love for nature to public transport in London.
“Always think of human truths that aren't obvious, yet are relatable”
Tell us a bit about your creative process.
After I decided on my concept, I started to think of a tagline that would effectively convey my idea.
Being in nature reduces stress and anxiety - emotions that were expected to make travelling on the Tube a challenge after lockdown was lifted. I wanted to encourage commuters to re-route their journey through a park or garden near home or their place of work. By tapping into a station after the one they would usually start they journey from, or by ending their journey a station earlier and walking through a park the rest of the way, they could relieve themselves of the stress before getting to work or getting back home. If they ‘Tap Into Nature’, they could enjoy their journey and make their commute a stress-free experience.
Visually, I drew inspiration from the London Tube map, using the same colours but only marking out the stops with famous parks or gardens near them. The Tube map was recreated to look like birds with immense help from my creative partner, Dayana Deleva, who I met on the course, and who has a background in graphic design.
How did you apply what you’ve learned on MA Advertising to develop your winning idea?
I thought about the fact that the course has encouraged us to always think of human truths that aren't obvious, yet are relatable. An idea that isn’t rooted in a truth doesn’t effectively connect with any audience.
What did you most enjoy about this opportunity?
The responses I’ve received when I’ve shown this idea to anyone is what I’ve enjoyed most. Almost everyone has instantly related to it and understood where I was coming from without me needing to explain my idea.
It’s gave me a lot of confidence about my skills as a copywriter, and furthered my passion for using my creative abilities to do good.
“An opportunity to be heard, and to possibly facilitate change for the next generation of advertising professionals”
What motivated you to take part in the ‘Part of the culture: Do we really want the New Gen to fit in?’ panel at Advertising Week 2020?
We were told about this opportunity in our first week of the course. Paul Caplan, our Course Leader, said that as the ‘new gen’ advertising professionals, Advertising Week would be offering 2 students from MA Advertising the chance to voice their opinions on-stage.
I believe there’s a lot about the industry that could change. Diversity, gender and cultural representation is largely discussed but not much is being done about it. Graduates are expected to have years and years of work experience when no one is willing to give any opportunities to gain that experience. This panel discussion was an opportunity to be heard, and to possibly facilitate change for the next generation of advertising professionals.
What major themes did you discuss?
The objective of the panel was to create an ‘Ageless Manifesto’ that would make the industry fairer for advertising professionals of all age groups and backgrounds.
My contribution was the point that the industry needs to start asking young aspirants what they want: from internships, from jobs, even from job applications. So much is asked of us, like a CV, a portfolio, a side-hustle, sometimes even a video - something that makes us interesting and to stand out, but at the end of it, when we’re unsuccessful, all we get it a standardised email that states: ‘Due to the overwhelming number of responses, we cannot provide any feedback’.
The industry works on feedback, even within the agency structure. This should be true for applicants too – the least that agencies can give back to aspiring advertising professionals is some feedback for the hours and hours they put into their applications.
What were your highlights of the experience?
Although Advertising Week was a virtual event due to the current climate, I was able to make connections with my fellow panellists, and the opportunity to speak at a global event was definitely a memorable experience.
“Perspective about my potential, and the impact that advertising can have on the world”
What have you most enjoyed about studying MA Advertising at LCC?
I came to LCC to learn about the advertising industry in the UK and to hopefully find my place in this exciting world, but I’ve taken away so much more. I’ve learnt about so many countries and cultures from my peers and I’ve made friends for life.
How has your MA helped to shape your career aspirations?
This course has given me a lot of confidence about my craft as a copywriter. Everything I’ve learnt has helped me to gain perspective about my potential, and the impact that advertising can have on the world.
I’ve always had an inclination for strategy, and I’ve learnt that being a strategic thinker has added strength to my creative thinking. MA Advertising has given me so many opportunities to prove myself, and I am fortunate to have been able to deliver and gain invaluable experience.