Work Experience 2018

By Laura Parker / Focus / 12th July 2018

Every summer here at Focus we welcome a group of students from Ipswich School to join us for two weeks of work experience. Instead of just getting the guys to shadow us and learn about the industry, we throw them in at the deep end!

The Task

The nature of our work means client work often isn’t appropriate for the work experience students to engage with, so instead of watching how we work, we encourage them to try something different. Every year we ask our work experience students to come up with a product they believe there to be a need for, and market it appropriately. Year after year our students have come up with some brilliant ideas and accompanying marketing strategies, and this year was no exception.

George and Henry began by brainstorming various concepts and then whittled them down to their top four. From fifteen original ideas, their final four ideas were;

  • ‘Does it look good on you?’- an app that showed you what clothes looked like on someone your size
  • ‘Game On’ – an app that is similar to Tinder, but for sports, matching people up to games and training sessions in their area
  • ‘Heartrate app’ and app and phone case that helps you lead a healthy lifestyle through heartrate monitoring and diet advice
  • ‘Date Rape Straw’- a straw that changes colour when a drink is spiked

The Final Concept

After a focus group and a vote, it was decided that the Date Rape Straw would be their final concept so the guys got straight into their market research. They identified their competitors and analysed what made their straw different and better than the current market offerings. Looking into the issue of drink spiking was also part of their process, and they uncovered some worrying statistics and footage that further affirmed the necessity for a product like theirs.

Next it was time to choose a name, so the team starting deliberating and creating various options for the name, slogan and hashtag of their spike-preventing straw. These were all then put out to a focus group who voted on their favourites. From the top two, Henry created an opinion poll on Instagram, so that his followers could vote, further increasing the breadth of their market research. From that, Sip Safe – The Last Straw was born!

The Logo

It was time to enlist the help of our Creative team at Focus so Henry and George began envisioning what their brand would look like and who their branding needed to appeal to. Using mood boards and market research the guys created personas for who they would target and what their likes and dislikes were. Market research complete, the team briefed in our creative studio for a young, fun, gender neutral brand which is suitable for all ages. George also provided the design team with some of his sketches on how he had imagined the logo to look.

Lead Digital Designer Neill got to work and designed four different logos for Sip Safe for the team to choose from.

It was back to market research to see which logo got the best response, and the final, clean, and gender natural design was a clear winner. Henry and George also agreed with the research, saying they liked ‘the way the logo changes colour like the straw, and the unfussy typeface’.

Logo sorted, it was time to work on the straw itself. Fully aware of the impact of plastic, our students were adamant their straw would be made of paper which would work like litmus paper, changing colour in the presence of drugs such as such as Rohypnol, Xanax, Ketamine or GHB. John, our CGI Visualiser at our sister company Navigation, worked to create CGI versions of the straw with it’s storage, whilst Neil designed branded versions of the straw.

As their business plan and marketing strategy was B2B, aimed at bars and clubs rather than consumers, providing storage was important.

Marketing Campaign

Happy with their final product it was time to secure a strong marketing campaign. This was easier said than done, as Henry and George recognised that their campaign would have to be two-fold; primarily for businesses, clubs, bars, and festivals, and secondly for the public, so they’re aware of the product and know how to use it.

It was decided that a launch night would be important with public demonstrations of the straw in action, giving out free straws at festivals and big events is a great way to increase brand awareness. Influencer marketing was also a key consideration, not only relying on endorsements from celebrities and influencers, but also from brands and organisations such as the Police.

Marketing Collateral

The creative team at Focus, lead by Henry and George’s brief, created a variety of marketing collateral mock ups to bring Sip Safe to life. A clean and informative website was created, to go alongside the Instagram grid and corresponding Instagram story and Snapchat story. Finally, the students worked with Neill to create a video storyboard incorporating one of their influencers; Lilly Singh.


The final stage of their fortnight of work experience was a big presentation in front of Henry and George’s parents, teachers, and Focus’ Creative Director Jason. George and Henry presented incredibly well, convincing all those in the room the credibility of their product and marketing strategy.

George said at the end of the week; “This experience helped me to understand what it would be like to work at a marketing company. I have never pitched anything let alone a product that I have researched and designed which as a result really helped my confidence… I do DT and Art at school so this experience at Focus has helped me to understand how both of these subjects are used in a company. It’s been a pleasure working at Focus and again I am very grateful.

Here at Focus we love working with students to help them get an insight into life at a bustling marketing agency and enjoy giving them the creative freedom and autonomy that differentiates work life from school. We can’t wait to see what our next cohort of students bring next year!

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Laura Parker

Written by

Laura Parker

Laura is our Marketing Manager at Focus. She is busy taking Focus' content strategy to the next level and spreading the word about our bustling agency. When she's not attached to Instagram, you'll find her following cute dogs around and playing rugby.