Anniversary celebrations

Today is my 4 week anniversary here at the agency. I’ve seen a couple of bottles of champagne in the fridge that surely must be for this occasion, so I’m assuming we’re popping them anytime.

Yesterday was supposed to be my last day here, but I was asked to stay for another 2 weeks. And who can say no to that? Working here has been, so far, such an amazing experience. And even though I enjoy studying, I have really started to long for graduation and being able to work as a planner forever and ever.

So what have a learned in these 4 weeks? Well, peanut butter and Nutella goes really well together! This combo has never crossed my mind before; yet here I thought I was a “creative” thinker. This really showed me that I have a lot more to learn and explore.

I have also learned that it’s the planners that rule the agency. Not the creative folk or account managers. The planners are the brains behind EVERYTHING, and get to boss around everyone else, especially the creative department. This is not something that is clear for the normal eye, but after some very careful analysing of the environment I’ve been working in, one can confirm that this is the truth.

Ok, jokes aside.

It has been a lot of hard work, and not much rest, and I’ve worked on some pretty cool stuff in the past 4 weeks. Creating case studies for copy writers, researching and developing CRM and social CRM for Swarovski, learning a bit more than I thought I ever would know about industry printers and what kind of lifestyle seniors live.

I know what the underemployment situation in Canada is, and why some generations don’t like to work out (as well as what would make them work out…).

This job is an endless pit of knowledge – some important and life changing, and some you kind of wish you never knew.

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The discovery

“I don’t understand why anyone would choose this course if they weren’t motivated by sex, money and nice cars” was once said by a fellow business studies student at Cass. Perhaps it was in that moment I realised what kind of journey I had embarked upon. Or wait, it could have also been when I and 10 other kids from the course went to see “Wall Street: Money never sleeps” and some of them brought notepads.  To the freaking cinema.

So I finished my first year and left, head held high, thinking that I was avoiding a future as a soulless investment banker or whatever and so I ended up here. In something that in my mind seemed “creative”, “soulful” and man, I am going to make a good contribution to the world on this path.

And my mind still thinks that, and I loved it. I have managed to make myself believe that advertising is something “good” and that we can “change behaviour to the better” in humans.

And today I stumbled upon this blog by a “reformed” stock broker, and it didn’t take much to make me realise that well, advertising and stock broking have a few things in common after all.

He wrote “To call myself a Scholar would be a bit much, so I prefer to think of myself as a Learner. I would rather be a Learner than a Salesman. I did the salesman thing already, got really good at it and despised it so much it almost killed me.”

Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the after all..

In conversation

“So what are you up today?”
“Oh I’m just about to demolish this bowl of paradise… muesli”
“Does it taste like paradise?”
“I like it, but I wouldn’t say it tastes like paradise”
“Have you actually been to paradise, and tasted it?”

You can’t say stuff like “it tastes like paradise” here at the agency…

“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Fear. Our biggest enemy is The Fear. Sometimes I wonder how come there aren’t more movie made about it considering of how much we in secret fear the fear.

When I think about dying, I’m not filled with terror because of what happens WHEN you die. Oh no, it’s more that I’m imagining the fear I will feel the moments before it.

One of my biggest fears in life have been zombies (I know, don’t laugh…) and I will have a zombie nightmare like at least once a month. Obviously, I’m not stupid – I know they do not exist. But I keep imagining myself running away from them or hiding and just feeling this extreme fear! And I’ve realised why. I’m fearing the fear.

Ok, so what am I trying to say with this? Not sure to be honest, nevertheless, after now 2 weeks working at the advertising agency I have realised how much my fear is getting in my way.

Fear of sharing my ideas. Fearing my research findings are not good enough. Fearing my judgement is bad. At the bottom of things, I seem to have no confidence in my own opinion because I fear it is “wrong”.

On a happier note – It’s Friday! And if things follow the same pattern as last week, there should be a guy coming out with a tray of beers in like… 19 minutes.

Also, just to give you a little overview of how things are going – I love it! I think all this fumbling and flapping around was all worth it!

All this “I’m going to study Geography” and “I’m going to New York to become a screenwriter” and “I’m moving to Australia and becoming a surfer” and … oh, I could do this forever really, has actually led to something that I truly enjoy and I can use the word “passionate” without faking it.

What a liberating feeling it is.

and then there was light

I have no idea where last week went. All of a sudden it was 3pm on a Friday and some guy came out asking us if we wanted beer?

I looked around me, wondering if this was a trick question. Beer at work? I mean, sure, that’s what they do in Madmen, but we live in the real world, ok? Let’s try to avoid these Hollywood clichés.

Yet there I was. Living it.

All in all, my first week in advertising world has been completed. And as I suspected, a placement in strategy is an education on its own.

In the beginning – there was darkness

Imagine two worlds. One is calm and peaceful, filled with confidence and happiness. A world where, well, ignorance is bliss. Nevertheless, you think you know it all (I mean, you’re a university student for crying out loud). You think you are well prepared and can take on any task. Surely, life can’t be THAT hard?

All of a sudden, you are thrown in to this completely different world. In this world, you see that you don’t know anything. And even though to some, it might seem just as calm and peaceful, to you it is not.

That was today, or the first 2h of my morning at my new placement.

I have had luck (and a lot of persistence) on my side and been accepted on a strategy placement at an advertising agency. Not having any real life experience, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, what do you hear about placements? In the media we’re the ones getting people coffee. Calling clients and arranging meetings. But we’re happy to be there, be a part of the environment.

That was not the case today.

Within the first 10 minutes, I was given the confidential brief I will be working on together with a real planner (isn’t that cute.. “real planner”), had a few minutes to read it and understand the brand/service… and then I started creating the competitor review followed by analysing the market.

The beginning was hard. This wasn’t some university work. This wasn’t a “fake” brief. This wasn’t a joke. And it was overwhelming. These people have chosen me out of probably quite a few people and on top of that, I’m getting paid (not a lot, but enough to pay my rent for a month). All these thoughts and realisations just came all at once, yet there was no time to panic.

Luckily, this day was like a typical Hollywood story and all. ended. well. Or should I say started? After all, this was just day 1 out of 28.

At the end of the day, I was drinking yazoo (the agency is doing their campaign), laughing, having the creatives in one corner shouting to the rest of the room if we knew what “nom” means, looking at packaging prototypes and yeah, thing’s were pretty cool!

yazoo

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