Saturday, September 08, 2007

Copywriters In Progress graduates!

On 7th of September, the first batch of copywriters graduated after doing the 5-month Copywriters In Progress training.

The graduates are :
Victoria Robertson, ex-flight attendant, soon to join TBWA-ISC
Farid Izanee Che Mat, engineer, available.
Ng He Xiang, graduate from The One Academy, employed by Bates Asia
Faisal Ahmad, ex-engineer, interning at Euro RSCG
Ellie Woon, philosophy major, interning at Euro RSCG
Aaron Mokhtar, ex-event manager, available
Anuradha Kaliappan, ex-journalist, available
Izham Fazely Pakhorarazi, freshly employed copywriter.


They're our first batch of Blue Elephants. Why Blue Elephants? Here's the story...

In 2004, we set up 95% to train aspiring copywriters. A noble mission, we thought, given the great shortage.

However, in our first two years, only 30% of our participants were copy based! The rest were designers and art directors.

We couldn’t find aspiring copywriters in the advertising schools. And the non-advertising school students were either allergic to writing or thought that copywriting involved pirated DVDs.

It seemed that nobody wanted to be a copywriter. Nobody even liked writing! Were we hunting something that did not exist? Something that was only a figment of our happy hour hallucination? That's when Peter coined the term Blue Elephant in a moment of frustration.

Trainer and Director of 95% Janet Lee said "I was tired of telling ad agencies that I didn’t have any available writers for them. The agencies were like a hungry pack of wolves waiting at my door, and everytime a copywriter graduated and walked out, you could hear the teeth snapping as they fought over him or her.”

We must find these Blue Elephants!

So we launched a new strategy targetting people who enjoy writing but have ended up in the more respectable careers: law, engineering, IT, journalism.

(insightful campaign created by Lucideas)

We set up and started running the weekend workshops "Me? A Copywriter?"

Eventually, we found a group of closet writers who have been secretly longing for a career change. Now, after 22 weeks of training, our first batch of Blue Elephants graduated on Friday night.

As proud of them as we are, we are even more elated knowing that we have tapped into a steady stream of fresh writing talent for the ad industry. The Blue Elephant exists!

The way the ad industry responded to our announcement tells us that they are just as excited about these creatures as we are. Several key people took the time to celebrate this graduation with us.

Datuk Vincent Lee, President of 4As and Group CEO of the Feotus Group addressed the audience and shared his big picture view of how building brands is critical to the country's economy.

Jeff Orr, Regional Executive Creative Director of Grey Worldwide povided inspiring insights and tips on what makes a great copywriter. Jeff was one of the judges who came to evaluate the graduates' work during their final module, and here he is pointing out the highlights of each of the graduate's work.

The audience is rapt as Jeff shares his copywriting tips. He is one of those writers who makes it seem easy.

Executive Creative Director of Lowe, Ng Heok Seong, says the industry must do their part to nurture interns. Behind him is our faithful supporter and friend Bas Moreu, Executive Creative Director of TBWA-ISC\Malaysia.

Ray Goh, Associate CD of Dentsu and the legendary Kins Lee, a sharp strategist disguised as an art director and Janet's former partner at Spider Network.

Here's Programme Director Shahnaz (also known as the 'guru besar') showing Neal Estavillo, MD of JWT where the party is.

Grenville Francis giving his POV on copywriting.
Jeff won the Best Caption contest : What would you do with a Blue Elephant? I would turn it into grey.

Raz enjoying choc coated marshmallows. Aaron being modest. Faisal trying to impress Woei Hern Snr Copywriter of Dentsu.

The Blue Elephants doing their final striptease.

Guests of Honour : Datuk Vincent Lee and Jeff Orr.

The 95% team : Shahnaz, Janet, Chris (a great MC for the night), Razlina and Peter.

If YOU think you may be a Blue Elephant, contact
NEXT INTAKE : March 2008

Shahnaz, happy for a change! Peter Gan and Janet Lee, proud of the Blue Elephants :)
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