CEU students have worked together in teams to create advertising campaigns for the Mamás en acción (“Mums in action”) association – and both the outcome and the process itself have been highly professional. Fourth-year CEU students from the Advertising & Public Relations and Audiovisual Communication degrees worked together on these campaigns. The students pooled their talents in multidisciplinary teams and put themselves at the service of other people. This is the latest result of a long-running project at CEU, involving both innovation in teaching and what we like to call learning and service. It’s about bringing together students from different areas to focus on a single project of social interest, working with NGOs, foundations, associations, etc.
For this particular project, Paula Hernández and Carlos Pellicer acted as copywriter and cinematographer, respectively, on their team, to create a commercial entitled Queremos dejar de cantar (“we’d like to stop singing”). Meanwhile, Gemma Porta and David Peñaranda were the creative director and cinematographer, respectively, on the team behind Tu acción genera beneficios (“your action makes a difference”).
What has it been like to work alongside students from another degree? It’s a taste of things to come in your career, but it can’t have been easy.
Carlos: That’s right. At first, it was a bit difficult, but then over time we established good academic, working and personal relationships, especially in the post-production process.
I think the whole team has grown and developed professionally, especially as we’ve been able to learn from our mistakes. The project has been an opportunity to experience what work is really like at a production company or advertising agency. And we really did feel like professionals, with the same responsibilities that we would have had as if we were already established in the industry.
Paula: I agree with Carlos. Once we got over the initial communication problems, something to be expected due to our lack of experience, the work progressed smoothly.
We all learnt from our mistakes – I think we all agree on that. And I also think that the theory behind the course was really important. If we’d seen things more clearly at the beginning, we could have easily resolved some of the problems we had. If we’d understood the role each person at the agency needed to play in the project, then we could have distributed responsibilities more specifically and then the workload would have more manageable.
The project has given us the opportunity to feel like real professionals because of the freedom and autonomy we had to take decisions and act on them. We gave free rein to our imaginations to create the corporate video which we are really proud of.
‘The project has given us the opportunity to feel like real professionals because of the freedom and autonomy we had’
Your video, Queremos dejar de cantar, was chosen as the best commercial by Mamás en acción. Congratulations. Let’s hear now from the other team. What was it like for you to work hand in hand with creative people from other backgrounds?
Gemma: To be honest, we were afraid at the start. We didn’t know who was going to be on our team, or what their way of working would be. We didn’t know each other at all. But we were lucky and together we made a great team. We got on well from the start and we always listened to each other.
Of course, we’ve worked as part of teams from the first year of our degree, but we’d never done it like this. It’s really helped us to learn how to get organized and ensure that everyone in a large team is on the same page.
David: I agree. In our case, before the whole team met, the producer and I got together so as to get to know each other a bit. I think that getting to know the team with which you’re going to spend some pretty intense days working together is crucial.
After that initial meeting, there was a great atmosphere and the filming went perfectly. All the team members were totally committed, even when we were asking for help with things they’d never done before such as helping out with the lighting.
You’ve certainly learnt something you can apply in your future careers. But working on a social project offers even greater learning opportunities.
David: Absolutely. I’d already heard of Mamás en acción, but until you actually experience something, you don’t really understand the situation. Those of us who are lucky to have the love and support of our families and good health take all that for granted. To have the chance to contribute to the things they do has been really wonderful and I hope our project can help to alleviate those children’s loneliness.
Carlos: That’s right. Not only have we learnt something as workers, but we also felt good in the knowledge that everything we were doing was aimed at helping other people. Our aim was to really transmit the message that the NGO was looking for and I do think that we achieved that, both visually and in the song’s lyrics.
Gemma: I totally agree. And I also think that we’ve learnt something else that is important, which is to respect other people’s opinions. It all adds up. Whenever a member of our team gave their opinion, we always took it into account and I think that’s why we bonded so well. We’ve gone from being two groups of people who didn’t know each other to being a group of friends.
Paula: Definitely. Apart from having the chance to get to know the great work that this NGO does and the situation these children are in, we learnt other very valuable things, as Gemma has said. In fact, I think that these kind of experiences should be available for students on every degree, because working with students from other fields challenges us to get better at working in a team and managing situations. It also helps us to become more patient.
Of course. Let’s talk about what you created. Although all the material created by all the teams is valuable, your two commercials in particular were extraordinary. Paula, We’d like to stop singing was, incredibly, an original song, a lullaby, and you wrote the lyrics. Tell us about your role in this process.
Paula: Sure. My role was to write – I was the copywriter. Although the whole group contributed, the lyrics were basically mine, with a few modifications to fit with the melody that I put together with the female singer we contacted – her musical knowledge was much better than mine.
I also wrote, together with my teammates, the scripts for the podcasts and, outside of my specific role, I also took part in the search for actors and locations, as we had some problems finding the right place to film in.
Carlos: My role was that of cinematographer, although as were a small team, as Paula has said, in the end we ended up all pitching in together and helping each other. Just as they helped me put together the storyboard, I also got involved in the paperwork for the production, but then when it finally came down to filming, each person had their role and stuck to that. If not, it would have been chaos. We didn’t have a lot of time so we had to have everything prepared and ready to go.
David and Gemma, your project, Tu acción genera beneficios, is also noteworthy because you got a real company got involved in the production too. Tell us about that.
David: Yes, like Carlos, I was the cinematographer. I was really intrigued by the idea that my creative teammates came up with for the commercial. The only thing I didn’t like is that it wasn’t a true story.
After thinking about the idea a little bit, I thought of Perfumarte – which is not surprisingas I did a placement there and learnt a lot too. I talked to my teammates about setting up a collaboration with them and when they said yes, I got in contact with Carlos Ayala, the managing director, who’d been involved in various charity activities previously, and he said yes too.
Gemma: And in my case, as the creative director, part of my role involved coming up with the concepts and giving visual form to all the ideas that the team had. Then I had to come up with things that could bring the project to a successful conclusion, drawing on everyone’s hard work and talent (and there’s a lot more to come there).
‘Working with students from other fields challenges us to get better at working in a team and managing situations. It also helps us to become more patient’
Congratulations to all four of you and all your teammates for all your hard work. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Carlos: Yes. I’d like to thank all the participants in the project, both my teammates and the actors who gave up their time for filming. I’d especially like to thank the singers, who are the ones who really shape the commercial into what it is. Because it wouldn’t be the same without the song. I’d also like to thank our lecturers and the NGO Mamás en acción for putting their faith in us to carry out a project like this.
Paula: I’d like to thank the nursery, Guardería Aurora, for letting us film at their facilities and also special thanks too to the singers, as Carlos said. We’re very grateful to Teresa Requena and her boyfriend, Gonzalo Mínguez, for giving us the great gift of their voices and their talent in composing the song and playing the guitar. Because I agree with Carlos that that’s the strong point of our project and that it wouldn’t have been possible without their help.
David: For my part, I’d also like to thank Carlos, the managing director of Perfumarte, for his commitment to this project and everyone who made it possible, including, of course, my teammates. With this commercial, we’ve been able to put our talents to good use and to learn how to build successful working relationships. It’s been a wonderful experience and we’ve all become good friends.
Gemma: I’d like to echo what David has said. I think that the fact that we got all got on has been the key to our success, in addition to our hard work and the time we spent to find the best creative idea and the best possible final outcome.
The Tu acción genera beneficios team, in addition to Gemma and David: Patricia Vilena, Esther Pérez, Alejandro Colomer, María del Mar Benlloch, Joan Olmos, Aixa Blumberg, Elena Nieto, Marta Andrés and Carles Martell.
The Queremos dejar de cantar team, apart from Paula and Carlos: Claudia Silvestre, Blanca Jordá, Paloma Fernández, Noemí Prado, Ana Minguet, Marta Monfort, Àngela Vidal and Almudena Segovia.