“Sylvester Stallone wrote the boxing feature film Rocky in 3 and half days and won 3 Oscars for it but somehow it takes ad agencies 3 and half months to write one 30 second advert.”
It's exciting to watch new agency models develop in the wake of the COVID crisis so Creative Moment was interested to hear more from the guys at 10 Days who, like the name suggests, have set up a London based creative agency that delivers work from brief to activation inside 10 days.
So, how does it work?
Here's Creative Moment editor Lucy Smith's chat with Jolyon White, one of the three brothers who co-founded the business in October 2020.
Lucy Smith: 10 Days London claims to fulfil a project in 10 days. How and why did you come up with this concept?
Jolyon White: 10 Days is born out of frustration with the outdated traditional advertising model. It is slow, expensive, full of red tape and unnecessary bullsh*t.
We wanted to show that that you can still make great work for less time, less money and less faff. So 10 Days is the fat-free alternative to big ad agencies. You still get the same quality of work but you get it in 10 (working) days.
We found a cool fact that we’ve named the Rocky Principle which neatly sums up why we exist; “Sylvester Stallone wrote the boxing feature film Rocky in 3 and half days and won 3 Oscars for it but somehow it takes ad agencies 3 and half months to write one 30 second advert, you know something doesn't add up.”
LS: Can you re-tell the story about the million pound project that never saw the light of day?
JW: Prior to 10 Days I was on a winning pitch for a big brand with a fun, relevant and provocative idea - it was a huge win.
We had a million quid to make a TV campaign. We spent 6 months working late nights and weekends mainly due to agency insecurities and client politics. We eventually shot three 30 second TV spots that looked beautiful but this was 8 months after we pitched them the initial idea.
The idea was not as relevant anymore and didn’t align with their new global work so they canned it - just like that. 8 months of work down the drain.
This is the kind of bullsh*t that led us to start 10 Days.
LS: It's a band of brothers who run the show. Can you tell us a bit about who you all are and what you bring to the agency?
JW: Yes a band of 3 brothers - all with very different skills. And we are all very tall.
For the last 10 years I (Jolyon) have worked at Mother, 4 Creative and Wieden + Kennedy as a creative. Creating campaigns for Nike, Lurpak, MoneySupermarket and most famously the Paralympics Yes I Can advert for Channel 4. On top of that I have won awards for directing music videos, adverts and most recently short films. Basically I’m obsessed with everything film.
George is the strategist and producer. He has worked at some of London's most strategic agencies including Grey, Publicis Poke, and Anomaly. He is also an established advert, music video and short film producer. He makes stuff happen. Fast.
Dominic the youngest and tallest brother, is the sound designer and music composer. He has worked at some of London's finest sound production studios (Envy, Factory) His impressive studio in Brighton is where he works his magic specialising in short films, adverts and his own music and collaborations - he recently wrote a song with Nathan Duvall of Disciples fame.
As brothers, we have something that is hard to explain.
People who work with the Coen Brothers often say they speak a language to each other without talking. That’s exactly what we do. On shoots - we don’t have to ask or say for things to happen - they just happen. We know what each other wants and we are always looking out for each other. No politics, no drama, we just get on and make stuff.
LS: You have completed over 10 projects in 10 days already. Can you talk us through 3 of your favourite campaigns? Perhaps the most exciting, the most challenging and the most enjoyable to make.
JW: We have been lucky enough to pick very like minded clients who buy into the 10 Days mentality so every project has been a bit of a dream.
The most challenging: We shot a set of 8 films in two days recently for an incredible client called WhereFrom. They are the sustainable version of CompareTheMarket/TrustPilot. The client wanted us to push creative boundaries. It was a lot of fun to shoot and we are excited for the world to see them. WhereFrom is not being released for a few weeks so we can also talk about Peach.
Peach does delicious looking food. But Instagram is full of delicious looking food. It is around every corner but to make Peach the place to go, they needed to do something different. How do you show off all this incredible looking food? You don’t. You censor it. We also got to shoot with a poodle called Wilf.
The most exciting
When we launched at the end of last year we offered one brand a completely free Christmas advert to show the industry what we could achieve in 10 days.
Hundreds of brands applied and we ended up picking March Muses - an awesome brand that sells Christmas decorations of colour. It was so exciting to have it all come together in such a short amount of time - especially because lots of brands start their Christmas ad ideas about 9 months earlier.
We started on November 16th and launched 10 days later.
It set the bar for all future 10 Days projects and was the best way to really kick things off. On the day of the launch, March Muses’ website crashed twice and they sold out of every single bit of stock they had.
The most enjoyable
For Valentine’s Day we worked with London’s first floral bakery - Focaccia Florist. They sell beautiful floral Bread Bouquets & Garden designs to provide a more sustainable alternative to flowers.
We came up with the line “Why give flowers you can’t eat?” and after that the advert just wrote itself.
The advert features a woman being handed flowers but she looks at them not knowing what their purpose is. So obviously, she begins eating them. We were lucky enough to have the incredible casting of Jessica Barker-Wren & John Kamau. So much so that Jessica was not at all put off by eating flowers, in fact, she said she had eaten some before. To this day we still don’t know if she was joking.
LS: Post-COVID, the agency model is being disrupted, where do you see 10 Days on that spectrum?
JW: I think we are showing clients that there is another way to achieve big brand-building campaigns that doesn’t take months and months and cost the world.
Big ad agencies want you to believe you can’t get things fast, great and affordable. We believe you can. And we’re proving it.