Tayburn sets ‘impossible’ briefs for placement applicants

Creative consultancy Tayburn has set a series of seemingly impossible briefs for students and graduates applying to its annual placement scheme. Challenges include selling a theme park to the over 60s and putting a positive spin on an oil spill in one tweet…

Creative consultancy Tayburn has set a series of seemingly impossible briefs for students and graduates applying to its annual placement scheme. Challenges include selling a theme park to the over 60s and putting a positive spin on an oil spill in one tweet…

The two-month paid placement at Tayburn’s Edinburgh office gives candidates the chance to work on live projects with creatives, account directors and strategists.

To test applicants’ suitability, the company has designed a website, newspaper and downloadable PDF which contain a series of bizarre and mind-bending tasks.

Challenges are designed to test candidates’ ability to problem solve and apply their creative thinking to commercial briefs, says design director Matt Robinson.

“Students coming out of university tend to show great creative thinking skills, but what they’re not necessarily taught is commercial application in a branding context,” he says.

“The main issue with this is that the science of human behaviour – how people think, how they react with brands and why they respond to them – is neatly avoided. And when you look through student portolios, it shows,” he adds.

Instead of preparing polished presentations and detailed pitches, candidates are asked to simply jot down their ideas and sketches on the pages provided. Applicants aren’t expected to provide final solutions but rather, demonstrate how they would approach each project, says Robinson.

“Of course, the tasks aren’t reflective of what we do here on a daily basis, but responses to impossible briefs are much more reflective of how someone works than a straightforward, generic one,” he adds.

Candidates are also invited to sketch a self portrait and write their own epitaph to give an insight into their personality, which Robinson says is often difficult to gauge at interviews.

It’s a fun concept and anyone that can sell the unsellable or sum up Tatcher in a thumbnail-sized drawing certainly deserves a job. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and you can download briefs at tayburn.co.uk/deepend

More from CR

How BK’s Subservient Chicken Was Made

Burger King’s Subservient Chicken website made a huge impact on both the public and the ad industry when it first launched in 2004. In honour of its tenth birthday, we’re publishing this article from the book How 30 Great Ads Were Made, which tells the story of its making…

This is… illustrated art monographs from Laurence King

Publisher Laurence King has launched a new series of illustrated art monographs, presenting an accesible visual guide to the work of iconic creatives. The series begins with a look at Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol…

Frank Budgen directs Taylors of Harrogate ad

BMB has created a curious new ad for coffee brand Taylors of Harrogate, which is directed by Frank Budgen. The spot eschews any of the usual themes that we might associate with coffee ads – steaming mugs, hands shaking beans – and instead takes us on an abstract journey into the unknown…

David Pearson: Type as Image

David Pearson’s exhibition at London’s Kemistry Gallery showcases the designer’s work for Penguin, Zulma and Pushkin Press. We asked Pearson about the show and his career so far…

Speciality-Drinks_logo

Middleweight Designer

Speciality Drinks
Europackaging_logo

Creative Designer

Euro Packaging
Silver-Lining_logo

Project Managers

Silverlining Furniture Limited