The advertising industry, like most, is tightening. Competition is increasing, clients are more demanding and pitch processes ever-more cut-throat.
Industry elders might argue that these factors have taken the fun out of the industry. But I'd disagree. We may not all wear sharp suits in the digital age (although the Robin Wight "peacock" does sit in my sights), but any Mad Men-watching adman will tell you it hasn't changed all that much since then.
OK, it’s not all wine and Lucky Voice. My first job in advertising was working on Tesco trade. It was a busy, stressful priority-balancing act. But that’s the life of a junior account handler. At WCRS, it’s no less busy; just now – working on Sky and Warburtons – I’m juggling crumpets, bread and broadband.
Most people aren’t fans of Monday mornings (as Starbucks will vouch) – but, me, I like them. It’s when I formulate my plan for the week. Although it isn’t long before the phone starts ringing and I’m responding to an overly enthusiastic Facebook fan or getting 11th-hour feedback on a TV ad playing out in five minutes. Any successful agency in 2013 is fully integrated, which means anyone wanting to make it in the industry needs to be fully integrated. One moment you’re a Twitter ninja, the next a digital project manager, the next a gaming expert. Even now, I know a surprising amount about video on demand. I learn a lot on the job (who knew Facebook had so many regulations?) and each day guarantees new challenges that keep you coming back for more.
One of the best things about this job is being able to contribute ideas regardless of your role. It’s a very open creative forum where we all have a voice. A recent example was Wednesday, at a session on the Teletubbies-like rooftop garden of Google’s headquarters, where we were thinking of innovative ways to generate noise, PR and social buzz around a campaign launch. Seeing an idea through from concept to completion is one of the most rewarding things, from finding that gem in a brief to seeking out that perfect PR opportunity.
At the end of the week, our Warburtons client team were in to review the new campaign’s progress and get planning for the year ahead. That afternoon was spent developing an animation, briefing a new print job for Sky and arranging a load of creative reviews, before popping back to my desk to make sure a voiceover recording had gone to plan. Then on to the joys of a good contact report before meeting clients for dinner and finishing, naturally, at Lucky Voice (trying to prevent Matt Edwards from pushing show tunes up to the top of the playlist).
So, despite the nights at the desk and reading up on mobile optimisation at home, I do truly believe that the brilliant people and fun nights out remain at the heart of advertising. Roger Sterling would be proud.
Richard Williams is an account manager at WCRS
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