'Coming in as a graduate, there's a lot of training'

campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 29 September 2011 08:00AM

Two new starters at media agencies share their thoughts on what attracted them to the industry, how their first jobs are going and how they are coping with the parties.

Aimee Brewerton and Andrew Marsh

Aimee Brewerton and Andrew Marsh

AIMEE BREWERTON - communications planning assistant, Manning Gottlieb OMD

- What attracted you to a job at a media agency?

The media industry is fast-paced, relevant and challenging - all the things that, to me, made it a compelling industry to work in. It also seemed to be a great choice of career that involved using lots of different skills. To excel in media, you need to be able to think creatively but also have common sense and awareness of what was going on around you - this appealed to me as I think it's important not to develop a channelled way of thinking. I like putting things into context and considering the bigger picture.

- How aware were you of what a media agency did before you joined?

I knew it was in the marketing/advertising/PR sphere and was a client-facing industry. I knew that media agencies helped clients gain recognition and improve sales etc, but I didn't know that this was through careful planning and buying of media space. It's quite strange, really, but I didn't even know this industry existed before I was in it. Once I was, it seemed so obvious and necessary.

- Has the reality of the job lived up to the expectations?

Yes! I am pleasantly surprised by how varied my job is because, generally, work varies from campaign to campaign. I'm always learning, especially because John Lewis is such a varied client. I am continuously responding and reacting to the developments in technology. Advertising is becoming more interactive and personal; the consumer can get so much closer to the advertiser these days - I enjoy the challenge of finding the best ways to do this for the client.

- What has most surprised you about the job?

How much advertising costs. It also surprises me how many people are involved with putting a campaign together, especially a campaign that uses a variety of channels. It's so important that you have a good relationship with the client, creative agency and media owners because you all work so closely together and - as I've heard a million times - everyone knows everyone in media, so it's in your best interest to build good relationships. Also, the beer trolley on a Friday afternoon at Manning Gottlieb OMD was a pretty big shock.

- What training have you been given and have you worked in different teams at the agency?

Manning Gottlieb OMD has an excellent graduate training programme that gives me an insight into every area of the business, from specialist training to a day in the life of the managing director. Part of this was also spending time with a graduate trainee in another team so I got a feel for another area of the business. In addition, the whole agency had a learning and development day a few months ago where we could sign up to workshops that were run by people within the company. It was a lot of fun. I learnt how to make a brooch and found out more about my personality during a Myers Briggs session.

- To what degree does media offer a lively social environment?

A huge degree. I definitely drink more now than I did at university. Media parties are such a perk of the job and help break down formal barriers, which is great. Manning Gottlieb OMD is an extremely sociable agency, everyone is nice and friendly, and there is always someone having a drink after work on a Friday. We also have a social club that you pay into monthly and this is matched by the company. Past events have included a trip to the races and an expedition on the "floating boater", a private hire canal boat, both of which were a lot of fun. Now I'm just looking forward to our Halloween party.

ANDREW MARSH - planner, MediaCom

- What attracted you to a job at a media agency?

Having completed a journalism degree, I knew that I wanted to work in the media, but it was a case of deciding which part in particular I should focus on. I am interested in communication, and from reading more into what an agency does, I was really sold on becoming a planner. I'd been on varying work experience placements during my time at university and I felt this role would let me work across different media, which I was keen to do.

- How aware were you of what a media agency did before you joined?

To be honest, I was completely oblivious. In fact, it was my friend who pointed out the job to me as he thought I'd be well-suited to it, and I'm very grateful that he did. That meant a lot of research had to be done before my interview to make sure I knew what the role was all about. It turned out the more I read, the more I realised my friend was right and that I did really want to work here.

- Has the reality of the job lived up to the expectations?

Going into your first job, I don't think you have that many expectations. All you really want is to get on with the people you work with, be given some responsibilities and enjoy yourself. I can absolutely say that I've managed to achieve those three things, so I've got no complaints.

- What has most surprised you about the job?

It's probably the wide-ranging backgrounds that the people who work here have. I'd expected the majority of people to have degrees in advertising or media but that's not the case at all; I know people who did subjects ranging from graphic design to economics. I think that just goes to show there are a lot of transferable skills that are beneficial to working at a media agency.

- What training have you been given and have you worked in different teams at the agency?

Coming in as a graduate, there's a lot of training that goes on. As a group, we've been taught how to use the research programmes and to understand how all the different departments within MediaCom can be used to help us as planners. And then there is communications training too, among other things, so it really is an all-round experience. I only work on one client, but there are initiatives such as Real World Pitching, where everyone in the agency comes together to work in small teams on a brief. It's a good way to get to know people you normally wouldn't speak to and approach a task for a different client.

- To what degree does media offer a lively social environment?

It definitely does. Although, in saying that, it's not one that is forced upon you. Media is quite a young industry and, when I joined, a few others started at the same time. All being in the same boat gave us the perfect opportunity to get to know each other. Plus, there's the MediaCom Social Club to which people give a small amount of money each month, resulting in three events being put on throughout the year. The last one was a pirate-themed party on the Thames, which went down very well.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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