Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Grad Down The Track: Jonathan Drennan

Hello gang.

A little while ago, we used to do a more regular feature on grads who've recently broken into the advertising industry. What with all the job features, it kind of fell by the wayside.

So it gives me great pleasure to provide a post from Jonathan Drennan, a grad who is on Leo Burnett's graduate scheme. The Leo Burnett graduate blog is here, if you want to have a read.


Five months ago I was sitting in the cramped office of the Belfast newspaper where I worked as a reporter. I remember the day clearly, I had just interviewed a distressed primary school headmaster whose school had been the victim of a sectarian arson attack. Suddenly, my phone flashed an unknown number. Groggily, I picked it up. It was the Head of Account Management at Leo Burnett offering me a place of their graduate program as a trainee account handler. My life changed in an instant.

A question I am constantly asked is why did I decide to switch from journalism into the world of advertising. From a young age, I was writing for newspapers. I walked into my local rag in my school uniform on a Friday afternoon and was writing a theatre review that night. I progressed until I had worked for a variety of newspapers in South Africa and Ireland before I had left university. However, during my master’s degree in Dublin, I had started to become frustrated with the profession that had always been my dream.

Due to financial constraints, news reporting in many cases had simply descended into adjusting press releases to suit an editor’s needs that day. Creativity was being stilted in order to provide a more cost effective product. After speaking to a variety of university colleagues working in the industry, I started to look into advertising as a career. I wanted a job that would be able to utilise any skills I had learnt in journalism. Formulating and delivering an idea, working under a strict deadlines, time management and learning how to talk to a wide range of people all seemed to fit the bill. I became desperate to make the change.

My parents were cynical. I had no direct experience of advertising agencies and they thought I was wasting my time in even applying for graduate schemes. However, I was and still am absolutely convinced that the beauty of advertising as a career is that any experience you have from life is relevant. To give you some context, on my graduate scheme we have a former PR executive, a former English teacher, a former translator and a former investment banker. We are in the business of dealing with people, so why shouldn’t these experiences be relevant?

The application process is extremely tough for everyone. Sometimes you wrestle with a quirky application question for two weeks and then you don’t even get the pleasure of an automated response from the agency you applied to. At other times, an application that you are almost ashamed to email due to your contrived responses can get you a coveted first round interview. It is certainly not an exact science.

Rejections happen to everyone. I certainly had my fair share. Advertising is a highly competitive industry and the sheer amount of applicants for every job is daunting. For each scheme you will find yourself against hundreds of similarly motivated and talented candidates. At times you are not a good fit for the agency’s culture which you can’t affect, but at other times you didn’t do yourself justice in your application or your interview which you certainly can change.

My Dad loves his cliches, but I really believe in this one. He says that every interview you do, you learn something new. This was certainly the case for me. After you have recovered from the day’s exertions, it is essential to be brutally self-critical. For the interviews I didn’t get, it was normally something I could improve upon. Deceptively, simple things like learning how to work well in a group task, is something that frustratingly can only come with practice.

In terms of positive advice for the interview process, I would say remember all the reasons you wanted to work in advertising in the first place. Maybe it was a Guinness advert that got you excited. Or maybe you are just absolutely fascinated by brands. Whatever it is, use this passion as a strength. Conveying enthusiasm is such a simple, but incredibly effective way of endearing you to the agency. Quite simply, it shows you care.

It is a rare luxury to not dread Sunday nights and I know I am lucky to fall into this category. This is a fascinating industry that is completely restless. No day is the same and I am constantly learning. I have received three months of incredible training and met a huge amount of people at Leo Burnett including the company’s global CEO from Chicago. I am about to start working on Client business in the next few weeks and can’t wait. At times the application process is incredibly disheartening. But if you keep banging on that door loud enough eventually someone will answer it for you.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

BMB need YOU...(redux)

You could be involved in helping to produce stuff like THIS.

Hello all.

(NB - This job appeared last October, but there's a need for another production intern)

There's another opportunity for you guys. If you're interested, email Tom Brady (tom dot brady at bmbagency dot com):

BMB are looking for a digital production intern for 3 months to assist in our burgeoning department.

Responsibilities include:

* Assisting with the scoping of projects (statements of work, timings, budgets)
* Liaising with the traffic department to make sure work is effectively developed
* Liaising with the client services department to ensure the smooth transition of projects
* Dealing with digital client administration as and when required
* Briefing designers and developers on projects
* Working with the TV production department on projects as and when required

This in an internship position with a nominal weekly allowance, but with the distinct possibility of a perm role at the end of the period.

The ideal person will have the following attributes:

* Knowledge of the digital advertising industry
* A well rounded, outgoing and enthusiastic personality
* Excellent attention to detail
* Positive problem solving approach to work
* Ability to multi-task and prioritise large workloads

So there you have it. Best of luck guys.


Friday, 12 March 2010

A new role from The Nursery...

You probably won't be working here. Unless you're naughty.


A rather interesting brief has just winged its way to us at AdGrads.

Chris and the chaps at The Nursery are looking for someone to train up as a qual researcher. If you want to learn what makes people tick, and are fascinated about why they do the things they do, starting at The Nursery would be a good job for you.

Anyway, the details are below. Best of luck:

The Nursery Research and Planning is looking for someone marvellous to train as a qualitative researcher.

The company was formed in 2001 by ex ad agency people who wanted to fill the gap for a more useful, nurturing style of research.

We are the world’s leading experts in brand communications research. Typical projects involve helping agencies and clients identify the potential across candidate creative routes. We use a mix of qualitative research techniques and increasingly our innovative online research methodologies.

We need another smart cookie who ‘gets’ advertising ideas and can articulate why one concept is more promising than another. You may not have considered a career in market research but we reckon we deal with the most interesting parts of the advertising process. Think of us as marrying up consumer insights with creative ideas.

Only five people have left us in our 9 years: One emigrated to work for Unilever Australia (and live on Bondi Beach), one to a senior role at another research company and three have become planners. (at Red Brick Road, Isobel and Wolff Olins.)

Drop us a line with your CV explaining why you’d be great in this job.

Good luck.