A view from the bottom

By Emily Newman, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 18 July 2013 08:00AM

Welcome to the bottom. Not the bottom of the creative or strategy department; the actual bottom. The lowest rung on the industry ladder.

A view from the bottom

My formal role as the head of house loosely disguises my actual role as the general agency "go-to" girl, ranging from PA, to barista, to answer-phone service and office DJ (although this is hit and miss, apparently). It is arguably a stretch to suggest that I am "head" of anything - with the exception of the afternoon drinks trolley.

For the past month, I was made part of "Team Improv Ad Break", becoming the official team runner, an illustrious title that largely consists of odd jobs – the first of which is sourcing "an urban and eclectic mix of furniture", followed closely by sourcing props for test shoots ("So, you’re saying you don’t have more brick-red bow ties in the stockroom?").

My role on event day was steeped in all of the Mad Men-esque glamour one would expect, beginning with spending the morning elbow-deep in the toilets of Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. When 7pm struck, I was moved to the door. After waving agency friends to the front of the queue and an altercation with the venue’s bouncer, I redeem myself with sensible distribution of the drinks tokens. We are 60 people over capacity and, while I try to shepherd everyone to their appropriate seat or room, I take the brunt of the manageress’ frustration, which I try (and fail) to diffuse.

But the weeks of shared stress all paid off. The positive energy, coupled with the cathartic sense of pride from everyone involved, made the evening such an enjoyable experience.

Another week, another event. As a thank you from the British Library, we were given the opportunity to invite a selection of guests to a Champagne reception and guided tour of the Propaganda exhibition.

After being refused entry to the event I was organising (Wednesday Addams was probably not the best look for the marble-floored entrance hall), I had to call on my account director to clarify that I was, in fact, part of the 18 Feet & Rising team, before finding solace in the complimentary bubbly.

I was asked to find a cool venue for the after-party – and to avoid the St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. After memorising postcodes, street names and cocktail menus for some of the "coolest" and most "alternative" (industrial and overpriced) venues in King’s Cross, we headed straight to… the St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. However, this was probably for the best as, after sinking the carefully selected Sauvignon Blanc like Jägermeister on a Friday night, my directional skills were probably hazy at best, but the evening proved to be one of elation, debauchery and togetherness.

The hectic bevvy of evenings out have quelled presently, leaving me with little else to say, aside from: "Can I get you any tea or coffee?"

There is no better place to find yourself at the bottom.

Emily Newman is the head of house at 18 Feet & Rising

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk


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