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DMA Breakthrough Award: A word from the winning team

This year we attended a number of events ran by the IDM and DMA including The Big Book Crit, which is where we heard about the DMA Breakthrough Award competition - around 3 weeks before the deadline! As a creative team in our third year at university, we have experienced working on briefs in a short amount of time, so we decided to go for it and see what we could come up with.

A couple of times we thought we might give up but after brainstorming we came up with some ideas for our proposition To Be Read and from there our campaign developed. It was great to work on a brief that could potentially go live for a brand that is recognisable and also gives us some work to show in our portfolio and on our website.

When we got the call that we had been shortlisted we didn’t realise it was the DMA calling to begin with, Amy thought it was someone trying to sell something but when we heard the news we were left speechless. One of the things we found most stressful after finding out we’d been shortlisted was having to find an outfit for the Awards night that was black tie. Considering we only had two weeks, we did pretty well and also had a chance to rework and develop some of our campaign from feedback the panel had given us.

Having to travel to London from Cheltenham for the pitch meant waking up at 5am, but by the time we arrived at Proximity we were wide awake and ready to present. Getting to pitch at the agency in a board room made the experience feel even more real but once we walked in and saw some familiar faces on the judging panel from some of our IDM events we were put at ease. Also at university we pitch quite a bit so when we presented our idea to increase female readership to The Economist we felt confident that we were showcasing our work to the best of our ability.

On the night of the Awards, we got to meet both of the other shortlisted teams. It was great to meet them and also talk to them about the work that they had submitted and every idea sounded deserving of the top prize. When it came to revealing the winners we were all pretty nervous. Hearing our names called out in front of so many award-winning agencies was so exciting, and then having to walk the length of the room to get to the stage was pretty scary but after being presented our awards we managed to get a picture with the host James Nesbitt which we’re sure our mums will treasure forever.

By winning the DMA Breakthrough Award we have been offered some great opportunities including a two week placement at Proximity London and also an extra two week placement at The Real Adventure in Bristol. Being able to get some real-life work experience will really help further our ambition to work in the advertising industry as a creative team. Hopefully we’ll also be meeting some of The Economist team to see what they thought of our work and for us this will be an amazing opportunity to get the companies opinion on some of the ideas we had for the brief.

Being able to network on the Awards night also let us make contact with people working in the industry. With the drinks flowing we got to pass around our business cards and make a note of names to search on LinkedIn. Even if we hadn't won the top prize, the experience of going to the DMA Awards would still have been a great opportunity but winning it made it even better!

The experience of winning the DMA Breakthrough Award has had us in shock for the past week. It’s been constant emailing and getting in touch with people we met on the night and we’ve even had a couple of agencies contact us out of blue, with offers of placements and book crit opportunities.

We would totally recommend anyone who is interested in getting into the advertising or marketing industry to submit work next year. We’ve had the best experience and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Alis Hâf Rees and Amy Armstrong-Jeffery - The University of Gloucestershire

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