Monday, 25 February 2008

Woo hoo, we're gonna take down the established

Like the sun will rise in the morning advertising has at last woken up to something that was said by myself and Sam, oh, some 4 years ago.

This was that the current working model of AD and CW as creative teams is a bit pony these days and that teams of a creative and a planner is a certain way to getting better solutions. Both are required to be seasoned and by that I don’t mean the old school ivory tower kind of creatives and I don’t mean the planners that will spend lots of time making sure everyone is aware of how considered they are. No sir.

The creatives I’m talking about are young enough to have grown up with digital being integral to how they see communication and old enough to be able to stand up and defend work in the face of a client that they are passionate about.

The planners…..well….are pretty much the same but where they come in isn’t to over complicate and confuse the beautiful mind that sits of opposite them but to make their life easier. It is their role to paint the picture of what’s going on in market, in sector, in segment and in target. This doesn’t mean massive charts and graphs, this means a chat. This means having a crazy wealth of knowledge on the topic that when asked by the creative it pours like Sangria in Magaluf.

This isn’t to say that the planner is the total and utter gimp of the creative. Far from it. They are a crucial part of the stimulus which gets to the idea. What I am saying is that we trade on creative ideas we don’t trade on bureaucracy, schmoozing and doing exactly what we are told. That leads us down the dark path of mediocrity which surprise surprise many large clumsy networks are in. It’s only a matter of time before these clumsy dinosaurs are exposed for their total lack of creativity and that no amount of regular lunches will save them from their inadequacies.

So in comes the dawn of a new shape of agency. It isn’t digital screaming how traditional has it all wrong and is so out of touch with its one way dialog. It isn’t a creative team locked away in an office with a closed door, waiting for someone to walk in so they can throw their one award at them from 1999 ‘pfft, don’t they know we’re THINKING’. It isn't the standard start of TV when planning integration.

It is a meeting of two minds, both colourful, both commercial, both rebellious the only differing bit is that one prefers to be called a creative and one prefers to be called a planner. One has spent more time mocking up their ideas into visual manifestations and one has spent more time mocking up their ideas as evidenced stories.

This creative force will of course out manoeuvre any traditional setup. That and the old structure is fucking dull and limited. The problem though is that this model can’t be just ‘imposed’. Because it is quite free it can’t exist in the larger nertworks, they would just ruin its purity anyway with process. Nope, this needs to be the culture of a small agency, it needs to be integrated slowly because the importance of the two that make up the team is ridiculously crucial. You can’t just nip down to Watford and pick these people off the shelf, they need to be discovered having wanted to work like this, have already thought like this, have tried it out maybe.

So, there you go, another structure rant over, next will be about how you go about getting the ball rolling on it. I’ll wait until I’ve caught my breath before I start on that one.



p.s. This model was the topic of my dissertation (written June 2004) and that the structure of ad agencies needs to change. If you want a copy let me know and I’ll be happy to send it

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Another Day, Another Job Opportunity

The lovely Caroline over at the IPA has let me know of another role that some of you may be interested in.

It's at OPera Media and the role is as a graduate research analyst.

The following stuff is from the job description:

OPera Media is a joint venture between Omnicom Agencies PHD and OMD Group. OPera handles negotiations across TV, Radio, Cinema, Press and Digital. OPera strives to provide the ‘Best value buying without compromising planning excellence’.

This role is a fantastic opportunity to learn how media really works. You will be on a steep learning curve with the chance to work across all media from Search to Inserts. Reporting to Research Manager, you will work closely with the Research Director in helping drive value for OPera and its brands and advertisers. The research team ensure that OPera is at the forefront of media research development, enabling greater access to information regarding the performance of all types of advertising and media measurement.

The role will require you to:

  • Distribute media research knowledge to our network, clients and the press.
  • Support the buying and negotiation process across all media.
  • Develop reports; media market forecasts.
  • Manage strategic research projects.
  • Research and develop evaluation techniques to prove the value of the different media
  • Develop OPera’s Internet/Intranet solution.

The role will need an individual with:

  • Good knowledge of media and business
  • Awareness of all the key media currencies and also the systems used to analyse such data.
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Able to work under pressure
  • Highly numerate and analytical
  • Organisation skills with the ability to multi-task across various projects
If it sounds like your kind of thing, send me an email with your CV and a covering letter and I'll pass them on.

On a separate note, the Digitas role has now been filled, with an applicant who went to them via AdGrads, I think that's pretty damn cool. But hey, I am biased.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Year Long Placments

There’s been some questions knocking about on how to secure a year long placement and having started my career with one I thought I’d write a quick post on it.

The first thing to really bare in mind is that these are quite rare and that it is at the total discretion of an agency to give one outside of their usual grad scheme. You’ll be going there with little to no experience and it will take time and resources of the agency to get you up to speed to become useful to them. So what you have to barter on is your passion, willingness to learn and contribute beyond the call of duty (late hours) and that you’re cheap….really cheap. It’s not a pretty picture really but if you secure a year long placement I can’t begin to explain how invaluable it will be to your career. You’ll walk into grad schemes knowing how agency depts work, you’ll understand the processes and more than likely you’ll know more about the agency than your competition.

Secondly is getting in the door to be considered. The best thing to do is get your CV in total tip top quality. Rather than writing one which follows the standard template start to think about what someone in an ad agency will look for in an account assistant. It’ll be admin skills, co-ordination, commitment and dedication and also a glimpse that you’ll be a fun addition to the team. I tried a number of styles of cover letters to secure mine, the out there ones rarely worked to be honest, it was more the demonstration of passion and interest in the said agency and industry.

Thirdly, get really tight with the IPA. Call them up and ask to speak to someone who can give advice on graduate training schemes, then ask about a year long placement, do they know of any, how often do they come about, will you look at my CV and see if its ok and if you hear of one pass on my details. Send an A4 envelope with your CV and bespoke cover letter to every agency under the sun. It’s a DM campaign so the more you send the more chance you have to secure an interview. All this seeding should be done over the course of around 9 months before you want to take a placement. You may get one early but in case you don’t this kind of planning will allow you to chip away at the industry for a long period of time before you crack your way in. The more desks and HR people that see your name the more likely they’ll remember it if you come up again. Familiarity leads to consideration which leads to conversion.

Then when you secure that interview, it’s the case of researching that agency over and over again well as its competitors.

That’s the basics really, post a question if you want to know specifics.

Good luck



Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Star Stories: Marcus Brown

Photo courtesy of Matt Baker

One of the best things about blogging is that you get to meet amazing people. Marcus Brown is one of these amazing people. He does a lot of stuff, but as a start you should check out his blog: The Kaiser Edition. He ain't German, but he lives there. And his story of how he got into advertising is pretty damn awesome.

Now then, I have to admit that I have no idea about graduate programs and the likes. Never heard of them, let alone been on one so if you wanted to find out how to 'best get through one and then get a job in the advertising world' this isn't the article for you. Sorry. In fact I was a little surprised that Sam asked me at all, but ask me he did.

So here we go.

One day, back when the Internet was black and white and I was standing in front of an industrial photocopying machine I got a call from a man who spoke German badly. He wanted to know if I had ever thought about working in advertising. I asked him if there was any money in it and he said yes and I then informed him that I had just, that very minute, been thinking about a career in advertising and isn't life funny like that. He agreed and invited me in for a chat about the internet and commercials and things.

I had no idea who this man was, I had never heard of Ammirati Puris Lintas and I had always thought that people who do advertising must be complete and utter tossers with the attention span of goldfish. That was 10 years ago and I can confirm that nearly all people in advertising are complete and utter tossers with the attention span of goldfish.

I was actually determined to turn down any job offer and go back to being a freelance artist/ graphic designer/ web developer who just happened to also work in a photocopy shop. I did, after all have my principles.

I arrived at the agency and was guided by the man who had invited me (one of the partners) into a little room where he asked me if I wouldn't mind helping building the internet department for APL and if I could do stuff in Macromedia Flash. I informed him I'd never used Flash before. This unsettled him a little and he left the room only to return with a PowerBook and went on to inform me that in around an hour we had a presentation to give and he had informed his partners that I was the famous 'Mr.Brown' (I was an artist back then and was enjoying a little coverage in Frankfurt) and that there would be moving pictures and things would happen when we rolled over things with the cursor (can you make something go 'beep'?)

So I had less than an hour to learn how to use Macromedia Flash and design a presentation with moving pictures and rollovers but completely void of any content. “Just make sure it looks really sexy; that was my brief. The fate of an entire department depended on it; depended on Macromedia Flash.

Later I was asked if I would like to take the job. Remember those principles? "fuck'em" I said yes.

It's a true story. That's how I got into advertising.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Calling All Grads

For those of you that have graduated and are still searching for that way into adland, we may have something for you.

Digitas are looking for a grad to start in account management as soon as possible - also known as 'yesterday'. They wanna move quick so you should as well. Their client list is long and full of heavy hitters so check out their website for the lowdown and if you're interested send your CV to Rob Moore. You will have to have graduated because they want someone who can start pronto.

On a side note, we're not going to EVER let headhunters or recruitment agencies hawk their general wares to you. But if agencies get in touch about grad-level roles they have, we will chuck 'em out to y'all. And we don't get commission (cause I know someone will ask!).

Peace out and good luck.