Millennial Mentoring at SXSW 2014

If you want young people to buy your product, getting young creatives to help design and market that product is a smart plan right?

This is exciting. 3 of our SSZombies have been mentoring 3 teams of students from Hackney Community College (London) and Austin Community College (Texas) as they work on live advertising briefs from British Airways, Adobe and RetailMeNot (VoucherCodes in the UK). The program has been running for the last 6 weeks and next week the teams will be presenting their ideas to a judging panel in Austin at SXSW. No pressure.

The project is the brainchild of Jon Burkhart (of Urgent Genius/Realtime Content Labs and a corn-dog vendor near you) and Nadya Powell (of MRY and sweary-tweet fame). The students are also being supported by Poke in London, Capital Factory, Nineten and 3daystartup in Austin. The teams will be pitching in the Hackney House space at the SXSW interactive festival. The Hackney guys are putting on a whole load of activities to support business in London. Check it out.

hackney house

the Hackney House venue in Austin

SSZ has been working for a while on ways to grow the influence of young ideas on business. In addition to blasting out young creative awesome through our blog, magazine and events, our sister agency ZombieLabs has started running workshops that get student and graduate creatives in front of brands with beers, sharpies and pizza.  A key thing to remember is that this isn’t a charitable activity, this is just good business. As Nadya says:

“working with Millennials is not CSR”

Nadya Powell, MRY

We believe that projects like these create a win-win situation for everyone involved. Anyway, here’s a sneaky look at the international teams, their briefs and what we can expect at the big pitch event in Austin…

Team British Airways

HCC: John Bonsu, Gemma Allen, Claudia Koranteng
ACC: Cassandra Gonzales, Olivia Smith
Zombie mentor: Matt Weatherall (Dare)
Coach: Jon Burkhart (Real-Time Content Labs)


Matt says: “Our brief is to redefine British Airways’ entertainment experience throughout the customer journey. That could mean anything from building a new travel planning app to making fancy dress mandatory for all cabin crew. Our client wants us to scare them. We’re going to make them wee with excitement.”

Team Adobe

HCC: Kofi Adu-Boahen, Fatimah Abdulrahman, Adriana Radozycka
ACC: Joseph Lee, Jacqueline Rodriguez
Zombie mentor: Becki Hemming (D&AD)
Coach: Nadya Powell (MRY), Dean Kakridas (Nineten)


Becki says: “John studies Graphic Design. When he sees free stuff he gravitates towards it like a brick falling to the ground. He didn’t pay for the torrented version of photoshop he has… same as the rest of his course. (Did we really just say that out loud to Adobe NY?) Adobe want to engage with students in a personalised way to induce money spending on Creative Cloud and we’re gunna give it to them with pictures and candy floss.”

Team RetailMeNot

HCC: Obinna Uzoukwu, Adrianne McKenzie
ACC: Kirby Tucker, Lindsay Blackwell
Zombie mentor: Andrew Muir Wood (ZombieLabs)
Coach: Nick Farnhill (Poke)


Andrew says: “My team has come up with a cracking idea to attract and keep customers using RetailMeNot for their discounts. The guys have worked really well together on what is a very tough challenge. They have gone deeper than simply building awareness of the brand – extending RMN’s existing capabilities and digital products to make them more relevant and desirable for young people.”

See you at SXSW!

We’ll be there from Friday 7th to Tuesday 11th March, tweet us if you want to drink beers/non-alcoholic beverages with this sexy rabble:


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