Thursday, 16 December 2010

Another graduate role...

I'm not sure they'd pay you in US Savings Bonds...

One more job has found its way to AdGrads towers. See below:

(Beta) is a relatively new creative agency, founded by Robert Campbell (formerly of Rainey, Kelly, Campbell, Roalfe) and Garry Lace (former CEO of Lowe, Grey and TBWA). Our major clients are Thomas Cook and Jackpot Joy, and we've just finished Iceland's Christmas campaign. We're looking for someone to be Garry's right hand man/ woman - sit in on all his meetings, have one to ones with clients, associates etc and deal with everything he doesn't have time to deal with.

It's a strong opportunity for a recent graduate - they would learn an incredible amount about the industry and the role of a suit and gain very valuable contacts. In short it's a fantastic stepping stone role.

The salary will be upwards of £20,000, and the position has no closing date - so get in quickly.

Best of luck guys.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Four roles...

Mmm, lovely rol(l)es. And a bad visual example.

I have been a bit remiss about putting up job openings here, what with it being graduate recruitment season 'n' all. But here are four roles (well, one is an internship, but it's a fascinating one) for you to have a look at.

The first is at Manchester United, of all places (a bit of a change from your average ad agency). They're offering six week internships for interested/interesting graduates. See below:

"It's an all year round series of 6 week marketing internships working for Manchester United at Old Trafford. The available roles in the Marketing Dept are be filled through the STEP Programme ( but you can also email your CV direct to The role involves working with global brands including AON, Nike, Audi, Smirnoff, Singha and Hublot on activation programmes as part of their partnership with the world's biggest football brand."

The other three roles are at Carat. They all revolve around media/comms planning or buying. We've been given some quite detailed specs, so see below for more detail. You can apply by emailing before the end of January, but the roles are likely to be filled quickly, so don't hang about...Anyway, more details are below:

1. Broadcast/Press Buying (please specify your preference)

  • The role of a buyer in the broadcast department is not just about TV. The broadcast department at Aegis Media are experts across TV, Radio, Cinema and on-line video.
  • Aegis are looking for motivated and driven individuals who are interesting in starting a graduate career in media planning and buying across TV, Radio, Cinema, Online Video and Press. If you have excellent communication skills and have the hard work and determination to succeed then read on...
  • Through integrated team structures our media experts collaborate with planning and digital specialists to ensure the best communication opportunities are secured for our clients.
  • Vital to the role is the ability to be analytical and strong numerically. Attention to detail is essential to ensure campaigns are accurate and there are no mistakes which could be costly to the client. Additionally we expect candidates to demonstrate a passion and enthusiasm for media and to have a sound understanding of topical industry issues.
  • To be offered a role, candidates must show an ability to influence and negotiate at the Graduate Assessment Centre and a potential to develop well in this attribute.
  • Duties involved in the role include:

1. Monitoring and buying of TV/Press campaigns.

2. Assisting the team in channel planning across TV, Radio, Cinema and VOD

3. Developing relationships with media owner representatives (e.g. ITV) to aid exceptional delivery of campaigns.

4. Develop knowledge of key systems to enable efficient processing of booking schedules and monitoring performance.

5. Use of Excel spreadsheets to record all bookings/requests/conversations/negotiations and briefings.

6. Supplying clients with pre, mid and post campaign analysis.

7. Undertake competitive analysis.

8. Solve queries and flag up booking anomalies to team members.

2, Performance Planning

  • The Performance Planning team deliver planning insight and media strategies across a range of clients including SeeSaw , Panasonic, Credit Confidential , and the Trainline; and across a range of communications challenges (brand, launch, acquisition).
  • Day to day responsibilities include sourcing and managing digital performance data; interrogating research sources to support audience and market insight; monitoring competitive investment strategies; producing regular summaries and reports across all of these areas.

Skills required:

- Attention to detail

- Analytical

- Numerate

- Strong excel and powerpoint skills

- Enthusiasm for drawing insight out of data and analyses

- Personable with great interpersonal skills

3. Media Planning

  • Developing good relationships with clients, agency teams and external agencies
  • Using key planning systems to generate insight and substantiation for media recommendations
  • Management and updating of media plans
  • Competitive and marketplace reports for clients
  • Participation in generation of innovative and creative media ideas
  • Working closely with implementation teams to ensure optimum execution of media strategies and plans,

I hope those four are of interest. Best of luck with them.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Successful Applications (Part One)

DOUBLE dare you.

Right, as alluded to in the comments of the last post, there's a young grad (who goes by the name of Simon - more about him here and here) that has been lucky enough to get an interview at Dare.

He's rather generously agreed to have his answers to the Dare graduate application form put up on this blog, and there's quite a lot of you who have mentioned you'd like to see some successful responses put up on the blog. I don't have time to do it now, but I'm sure I can dig out some of my old apps (which will probably lurk somewhere online/in my emails) to show you guys.

I will also add my own thoughts as to why he got invited to an interview, and if any Dare person wants to chime in to explain why they liked the app, feel free to do so.


Question 1: Which brand has the most imaginative and innovative marketing and why?

The brand image of Chile has recently demonstrated imaginative and innovative marketing, which has resulted in a successful rebranding of the country.

Despite the miners’ accident, Chile have been able to use this opportunity to rebrand itself in the most unusual way. It’s innovative – because no one genuinely creates accidents to improve their brand image and they’ve capitalised on this. It’s imaginative – because who would have thought anyone could successfully rebrand following a potentially fatal accident.

The government’s reaction, determination and patience has changed the world’s perception of Chile from Pinochet’s reign of dictatorship to a country where the government acted like a fully developed nation.

The best form of product placement has to be Oakley who donated sunglasses to the miners and were told to wear them on the globally televised rescue. Front Row Analytics reported they garnered approximately $41million in equivalent advertising time from an initial $6300 expenditure.

This is a very clever, laterally minded response. Simon could have very easily have said 'Waitrose' or 'Sony', and given a stock marketing response. Instead, he thought about just why and how brands are constructed, and how country and product intertwine. Very smart thinking. The only slight amend I'd have made to this would be drawing attention to the coverage (think of the fake Chilean miner twitter account, which had tens of thousands of followers) that it received online. But that's a very, VERY minor quibble - nice thought.

Question 2: Has digital fundamentally changed marketing or simply provided a new set of tools to play with?

Digital has done both of those things.

Digital has provided a new set of tools to play with, thus a new dimension of communications. In the process, this has shifted the focus from traditional forms of advertising to digital where businesses can now reach their target audience more efficiently. Digital has changed not only where we advertise, but how we advertise and this in turn has revolutionised traditional advertising. For example, billboard adverts have been projected, newspaper ads appear in newspaper mobile apps.

Like a tree with many branches, digital has opened a variety of communication channels. Most recently, 3D advertising which, I think, could be massive in 10 years time when everyone will probably own a 3D TV (just like 10 years ago when flat screen TVs came onto the market). This has literally opened up a new dimension for creativity and advertising in general.

This is a fairly 'stock' response to what is a fairly straightforward question. Nothing is 'wrong' with it. I'm of the opinion there should always be one straight response to the questions answered, and this is it. His examples are fine - the answer could have been improved with some more salient examples of what brands are doing with these new channels, but given space, it's the right approach.

Question 3: What's the most interesting thing about you?

I can write legibly with my left hand. (I’m naturally right handed).

This is a 'silly' question. One which you can answer in any way. I think my response to this was that I had a scar shaped like a stegosaurus or something else. Basically, write anything which is more thoughtful than 'I once met...'. Think of an amusing incident, something only you can do - without sounding cliche. This is a solid response, and does well to keep it short. Brevity in your response is almost always a good thing - it means you'll probably be asked to elaborate in your interview, and shows you can 'write to the question'. Sometimes, there's nothing more to say.

Question 4: What's the most powerful number?


This is the most powerful number in the whole of the universe. Here are the reasons why:

· The number as a whole contains all the numbers from 1-10 and therefore it has all the power it needs to defeat anything. Including Killer Su Doku. Too many of the same numbers would dilute the power of the number, apparently.

· If a=0, b=1 then 1032745986 = Bad Chef Jig = a type of dance Gordon Ramsay is reluctant to do

· 1032745986/6895472301 (backwards) = 0.14

1032745986/314159265 (π without the decimal) = 3.28

3.28 – 0.14 = 3.14 = π

This is another opportunity to think laterally or culturally. Simon answers this one extremely well. Who thinks about imbuing a number with personality, as he does here? I certainly wouldn't have thought of it. The 'Bad Chef Jig' joke is very clever too, as is the pie joke.

So then - there's one successful application. That, plus a decent online presence, is what it takes to get an interview at Dare. What do you think of it, readers? I can entirely understand why Simon got an interview. Simon - thanks for sending this in.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Final lot of Grad schemes...

One final grad scheme post, to get to those I've forgotten about.

Beattie McGuinness Bungay's graduate/non graduate scheme/alternate grad scheme is also open. To apply, email with your CV, answering the following question:

"How would you promote a forlorn, forgtotten, unloved shop on your high street? Reinvent and revive it; be Mary Queen of Shops for a day. Think about how it'll look, what it'll be like and how it'll thrive.

We're not looking for theory and jargon. We want you to think about it as if it was something you were really going to do. Speak to local shoppers, think about the environment, the community, and show us how it would work.

Tell us your idea however you choose - a blog, a film, an essay, an interpretative dance or something else entirely - and remember that presentation can be an idea in itself.

We'll be looking for business brains, creative flair and a risk or two to reach us by the 31st of December 2010. Go on - surprise us."

Finally, Elvis's grad scheme has opened too. More information can be found here, or here's the application form. The scheme closes on the 31st of December.

I think that's the lot. Shout if there are more/some we've missed.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

More on interviews...

It all looks a bit Orwellian, no? Scary stuff.

Hello again.

Sorry for the long radio silence. Work has been a tad busy in the last few weeks (which is poor timing, considering we're right in the heart of grad interview/recruitment season).

Anyway, I noted there've been a fair number of questions on the topic of second round interviews, and the formats in general.

In terms of the first round format, it's pretty straightforward, typically (which is always nice). There will typically be an interview with account handling and planning. Sometimes, it's broken into two - so you have the account handler ask you the more practical questions, and the planner talk about the theoretical, but it's almost always a variation on this theme.

To the first of the questions in the last post's comments - the sort of questions an account handler might ask, v.s. a planner. Typically, a lot of agencies have a good cop/bad cop approach, and it's USUALLY (though your mileage may vary) the account handler as the bad guy and the planner as the nice chap. I have had this be different. The account handler will ask you about why you think you're relevant for advertising, what you'd do in a series of hypothetical situations...those sorts of more robust, practical notions (yes, even teamwork questions on occasion, given the job)

Basically, he/she is thinking about whether you can get shit done. The planner will tend to focus on what you think the thinking is behind a series of ads/whether you know the difference between an execution/campaign, and what you think makes a good one and why. They may even talk about ad theory/what's going on in the business today, and you should be prepared for that.

In terms of a video interview, I have to say, I've never ever had one (have any readers?), but I think on video (based on a fair few tele-conferences I've had), it's even more critical to be clear, succinct and to the point. You lose out with people not being able to note your body language so easily - so preparation is perhaps even more key.

When it comes to JWT, they have a very clearly defined mission and strategic approach. Explore the writings of Steven King, have a point of view on good global campaigns, and I would imagine (with a healthy nose at the key people at the organisation and their twitter/sites/the main site), you'll be in good shape. I wouldn't like to guess at the culture, because I've never worked there. If anyone from JWT is reading this, feel free to chime in.

Finally, in terms of two separate interviews - yes, there is typically some overlap, but given it'll probably be two different types of people, with two different job roles interviewing you, so naturally, even if the questions are similar, they'll be looking for slightly different things. Think about a planner - they are absorbed by the theoretical, and how it can live in the real world. They'll naturally tolerate more theoretical musings than an account handler, who has to make sure shit gets done. So don't be surprised if you come away from any ad/comms interview thinking that you made a better impression on one than the other.

I hope that little lot's helpful. There are a few more agency grad schemes that I've forgotten, and will put up shortly.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Repost: 5 First Round Interview Tips...

Try to look less like an illustration than this guy. Via country_boy_shane. Usual rules apply.

Hi gang. I wouldn't usually repost bits and bobs, but as it is the season, I thought you should check out this old 'un on first round interviews:

We're right in the thick of advertising interview season. By now, first round acceptance emails and letters will be winging their way to those lucky few.

And it suddenly hits you; shit, this is all a bit real.

Well, as someone who's had more than a few grad interviews, I thought i'd share a few first round interview tips. Read on, Macduff:

1) It's likely to be pretty formulaic.

For all of the challenging questions you received in the grad application form, most of the real life interviews will follow a set routine. They sort of have to; you've still got hundreds of grads at this stage, and you need to have something straightforward to judge them on. How they usually go is to talk about you and your achievements/CV/answers in the first half, then talk about some ads (usually print), and what you think the message behind them is. There may be a few lateral thinking questions thrown in at the end (what product would you invent being a favourite), but many don't even do this. It depends on the mood of your interviewer/how engaged they are with you.

2) Good Cop, Bad Cop exists.

Now, normally, you'll be interviewed by a planner and an account handler. Sometimes these are in the same room, other times they are in separate rooms. Every now and then you might have two account handlers, or (rarely), a account handler and a HR person. Though the latter is fairly rare.

In the most conventional (planner/account man) situation, there will definitely be a good cop and bad cop. And, to be honest, usually the planner's the nice one, and the suit's the more tricky. (Of course, sometimes both are lovely). Why? Well, planners are interested in people who are lateral thinkers, and got into the job to find out about people. Don't be surprised if they just let you talk, then get excited, and you find yourself talking about something else entirely. Account handlers on the other hand - they want to make sure you can do the job, and will be looking for obvious reasons as to why and how you can do it. You're a raw material to both, but in the case of the latter, you're one they don't want to have to refine much.

3) You don't have to fill the silence.

I speak with real conviction on this point, because it's something I (still) struggle with. It's especially hard when speaking a lot and having a point of view about an intangible book or theory in University is positively encouraged. And, while there are rarely concrete 'right' answers in advertising, there are those which are nearer to right than wrong. You can easily go the other way if you talk too much. Feel free to ask questions too - let people talk, tell you what it's like to work at agency x or y. They won't mind.

If you find yourself talking, and wonder just what point you're making - it happens to all of us now and then - then shut up, or re-direct the conversation.

4) Know your ideas.

Most candidates won't know the difference between executional and campaign ideas. Most won't have a point of view which bears in mind why or how crap work comes to be made - a lot just like the ads on the telly. So know this stuff. Don't get me wrong, post-rationalising why an ad is a certain way isn't an exact science, but you should have an idea about just why an ad turned out a as it did.

Just don't do what I did, and slag off a very well known campaign, then get told 'you're not strategic'. Don't let your prejudices stop you getting through to the next round - christ, i'm a planner now, but just speaking my mind without thinking things through when I was a grad did for me. (You'll also end up working with those people whose ad you spoke about at some stage. It's sod's law).

5) Relax.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood had it right. Relax, don't open your mouth without thinking about what you've got to say. And, for God's sake, let your personality out. It's the only way you'll know for sure about whether (at this stage) you'll fit into an agency. Yes, it's just a first round interview, but if you can't be yourself/feel trapped, then the place probably isn't for you.

You'll just know this, I think. An interview situation is always artificial, and you may just not get on with your interviewer (Lord knows it happens - you're probably the 50th person who's made the same comment about the work). Despite this, you can usually tell whether you'd like working in a place - you can sometimes tell from the worried looks on the faces of the account execs hurrying around the agency.

Letting your personality has another advantage too - you may not think it, but I bet your interviewer is wondering what you'd be like to be stuck on a train with, or on a very boring conference call. Will you be someone who's interesting and interested, or will you be someone who bores the bejesus out of most people?

Best of luck to everyone going for their first rounders...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Two new internship opportunities...

It could be you. Maybe.

In addition to the more established grad schemes, there have been two other internship roles that I've been told about.

The first is from Quirk. They need a few interns for some social media work. Their clients are Warner Bros, Investec, SAB Miller, Nando' name a few. If this sounds like your cup of tea, email Tom at

The second is from Lambie Nairn, who are looking for a full time intern to start in February 2011 to support the marketing, communications and new business team. Activities will include processing weekly business development reports, research and analysis of sectors, monitoring of press for client teams and general administrative support.

They are after someone with a positive flexible attitude, strong attention to detail and most importantly, someone who is an excellent communicator
. The internship would be on a rolling monthly basis; people who are doing a year in industry are welcome, but as it's a full-time position applicants must be able to do a full working week.

Applicants will need to send a CV and covering letter to with the subject header "Internship 2011".

Best of luck with those two.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Two more graduate roles....

I don't think either agency will require you to dress like this. Honest.

More and more graduate schemes have come out of the ether. These may be the last two, but I just don't know.

1) Dare/MCBD: These guys have combined their graduate scheme/s into one. Apply through their Facebook page here. The closing date's the 15th of November.

2) DLKW Lowe: My former employer is recruiting. Find out more here. The deadline's the 12th of November.

Phew. The schemes are certainly coming thick and fast.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

An Amend, & A Final Countdown...

Dee dee. Dee tee dee tee dee.

Ah, hair rock. Lovely.

Anyway, three things have just happened:

1) AMV have a new graduate scheme link, which is here. The details are just the same, though their twitter stream (@amvacademy) will hopefully keep you updated.

2) Leo Burnett's grad scheme is about to close (this Friday night, the 1st of October). So get those apps in.

3) M&C Saatchi's grad scheme IS open. I've been on a search to try and find it, and it does exist. Here 'tis. It closes on the 5th of November.

Here's hoping those are useful. Let us know how you get on, or if there are any other schemes out there which we've missed.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

2011 Grad Schemes: The List

You will not (happily) be working with these people.

Hi gang.

As it’s graduate recruitment season, I thought it would be a good idea to run down which agencies are (currently) doing what, and provide some helpful links.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and for any agencies who are reading this and want to promote their grad scheme (little or large, UK or not), shoot me an email.

AMV-BBDO: Their graduate page is here, with some details about the 2011 scheme – it will open in mid September 2010. First round interviews will be on Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th and Friday 26th November 2010. Final round interviews will be on Friday 10th December 2010.

BBH: No graduate scheme this yearas to this year’s intake, but keep an eye on their London office’s twitter here.

BMB: Their site says they are finalising bits and bobs, but keep an eye here for the opening date.

CHI: Their page has a graduate page, but no news as yet. It should open soon, if recent years are anything to go by.

Dare: Their 2011 grad scheme has yet to be announced, but keep an eye on the Facebook page – it should be announced nearer December/January time if they run one next year.

DDB London: These guys have just opened their grad scheme, with the details here and the Facebook group here. Applications close 29th of October.

Engine: As noted in the comments, these guys have opened their grad scheme now. Applications close on 20th November 2010. They'll contact you by the end of December to let you know whether you've been selected to attend a first interview.

JWT London: Their scheme has opened, and you can see more details here. In short the deadline is Wednesday 3rd November 2010, with interviews the week commencing 22nd November 2010. If you’re successful at interview, they’ll invite you to a two day seminar on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th December 2010.

Ogilvy: The graduate scheme is here. Sadly, the 2010 intake has closed, but you can sign up to follow their twitter here.

Leo Burnett: Check the Facebook page out here, or click on the link to their site. The recent grads have a newly minted blog too, which is here, and if you have any further questions of the Grad team,
email them. Their deadline is midnight on the 1st of October, for a start date early 2011. Get your skates on.

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe: Their page is unusually quiet, but it’s worth watching their blog for more details.

McCann London: Their McAcademy has ended this year, but if it is run next year (too early to tell – their site hasn’t been updated to say whether or not), it applications will open from July/August time.

MCBD: I can’t see any evidence of a grad scheme this year, but it’s worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page, which should liven up soon if they’re recruiting this year.

Publicis London: No news on the new summer school, but it is due to launch soon, if their Facebook page is to be believed.

VCCP London: Their site appears not to be working (?), but here’s their twitter stream.

WPP Fellowship: The fellowship is open now, and you can click here to find out more. Essentially, the deadline is 12 noon (GMT) on Thursday 11th of November.

I hope those are all helpful.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

The other side of the fence...

The fence may or may not be this colourful. Probably not. Photo via Fredosan

It's been a few years now since I (Will) got into the business as, first - a rubbish account handler, and secondly (and more happily), as a Junior Planner.

As you may have read, I've just finished recruiting for a Junior Planner of my own, and I wanted to share some of the good and bad things I've seen when conducting a fair few interviews, as I think they might be useful for those interviewing for Junior Planner jobs.

Or not. Heh. Anyway, here are some random thoughts:

1) Know what you're interviewing for

Most of the folks who sent their CVs in were bright, vivacious, interesting people. They'd done interesting stuff, and would undoubtedly be cracking employees. But we had to turn a lot of them down. Why? Well, for all of their intelligence, most of them hadn't explained WHY they wanted to be a Planner. Some hadn't even explained why PR over other professions, and that's pretty schoolboy stuff. I understand that the 'PR Planning' discipline is reasonably new, but do your homework. Your CVs show you're all bright people - so be able to tailor your responses in light of what the job actually is, much in the same way as you would have done for that degree essay. What would interest your interviewers, and why? What are the current debates? What's your point of view? The more interesting, the harder it is to cut people out of the first cull of candidates, even if they don't have a lot of relevant experience.

2) Put up your (lateral) dukes

Following on from that, we shortlisted a number of people. We would have been happy employing the vast majority of them, based on some excellent CVs and well thought out covering letters, particularly given that most didn't have a lot of experience in the area. Many had interesting thoughts about brands and society, but those candidates who did really well, and thought out their answers were able to emphasise their lateral thinking credentials. I don't think you necessarily have to be able to quote De Bono chapter and verse, but being able to explain how seemingly every day things could link to comms solutions makes candidates stand out. Even if you can't easily quantify the answers, don't worry too much - the interview's more for understanding how you think, not for getting the 100% right answer - this isn't school; there are rarely wholly 'right' answers.

3) Don't second guess

This leads us onto the third point, about second guessing. For many candidates, this was one of their first interviews - and many fell into the academic trap of trying to assume what I and my colleagues wanted to hear. As per the last point, there isn't one answer; I'm more interested in figuring out how you got to your answer, and what you considered. Planning is all about making the closest to the 'right' answer you can with the information available. Sometimes there's not enough, and you need to be ballsy enough to admit as much, rather than blundering on (which I was want to do in my first few Planning interviews, I admit). Just namedropping some Black Swan, some Lehrer or some Steel doesn't automatically guarantee you're through to the next round. What was it about their thinking that you liked? What didn't you agree with? Be contrary - it's more interesting than rehashing the past, folding your arms and assuming you've passed the test. We asked a number of off-beat questions in the interview, where candidates were asked to think on their feet, where no amount of theory would really have helped - and this helped us separate those who could measure their OWN, individual answers.

4) Balance is everything

I vividly remember an interview I had at one of London's top ad agencies. I remember answering the questions correctly, having a lot of relevant experience and, in short, thinking I'd got it. Then the feedback came, which pissed me off, frankly. They told me that whilst I'd answered the questions well, I wasn't 'interesting enough' for them. It still rankles with me today, and I vowed never to give such shitty feedback when I interviewed. The kernel of truth in that thought, is that I was INCREDIBLY ad focused, and didn't show enough of my personality. Sure, I could quote ad theory 101, but they wanted some sense of what I'd be like to work with. The successful candidate didn't have any ad or PR experience, but wrote such an utterly fantastic covering letter, giving us a real sense of what she'd be like to work with, and was so engaging in person (both from a practical 'doing the job' and a 'Christ, you're interesting perspective') we were bowled over.

5) Be nice

'It's PR, not ER' or 'Relax, it's just Advertising'. Both slightly glib quotes, but both wholly applicable to comms interviews. Especially Planning ones. Decent Planners are able to detach and see how that slightly spurious brand benefit would work in the real world, whilst balancing the business objectives of their client. There's no need to get stressed and difficult when things aren't quite going your way. And an interview, though a snapshot in time, is all we had to go on to find out how candidates would get on. Yes, there's a lot of work in the job, and a lot of deadlines - but smile, and be pleasant. We're all human beings, and know the job (and life) gets difficult. And what's more, if you can't be nice, you'll find it bloody hard to be empathetic, which I think is the greatest trait a planner can have - to be able to understand how other people think and feel. If you don't have that, you'll find it hard to get into Planning.

I hope those were helpful. More than happy to answer any interview queries (especially if you have an upcoming ones) in the comments.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Leo Burnett's Grad Scheme...

He's no longer with them. But you could be.

Yo wannabe ad-folk.

Leo Burnett have just opened their graduate scheme.

Check the Facebook page out here, or click on the link to their site.

The recent grads have a newly minted blog too, which is here, and if you have any further questions of the Grad team,
email them.

Their deadline is midnight on the 1st of October, for a start date early 2011. Get your skates on.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Star Stories: Ben Kay

He doesn't look like Father Christmas. At all.

Ben Kay is the blogger behind ifthisisablogthenwhatschristmas, an irreverent commentary on ads and the people behind them. He's also a damned fine copywriter, twitterer, and has ten points to bear in mind when getting into the business.

Anyway, I'll leave the rest to the man himself:

"I got my first job as an advertising copywriter in 1996, spending years at Y&R then AMV BBDO. In 2005 I became creative director of Lunar BBDO, leaving in 2008 to freelance. My experience in the industry has manifested itself in a blog, ifthisisablogthenwhatschristmas, Since 2002 I have also tried to write the kind of books I would love to read. Instinct, to be published by Penguin on the 2nd of September, is the first of these.

1. Planners are currently in the ascendancy. For various reasons, the creative product isn’t nearly as important as the work that goes on behind the scenes. Sometimes this work is specifically aimed at improving the creative product but more often than not it is arse-covering, unnecessary bullshit. But these days people are very fond of arse-covering unnecessary bullshit because...

People make most decisions out of fear. People want to remain in their jobs so that they can feed their kids and pay their mortgages and that means they do not necessarily want to do things that might lose them their jobs. Unfortunately this means that decisions tend towards the middle ground where perceived safety is at its strongest. Marketing managers approve ads that won’t get them fired; account handlers sell ads that are less likely to require expensive, time-consuming persuasion; planners will create strategies with the scared marketing managers that will sound like every other strategy going around town; creatives might write exciting ads but they won’t argue that hard for them. Result: vanilla flavoured blancmange with a glass of skimmed milk on the side.

3. Martin Sorrell is as good at predicting the future as Stephen Hawing is at the flying trapeze. However, when he speaks, most of the business world listens and the newspapers report what he says as if it’s a pronouncement of the truth. It’s laughable. And pathetic.

4. You might well meet your other half in the industry. Advertising is full of bright, ambitious, somewhat appealing people, and people who like the company of bright, ambitious, somewhat appealing people. If this looks likely, go with it. Forget all that stuff about not shitting on your own doorstep or whatever the proverb is. Get in there.

5. There’s a famous film saying from William Goldman (if you don’t know who he is, be ashamed and look him up): nobody knows anything. The same applies to advertising. When you join the industry people will talk as if they are very certain that their opinion is 100% correct. When you leave the industry you will do so stunned at the number of times those people (almost certainly yourself included) were wrong. There is nothing you can do about this except weep.

6. It’s going to take a metaphorical earthquake for the British public to like the people who work in advertising. The perception of slick chancers corralling people into buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have is one that is here to stay. If you want to be loved, become a nurse.

7. Advertising has very little absolute effect. By this I mean that it has been proven that advertising will not make you buy something you would never otherwise buy. Instead it makes you switch brands. This means your job will effectively be as cheerleader for the brand you are advertising. You should either try not to care about this or make sure you want the companies whose products you advertise to succeed.

8. People in advertising take cocaine. People in all sorts of businesses take cocaine but the fear of point 2 can be tempered (some believe) by sniffing white powder up their noses. Unfortunately it’s just papering over the cracks in their empty lives (just kidding!).

9. You might well travel the world, meet famous people, see things for which you are somewhat responsible on billboards and TVs (and computers – whoopee fucking doo!). This will give you a fizzy little thrill in your tummy and make mummy and daddy very proud. Whether or not they work out what the fuck it is you actually do all day is another matter (they never will).

10. Do things for love before you do them for money. This is a truth about life that’s easy to forget. If you forget it you will end up having a miserable ten hours a day that you hate, then you think that the fun you have with the money you earn will make up for it. You will be wrong."

I hope that's helpful. Ta for that, Ben.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Creatives In The City Pt 1...

(In best Attenborough voice) These...are...some...young...creatives...

Hello all.

One of the things AdGrads hasn't done, historically, is focus too much on the creative side of things (barring the odd Star Story by a CD or two). As we're a bunch of planners, it's perhaps not surprising.

So, with that in mind, we've put our heads together, and two of our creative mates have volunteered to write a series of posts on how to get a job within the big smoke, and what problems and opportunities they encounter along the way.

Without further ado, here's Luke & Wilf:

"Hello, welcome to our first post. We’re Luke and Wilf, two lads working as a creative team.

Hopefully we can use our personal experiences in future posts to serve as useful advice to anyone considering a job in advertising. For now we thought we’d give you an insight into what brought us together.

We met at UCA Farnham on the advertising and brand communications course where we learnt a bit about strategic thinking and idea generation, before we decided to specialise in art direction and copywriting. It’s at that point that we looked across the room and decided that we both loved football, films, dreaming up cunning plans/ ideas, and thus decided to pair up (There are lots of other courses, but there will be a post on that at a later date).

Wilf wanted to be a creative because he liked the idea that the job as a whole would not be confined to any one medium. Secondly, he loved the idea that he’d be able to collaborate with loads of interesting people.

I wanted to be a creative to appease my ego as I liked the idea of having my work seen by the public, and to be paid to solve problems. What’s more, I thought I might be able to learn a little bit about writing screenplays by writing adverts.

After a while you realise that being a creative is many of the above but the main reason for wanting to be in a job like this is that you crave the feeling of solving briefs of any nature.

Now that the ice is broken, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section and we’ll try our best to answer them or dedicate future posts to explore the issue.

Luke & Wilf blog at and tweet as @lukeandwilf"

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Another Summer School Opens...

It has come to the attention of we here at AdGrads towers that quite a few agencies are beginning to launch their summer schools.

Amongst them are McCann London. Their grad scheme has just begun. More details are below:

"Bright, sparky thing looking to start your career in advertising? Here at McCann London we’re on the lookout for fresh talent, so we’re running a scheme called The McCademy this September to seek out the best of you.

The scheme will work like a sort of internship for six hopefuls, starting September 6th, running for 6 weeks - at the end of which we’ll offer a permanent job in account management to 2 or 3 McCademists. During the six weeks, a real day job as an account exec on one of our major accounts will be interspersed with training – you’ll learn much and find out quickly where your skills lie, and you’ll get to test drive the job too.

Applications are open from now until 28th July, so to find out more and apply visit The McCademy at Good luck!"

Best of luck with it.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

A couple of new roles to tell you aboot...

Not this sort of collective. This is ANIMAL Collective.


The lovely chaps at Collective are after two folk; one Junior Planner, and one Project Manager. (These roles would be up on their site, but it is being made more spangly, so they aren't...yet). Crucially, these roles require 6-9 months of agency experience, so no straight raw grad roles; more mildly experienced grads.

Their main clients are EA Games, Honda and the BBC. Collective are down-to-earth, fun and friendly digital agency in Clerkenwell, near the awesome Exmouth Market.

There isn't a closing date, so get those CVs (and covering letters, if you have 'em) in to Nicola Morgan (nicola dot morgan at collectivelondon dot com) as soon as you can.

Monday, 28 June 2010

TBWA's Grad Scheme..

Keep them to hand. You may need them.

graduate scheme has just opened. Details are here, on their Facebook page.

Application is via video, talking around two areas:

1. Talk for no longer than two minutes about something you are passionate about.
2. Talk for no longer than two minutes about a brand that you love (not to include Apple, Innocent, Google or Virgin).

Best of luck, gang.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Edelman need a junior planner...

There won't be lines. Promise.

Hello there.

This is kind of an odd posting. Edelman, the company I work for, are after a Junior Planner.

Now, it's an odd one for me, because the person who gets the job will be working with me, as we're a tiddly department. I will have to *gulp* train and look after them.

So, naturally, we'd like to find someone who is so sharp and so laterally minded that they scare me on a daily basis. We're after a graduate; no prior planning experience is required, but those who can prove to us that they can think laterally/have heard of the internet/have a point of view about brands and why they're important will be crucial.

The Junior Planner's job does involve a lot of research; some of it will be bespoke, random stuff, and other bits will be more prosiac. (How many people eat margarine in the UK, for example).

There's a helluva lot more detail here. The deadline's the 30th of June. Best of luck.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

IPA Creative Summer School 2010...

Do you like writing? Advertising? Read on...

If you'd like to get into the Advertising business, there's few better ways in than the IPA Summer School. The deadline for it closes on the 14th of June.

Find out more here, or read on:

"There was a time when, if you wanted to be a creative in the advertising industry, you could walk into an agency and ask to take a Copy Test. You'd have been shown to a room the size of a broom cupboard, given a pencil, some paper, a seemingly strange set of questions, and an hour to compose your answers .

For the agency, it was an opportunity to find new talent. For you, the chance to get a job.

In recent years the Copy Test has faded away, deemed unnecessary in a world of advertising degrees and media studies courses, etc.

But the very reason for having a Copy Test is more relevant than ever. An industry that thrives on diversity needs to draw people in from a greater variety of backgrounds and interests.

Might that be you?

It may be that you haven't yet considered a career in creative writing in the communications industry. Or it may be that you just didn't know how to go about it.

In either case, the 2010 IPA Copy and Creative Test is your chance to impress - and to win one of a number of highly sought after agency placements along with entry to the IPA Creative Summer School."

Monday, 24 May 2010

Star Stories: Luke White

Next up on the Star Stories carousel is Luke White, founder and creative partner at My Agency. We're in the process of developing even more material for young creatives so stay tuned.

My story is I hope an encouragement to all those of you who don’t get your first job in London’s sexiest agency and end up doing things the hard way. I have to say I have had a lot of luck, but I’ve also worked very hard and made some bold decisions which have all worked out well for me.

From the age of about 14 or 15 I wanted to be a creative director in an advertising agency, make TV ads, travel the world and make a shed load of cash. As it turned out it would take me over ten years in all kinds of agencies to achieve it.

I left school at 16 and went to Croydon Art School where I did a two-year foundation course and my A levels. Having failed to get into Manchester uni to do their advertising course (due to my lack of a portfolio with any ads in it!) I then went to Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham where I did a three-year degree in Information Graphics. Before I left college I was offered a job in house in a Swedish designer furniture company called Intercraft. I’ve always believed it is better to look for your perfect job from a job and although this was far short of working at Saatchi of CDP, the job appealed to me because I would work alongside an expat Australian designer called Jim Cook, creating all the company’s communications across a wide spectrum of media. We wrote and art directed the ads, designed and illustrated the brochures and leaflets, designed exhibition stands and presentations and even shot and edited promotional videos. It was to be the perfect introduction to integrated thinking in the days before integration even existed. I worked long hours and spent my spare time working on my portfolio to get myself into an ad agency. To be honest it was no easier then than it is now and to some extent it think big agencies were far more up themselves in those days than they are now.

My next job was designing brochures for a very small agency that specialised in the travel industry, followed by another job designing theatre posters for Mentor advertising, an agency that specialised in the entertainment industry. In both of these agencies the ability to turn your hand to pretty much anything was a bonus and good fun. This ability to switch from one discipline to another has definitely been the theme of my career and informed my thinking when I set up My Agency in 2004.

I’d now been working in design and advertising for small agencies for nearly 4 years and was going to have to take a big drop in salary to start again as a junior art director in a purely above the line agency. I am lucky that I was born in Australia and have dual nationality, so in 1987 I decided to go travelling and see if my London experience would be an advantage in making the jump into above the line advertising in Australia. It was without a doubt the best decision I ever made.

Within a few weeks of doing the rounds I landed a job at Sudler and Hennessey in Sydney working as the Art director to the agency’s American creative director, Bob Lallamant. S&H were at that time the world’s most awarded healthcare agency and did a mix of above and below the line work. In my first year there I made 18 TV ads and won my first national and international awards, I was off to the races in a way I could only imagine stuck in London. After 3 years at S&H, I joined FCB in Sydney where I spent a year purely doing pitches and winning the agency $90 million in new business. Although this was a huge achievement it was not a great year for me, as I didn’t get much actual finished work for my own portfolio. I think most good creative people work for themselves and use the agency as a tool to getting a better portfolio and thus a better job. Having done the pitches did mean I had a good relationship with the agencies top management and I managed to get transferred back to FCB in London where I spent the next 3 years until I got fired by Alan Midgely, (I think for always having an opinion that never matched his).

I freelanced for a couple of months and then got two weeks freelance at McCann Erickson. It turned into a ten year stint where in the space of five years I went from middleweight art director to executive creative director. I had a ball, creating some great advertising for Bacardi, Nescafe, Motorola, Coke and MasterCard. But it was on the ‘Tomcat’ campaign for Bacardi Breezer, that all my past integrated experience came together to point the way to the next leg of my career. It was a brilliant experience where all the pieces in the marketing mix worked together seamlessly and the buzz aspects of the campaign, PR, experiential and sponsorship became more interesting to me than just creating the ads.

In 2004 I left McCann’s to set up My Agency and fulfil a long held ambition to be my own boss and to create an integrated communications and brand creation agency, but that’s another story.

I think today that young creatives trying to break into the industry do so at both a frustrating, but also very exciting time. It’s tough out there, but it has been as long as I’ve been working. I think most of the young teams I see are smart and switched on in a way their predecessors aren’t. Those in the industry still earning large creative salaries with skills that are primarily creating above the line ad campaigns are under threat like never before. The new blood with talent, ambition, open mindedness and a real understanding of ‘new media’ will eventually find themselves a job and get their first foot on the ladder, not just because they are cheaper, but also because they get it. Agencies like mine are ready to give them a go for a start.

Don't be put off if you don't land your dream job straight off. Just get in, get going and start showing the world what you can do.