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The Leadership Experience : 3 1/2 days of hell


Ashridge Executive Education is one of the world’s leading providers of management and leadership development.
The brief was to generate interest in their ‘Leadership Experience’ programme – a highly experiential course unlike any other.
Over 3.5 days, participants are subjected to a range of extremely stressful real-life scenarios.
To measure their response to pressure, they’re even plugged into a Heart Rate Variance Monitor.
Since B2B comms have a tendency to be short-lived, cut-through was crucial.
A powerful, simple idea was needed to capture attention and deliver a memorable thought.
In research, one person who had attended the course provided a valuable insight when he said,
“It was 3½ days of hell… I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”


To dramatise this insight, the campaign exaggerated the point of difference by
using a familiar visual asset and altering it in a thought-provoking way.
The aim was to intrigue and entice potential participants to find out more.
So rather than providing a detailed explanation of the course contents, punchy copy created stand out and a sense of curiosity.
The concept also bravely sidestepped brand guidelines to replicate the style of a cardiograph readout down to the finest detail.

TRA_Ashridge_FirstReveal TRA_Ashridge_Back

This was a real departure for Ashridge, increasing impact, brand awareness and the number of courses booked.

I sincerely believe that the easiest way to get through to time-poor senior executives is through the mail.
But these people are inundated with mailings every week and have no difficulty binning anything and everything that does not look interesting. This idea starts with the envelope, which looks and feels unusual.
Not like a normal envelope, it’s the sort of thing you find in hospitals.
So that’s interesting. Then you open it up and it looks like a cardiograph print-out.
And that’s interesting too. Then, when you unfold it, and you see the heartbeats turn into flames,
well that’s descriptive. And interesting. Not many workshops and training courses tell you how horrible it will be!
If you want to interest people in your message, you have to be …what’s the word I’m looking for? Interesting.

Agency: The Real Adventure Unlimited
Client: Ashridge Executive Education
Product: The Leadership Experience
Title: 3 1/2 days of hell
Country: UK

Creative Director: Ian Bates
Copywriter: Tim Lines
Designer: Emma Luczyn

Production Director: Rosie Baynes

Account Director: Pete Thomas
Clients: Lucy Double, Liz Tyndale

Patrick Collister
Patrick Collister

Editor Directory Magazine

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