Apprentice 2019 (3) – The Astonishing Advert Affair

Published on 30th January 2019

Every other month Director Tom Bowden brings the team together to compete in the Footprint Digital Apprentice Challenge. This year the Footprint Digital team has split into two teams: The Powerpuff Girls and The Michael Scanlon Jazz Band Experience. Having completed round one and round two, the score is poised at 1-1. This is the account of how challenge 3 went for the teams. To the winners…glory. To the losers… you’re fired!

With the competition all tied up, both teams were brimming with excitement with the announcing of a surprise 3rd round. With all meaningful information, other than false pretences of being outside for the entire day, withheld, what we were doing was anyone’s guess. Some brought thermals, others walking boots and some came as normal hoping for the best.

When the day arrived, it was fair to say there were hints of anxiety in the air. They walked in their teams down to the town – a rendezvous point for the beginning of the next challenge. As Tom Bowden addressed the eager Footprint crowd, there was bemusement as the sudden realisation they may be called upon to become the Colchester town crier was suggested. The focus – luckily – changed. The task was not as many had expected. The challenge was to create an on-brand advert for the agency’s 22-day digital marketing executive course.

Each team eagerly set off, ideas bouncing around their overly competitive heads the entire way. Their greeting to the fresh challenge was with the world’s shortest film-role masterclass. This training came courtesy of the brilliant Signals Media team. With the quick-fire lesson over, each group leapt into action assigning roles and conjuring ideas from the deepest epochs of their minds.

Storyboards, scripts and equipment in hand, the real work began with each team bringing their own ideas to life. From the offset, it was clear the teams were steering in different directions. The Power Puff’s going for a direct and corporate approach to hitting the day’s criteria, while Michael Scanlon’s Jazz Band went for… well, something else.

With a hard few hours of filming under their belts, it was time to make their edits. Here, the teams gave their best impressions of the situation room.


Decisions were made, audio was fitted, and confidence grew within both of the teams. They each believed they’d produced something worthy of a win! You could cut the tension with a knife as the teams sat alongside one another in the viewing room ready to be judged. They shared what seemed to be friendly conversations about the day’s trials and tribulations.

The videos played, laughs shared, nods exchanged, and nervous sweat beads hurriedly brushed away, it was time. The judges had watched both adverts. The teams were left for a few minutes to give empty congratulations to one another as they not-so-secretly hoped for their own victory.

The seconds passed. They turned to minutes before the judges reappeared clutching the results. The teams were judged via a score out of 10 for their clarity of message, how on-brand they were, their calls to action, entertainment value, production, creativity, suitability for medium, time management and “overallness”. Out of 90, both teams scored high with an impressive 75 and 78 – only three points separating them. But, it was those three points that made all the difference. The result was a win for Michael Scanlon’s Jazz Band experience! Some members of the team were so delighted, or perhaps surprised, that they even took to standing on chairs, waving their fists primally in the air.

The scores now stand at 2-1.

It was an excellent day with both teams learning new skills, stepping out of their comfort zones and above all enjoying themselves. With the 3rd round of the Apprentice coming to a close, what has Tom Bowden got in store for the team’s next challenges?

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