I love people giving me cocktails.
I love Sunbathing in 32-degree heat beside a pool.
I love meeting fun, genuine, beautiful, creative people.
So, when the founding partners of The Minimart interviewed me and my copywriter (Baz) for a job and then asked us if they could fly us to Marrakech for a weekend to do all those things… all I could think of was:
“I. Can. Not. Update my Facebook status quick enough!!!”
Three days later Baz and I were sitting at a champagne and oyster bar in Gatwick (now they’re just showing off) and meeting our 15 new work mates. We hear a lot of names, shake a lot of hands and walk towards the plane struggling to remember a single one of them.
Luckily Tim and Ed (the Founding Partners I mentioned earlier) had put everyone in 4 smaller, easier to remember groups for some challenges for the weekend. The first of which, started on the plane. What happened to the cocktails by the pool?
The teams had three and a bit hours to think of a film and reduce it down to a tiny two minutes – which would then be acted out to the rest of the teams back at our phat villa. And boy, was it a phat villa! 10 colourful bedrooms, a cook, waiters, a private driver, two swimming pools – they’d forgotten to fill one – but that’s not the point, it had two swimming pools!
After a lovely banquet, our teams took to the makeshift stage. ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ eat your heart out. I was really impressed at just how good they all were for such a short amount of rehearsing and it was such a great way to get to know everyone.
My memory of the next few hours does get a little hazy for some reason. But my hangover the next day reminds me exactly why… Ahhh the cocktail making challenge…. so that’s why I feel like I’ve got a coconut in my head!!! Never mind, a quick dip in the pool and a spot of breakfast gets us all ready to kick back for some presentations.
Kicking off by announcing promotions, new board appointments and three new starters – including myself, Baz and Nikki a lovely design intern they’ve recently snapped up – set the tone nicely. We then brainstormed around some really cool ideas for the future of the agency before settling down to lunch.
The next challenge was for the teams to fill out a briefing form for a made up product. A nice way to demonstrate we understand what a good brief is. I’ve got to admit, having the Founding Partners and the Head of Planning on my team was a slight advantage. But never the less, our hard work and tenacity paid off as the rest of the agency voted our product and brief to be the best of the best!!!
A dip, a quick sunbathe, and a power half-hour snooze set me up for the next challenge. Our teams had 500 Dirhams (that’s around £40) and half an hour to run the gauntlet of the Marrakech market and get suitably dressed up for dinner at a rather nice restaurant. Gok Wan? Gok Who! My team came up trumps again, well joint winners with Baz’s team anyway.
So a succulent shoulder of lamb, Mojitos, belly dancing, a crazy lady dancing with a tray of fire on her head, good chat and good times was the perfect way to finish the final night.
The mandatory breakfast, dip in the pool and lounging in the sun was the perfect start to our last day. And, as the flight back home got nearer and nearer I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. But, having said that, I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a Monday morning at work before either!
Of course, they couldn’t let us leave without one last game: The Headless photo. Pictures will do this infinitely more justice than my words ever can, so please have a gander and no doubt a good laugh at them on The Minimart Facebook page. Oh and whilst you’re there take a look at the overall winner of all the challenges – drum roll please…. it was ‘Nikki the New Girl’ who took Alex’s crown for 2011. But I fully expect to see my name engraved on the trophy in 2012!
MY FIRST DAY AT THE MINIMART (by Baz)
I agree with everything Daz said. Except it’ll be my name on the trophy in 2012.