Thursday, 6 September 2007

Star Stories: Giles Rhys Jones

Our 2nd star story is upon us courtesy of Giles Rhys Jones who is the Director of Digital Strategy at Ogilvy UK. Giles' blog - Interactive Marketing Trends is here as well as in our links section. We also recommend you have a look at Ogilvy's graduate recruitment site.


By Giles Rhys Jones

Nearing the end of my degree in Industrial Design and having missed the grad recruitment rounds, I watched all my friends picking up design or city jobs and had abit of a panic.

Not realising that this was a situation that I would replicate often in later life, this pressure seemed to bring out, if not the best, then a slightly above average performance in me. Being of a creative persuasion I produced a 6 page cv booklet to send to prospective employers with each of the pages focussing on a particular skill with a relevant photo of me, a description and examples. I bought a business directory and sent out 74 of these to the top advertising and design companies in the UK and US. This led to a number of interviews and some very interesting conversations.

At the same time the older brother of a friend of mine was as a grad at Saatchi & Saatchi and offered to take my letter to his boss. I got a call and was asked to come in to meet them. After a couple of interviews I was offered a 2 week summer job starting the day after my last final. A couple of weeks later I started work on the pan euro HP business as a ae.

A couple of weeks later I got an extension to stay longer and 2 months later they even started paying me £50 quid a week. After a few more interviews, quite alot of beer and some half decent work they invited me to join full time and be part of the coming years grad trainees.

After 2 years of spreading press, poster, wobblers, gondola ends and DM across 17 countries for HP, I shed the shackles of traditional channel thinking by moving into their emerging media group: Saatchi Vision. Amazingly lighting a 747 up with a laser, causing outcry with a graffiti campaign for Random House and plastering a talking 3D supermodel on bus stops for Playtex produced results as well as being great fun.

Three years helping to run the Digital Marketing Group at AGENCY.COM working on BA, Oneworld & Heineken gave me the ability to 'top-trump' interstitials, virals, CPCs and eCRM with the best of them and, more often than not, win.

Not able to find an agency I liked, I helped to create Agency Republic delivering campaigns that crossed wireless, traditional and digital channels, generated results and appalled other roster agencies on clients like O2 and Boots.

A year at The Brand Company in Asia followed, travelling, buying cheap gadgets and helping Vodafone/Smartone to work out that branding is not just what they say but actually what they do.

The opportunity to gain more line management experience running the global integrated HSBC account at DRAFT tempted me back to the Uk and into advertising.

As Interactive Strategy Director, I am responsible for digital marketing strategy across clients including IBM, Ford, Cisco and BT.

The only traditional title I have had was that of Account Executive at Saatchi, since then I have made pretty much made up job titles. Where once, not fitting into an advertising job box was a hinderance and headhunters struggled to come to terms with what I could offer. Now as advertising needs to become smarter in how it works rather than just bigger, there is positive descrimination for people who have a broad range of T-shaped skills.

Looking at how my career has moved across disciplines and companies I guess you could say I have ants in my pants but I am just passionate about how to better connect businesses and their audience.

There is always a better way.

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