A view from the bottom
A view from David Austin

A view from the bottom

I’ve just read, on a fascinating new Tumblr, that you know you’ve been in advertising for too long if you think "impactful" is a word and you wear a woolly hat indoors.

I’m a relative newbie, so this news makes me scratch my head (beanies can really itch) in dismay: "impactful" isn’t a word?

Monday: as it is the first time the sun has aligned itself with a bank holiday in about ten years, sitting inside to sort a presentation that needs to be done by the next day is not going to happen.

I opt to lie, prostrate, in Hyde Park all day and write up the deck in a couple of hours in the pub that evening. Sadly, it turns out that was the wrong decision.

Tuesday morning, and I have my first one-to-one with our new chief strategy officer (apparently, playing beer pong together doesn’t count). If the meeting goes well, I’m thinking I’ll make director by the end of the week; conversely, I could pick up my student window-cleaning round again. Fortunately, all goes to plan and I’m still in with a job.

Then I check in on my latest campaign for Microsoft and its sponsorship of the British & Irish Lions tour. (Note to sports fans: keep a rugby ball on your desk and you’ll become the "go-to" on these briefs.) The good news: we came up with a great strategy. The bad news: we have to create 30 press ads, each with just a 12-hour turnaround. The account manager is not happy.

Now, the ad world can get pretty political and backbiting – nowhere more so than inter-agency football. As self-nominated captain, manager and self-dubbed star striker, I have to pick the starting XI to play our North London rivals, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. On Wednesday evening, I get the whole squad together for a "training session". It soon becomes clear they have not followed the strict diet and exercise programme I set them. I warn the opposing captain that we’re looking sharp and a couple of our players are "pretty tasty".

Thursday: straight to a call with a client to answer a brief with some new ideas, including one that involves Rolf Harris. The client goes a bit quiet, which I can only assume means they are rendered speechless with awe. Later, I give a presentation to a group of Russian advertising students on what account planners do. Despite a slight language barrier (they don’t laugh at my jokes), it is well-received and they give us a bottle of vodka.

My afternoon is looking pretty busy. I have three PowerPoints being created. An icon here, a purchase-funnel there and, the account planner’s favourite, the Venn diagram. I often wonder how advertising and strategy ever existed without Microsoft Office. How is one meant to demonstrate Maslow’s hierarchy of needs without a "smart art pyramid"? 

Just as I think I’ve got a quiet Friday lined up (aka pub lunch), I find I’m on the latest pitch team. There goes my life for three weeks. Thank God for Wikipedia and Russian vodka.

David Austin is a junior strategist at Wunderman

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