Create an awesome portfolio with these Spec ads

If you are interested in getting a job as an advertising creative, either as a copywriter; an artist then you need to create Spec ads in your Portfolio or BOOK. Make your Portfolio something out of the ordinary. Once you join an agency you have to craft regular stuff (most of the time!) but this is your time to plug off the stoppers and go for it! Make your portfolio outstanding and out-of -the box with these easy tips.

Mention SPEC on each ad. If you have the original ad you could put it along with your SPEC ads.
Hopefully you have a wonderful collection of ads from the print media and taped commercials, radio spots, include those that you dislike. If you have collected ads and created a Chap book with interesting ads and uninteresting ones - good, bad and the ugly – then each ad should be in the charmed circle of your ad collection, separated with sections for each type of ads for easy reference. This will help you when you create your portfolio.

Before you jumpstart, remember

Concepts, headlines are magical and have no connection to a fixed, planned strategy. Let go and watch them appear while you’re watching cricket or a movie or a boring serial- in fact never know! So be ready and handy with your pen and pad or grab your mobile to jot ideas or record them (pretend you’re talking to someone!).

The trick sometimes is to select print/ t/online/social ads which are not very famous or good  and in your perspective are flawed. Either the headline or the visual is boring; you can redo them for your SPEC portfolio.

First, does the ad have a good USP?
Does it show a clear - benefit of the benefit (what is the benefit to the customer - of the benefit you are claiming it has!). Complicated, not really! Just remember – how does this product/service benefit my target audience.


Choose ads from different categories - FMCG –that have a short shelf life, Lifestyle goods, White goods like washing machine, fridge, microwaves...

1.  Be the change! 
 Choose a well-known product but a bad ad (visually or typographical) that you can change with excellent concept, headlines, visual, copy- right to the tagline. Though a tagline is not changed normally, it is your portfolio after all - if you feel like it then go ahead and write a new one! Ideally you wouldn’t try to mess up with a line like ...Just Do It!!

2.   Theme them!
Make 3 ads that can be continued...with the same theme and different headlines. 

3.  Campaign to get voted!
Choose at least 2 complete campaigns with an all media connect. Every ad should speak of the same USP. That would mean 3 print, tvc’s, radio, web, btl which include danglers or standees, out of home advertising, social media, you tube promotions et al. Think of unusual ways to communicate.

4.   Categorically speaking!
Then choose another category- maybe a beauty product, perfume, toiletries, snacks - in fact anything that is used often and is relatively cheap and has a quick turnover.
Develop for your BOOK brands that aren’t very well-known. The reason is that if you do famous ads like Nike, Levi’s etc. you probably won’t get the attention you need to your creativity. For such ads are so deep set in the minds of customers (that means the agency person looking at your portfolio and that could even be the CD of the agency. So choose ads that are unusual or not doing well enough to make an impression

5. be stupid!
Create an all media campaign for one more product. Try a zany truly out-of-the box, crazy if you must be. Definitely - Be Stupid (Diesel tagline).  Read the book ‘Be Stupid’ by Rosso Renzo the creator of Diesel Jeans. A truly inspiring book of creating opportunities out of nothing and ‘Being stupid’ - doing what others think will not succeed and proving them wrong!
Minus is plus!

6. Create a negative ad made positive - the Bill Bernbach approach. Remember Volkswagen's LEMON, Avis' - We try harder. Also a local ad like the Indian ad Nirma created magic with its campaign in the late 80’s and gave Surf a run for their money. That’s when Surf created their brand ambassador in Lalitaji with “surf ki kharidari main hi samajhdari hai...”   hitting out at the cheaper Nirma with the premise of cheap need not be good - “...sasta hai to kya bhaiyya hum to sab tol mole ke kharidte hain...” ( is not everything, i buy things that have value! )which put Surf back in the upper middle class housewife’s shopping basket. So also’ The Onida “devil” ad’ got them leverage to compete with Videocon and others.

7. Will you...?
How about creating an ad for a matrimonial ad for yourself – where you are the brand and you create an irresistible appeal to your target audience – of course, here you would look for a single partner!! Don’t stick to typographical.

8. Market to market!
One great classified Jobs ad (they can be very creative)!

9. Up for a cause!
Though social ads are not very crucial, it could turn out a great one-off in your medley of ads
Make that headstart!. Get started with creating your BOOK - your portfolio and then check the ‘how to write your resume here to land an interview. Resumes get you the interview that is one foot in the door. The agency will either ask you to send your portfolio this could take a while so carry on with the portfolio and check out as many agencies big, medium small - you never know which one is The One.

Check out Ogilvy on Advertising,‘Hey, Whipple squeeze this’ Advertising Copywriting, Tested Advertising by John Caples Check them on Amazon. Also a must read is Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins this one you can download free.

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