Sunday, 13 January 2013

So, you want to work in Planning?

Mmm, yellow fats. A classic planning problem.

Hello all.

I'd say about half of the emails I receive about getting into advertising relate to planning.

And, being a planner myself, I'm more than happy to offer advice, especially as it's a tricky line of work to get into. When I was trying to get into it, I read an awful lot of Russell Davies's blog (the planner who did a lot of very good work on Nike and Honda, amongst others) - and, I think, is still a good resource. Additionally, the London Strategy Unit has begun to run a short course for wannabe planners that you should check out.

Planning is always a hard thing to write about, much less explain coherently (though the APG has a brilliant guidebook on it) if you've never done it. And, for most of the folks reading this, the opportunity to do planning is fairly remote.

Now, when you're in the job as a junior planner, there's a post in the AdGrads archives that might be useful. But for those who've never had to write a planning presentation, or want to understand what goes into it, I've written a short presentation to help show how you'd put something together to show your client, and set up what the creative work will be - along with a communications plan, something to  indicate how you'd spend the media money in an ideal world.

I thought it would be a good idea to pick a brand and answer a fictional problem to help folks understand the thought process that goes into a planning presentation - one that's away from the typical sexy brand (your Nikes, your Apples', your Budweiser's) that most think of when they talk about their favourite work. And, after all, the 'yellow fats' category is amongst one of the most traditional planning problems to tackle.

Have a go yourself. Send me your presentations, or put it up on Slideshare, and we can have a Q&A as to how you've tackled it.

Most of this presentation was written with a bit of desk research, some time spent in-store and some time spent chatting to the typical consumers (mums, in short). Check out the ONS, read up on new launches in the category - and see what you think. If I was planner on the business, there'd be a raft of information I'd receive; but in this instance, don't worry about being 100% right when it comes to buying behaviours...just use whatever research you can find on or offline.

The presentation's below, and you can download it (or get in touch with me - william.humphrey at if you'd like the keynote presentation with notes) from Slideshare.

NB: The business has come up for pitch; it'll be interesting to see what sort of work they come up with.


Anonymous said...

Dam!! so helpful- very neat!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this Will, it's really well written and very helpful. Wieden + Kennedy recently decided to hire a junior planner, one of their application questions was: What should Flora do to be successful? Looking back at my answer it sounds very generalised but if you're interested I wrote:

Flora is playing on the idea of family but it needs to make itself more useful to these families. Vernon Kay and a handful of recipes and competitions aren’t going to resonate in a way that will lead to success. “We wanted to do something really special to celebrate the Jubilee, so we made a posh sandwich…” Why Flora? Why? Guinea Fowl pâté may seem regal but it’s doing nothing to connect with your audience. There needs to be more consistency in the communications that are being put out.

Flora should encourage more discussion between the ‘Flora Mums’ and really champion these women. They could help create one clear message that could then be developed. Is Flora a healthy alternative to olive oil and butter? A lunchbox necessity? What is at the heart of their heart? They need to decide and then prove it.

It’s hard to stand up against a strong campaign like Lurpack’s Rainbow, which took focus away from the ‘healthy alternative’ format and back to the fundamentals of the food that it enhances. However, Flora could start with a carefully thought out message, built on the truths about their product and audience that has a single, strong style that translates across all their chosen media.

Once again down from over 600 applicants (apparently) down to the last 10 but no banana. Onto the next! I look forward to meeting you next week.

Unknown said...
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