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Brutal Simplicity of Thought - M&C Saatchi creative competition won by Biomedic Science student at Oxford University

By Mairi Clark

November 5, 2012 | 4 min read

The winner of M&C Saatchi’s ‘Brutal Simplicity Of Thought’ has been won by Asli Azizoglu, a student at Oxford University studying Biomedic Science. Her simple idea of a pencil, with the strapline of ‘How do you make money from other people’s mistakes?’ was determined to be the best of the hundreds of entries to the competition launched by the agency in July.

Brutal Simplicity of Thought - Sell Erasers

‘Brutal Simplicity Of Thought’ was a book launched by the agency to start prompting creative ideas, and evolved into a creative competition where anyone under the age of 26 could contribute a simple idea for inclusion in a future edition of the book. The rules were simply, to enter submissions had to have a picture on the left-hand side and only 4-6 lines to explain the idea. Azizoglu joined Jeremy Sinclair, chairman of M&C Saatchi, and Maurice Saatchi, founder of the agency, to receive the award of three months paid internship.

Brutal Simplicity of Thought - coffin

Talking exclusively to The Drum, Sinclair, pioneer of the project, said that he was incredibly impressed by the calibre of the entries. “Asli’s idea was terrific,” he said. “She took a very simple idea that every rubber manufacturer has probably thought about, and made it very compelling. Myself, Bill [Gallacher, art director of the book] and Maurice all looked at it and thought how original it was. It resonated simplicity. It was interesting, thought provoking and made you look at a rubber or eraser in a way you hadn’t before. In many of the submissions we found very intriguing thoughts and it is clear that the future of our industry has a wealth of creative brains to choose from.”

Brutal Simplicity of Thought - Time Travel

Azizoglu’s endeavours have gained her a month’s paid internship at M&C Saatchi’s next year. Sinclair says it was very difficult to decide who would win. “The standard of entries was great,” he says. “The ideas that are on the website are very, very good. But the four that we picked just stood out.” The second-placed entry looks at why people are dreaming, and focuses on the fact that even if people are dreaming, it’s because they’re actually concentrating on it. The joint third-place winners look at, separately, egotism and also definition of time travel. Sinclair joins the debate on whether entering a career in advertising now is easier or harder for the young by looking at some of the degrees entrants to the competition are studying for. “Looking down the list of degrees,” he says. “The winner is studying biomedicine, we’ve got other entrants who are studying English literature, maths and graphic design. Just because you’re not studying advertising doesn’t rule out creativity.”

Brutal Simplicity of Thought - toilet paper

He also says that entering advertising in the 70s was different than today. “One would tend to hold the feeling that you were charting ‘unchartered’ territory,” he says.Sinclair hasn’t ruled out running the competition every year, and seems slightly overwhelmed about the success of the book. “There’s nothing to stop us doing an edition every year,” he says. “It could be the book that never ends.”All entries can be viewed on the Brutal Simplicity of Thought website.