By Sam Cartmell, Deputy Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather London

 

Sea Containers looked its sparkling riverside best last Thursday when Ogilvy hosted Cream 2016 in partnership with The Talent Business.

The evening was based around a hard-hitting new format where 20 young, student teams presented their work and themselves live to some of London’s top creative directors and ECDs. It was the ultimate creative presentation.

Or as CCO Mick Mahoney described it: “100 job interviews in one go. Frightening!”

OK, it was daunting for the students. But as over 400 people gathered in and around the amphitheatre and the presentations began, you could sense the spirit of generosity among fellow creatives, who realised this was a tough gig but also a wonderful opportunity.

And the presentations were all of the highest order – cheeky, rebellious and creative – in fact everything you want from budding talent.

The drinks flowed, the students soared and the job offers came thick and fast. This after all is the main point of Cream – to find these young stars their first job or placement in the business. And there was no shortage of offers.

More than one ECD was heard cursing after strolling up to a team to casually ask if they might be interested in a job, only to be told that the team had already been offered work by three other suitors.

The students weren’t being ungrateful. They were just hugely in demand.

Our compère, comedian Jake Yapp, said it felt a little like an auction and in a sense it was. Teams from Brazil, Brixton and from right across Scandinavia went head-to-head in an attempt to impress.

Each team was given two minutes to hit the audience in the face with their talent. Some showed work, others told their personal stories while one inventive team even sold their presentation slides to local Southwark businesses as ad space in an attempt to secure the after-party trade.

I’m glad to report all went well. The building brought gasps of amazement and jealousy from some of London’s most cynical and seasoned old-timers. While the new format, many said, redefined Cream and gave it a new lease of life.

Huge thanks go to Jane Douglas, Christine Dunn, Grant Mason and their teams for producing a wonderful and flawless evening.

“Best Cream ever,” someone said to me on the way out.

I think it was an ECD but it may have been that team with the three job offers!