Each year, Diageo asks the creative directors of its advertising agency roster to select the best team from that year's graduates and then give them placements.
Victoria Daltrey and Will Bingham won the right to work on placement at J. Walter Thompson, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and Bartle Bogle Hegarty over the past 12 months (the Watford graduates Sam Butterfield and Miranda Abbs have been chosen to take part in the scheme in the coming year).
Daltrey and Bingham take up their first full-time position, at BBH, on 1 September. Here they outline their experiences over the past 12 months:
It was in a pub in Victoria that we got the call. We were sitting, contemplating what to do next, which agencies to contact, which creative directors to harass and how to improve our book.
Within a two-minute phone call our worries and anxieties had vanished.
We had been gifted a golden ticket into three of the biggest and most prestigious agencies in the land and, more importantly, an opportunity to try to gain that which is so elusive: a job in advertising. As you can imagine we were ecstatic, but having previously only been on placement at one other agency, it was also a daunting prospect.
Our arrival at all three agencies was not dissimilar. We were given a warm welcome, shown to a desk and given a computer. Before we had time to fully realise where we were and for the nerves to set in, we were briefed and set to work. It soon sunk in that these were real briefs, with real deadlines and, of course, a creative director waiting to see what we were made of.
Wandering around the different buildings, confronted by hundreds of anonymous people looking frantically busy in their different departments, it was hard not to feel slightly intimidated. However, over time we got to know many of them and it soon became apparent that while we felt like the only new people, we weren't alone and that in big agencies, new arrivals are a regular occurrence.
With every brief came a new challenge and a different way of thinking. We were confident in generating ideas but some of the tasks that would be considered simple to everyone else were new to us. We'd never written a TV script and our initial attempts were lengthy and incredibly detailed. We worried about the small things.
Was our drawing up to scratch? Was our written dialogue sophisticated enough? Through trial and error, late nights and some guidance we soon got the hang of things.
With each creative department came their various creative directors and over the months these people became our mentors whom we wished to impress.
While we worried about the credibility of our ideas, we also worried about our approach. Some were friendlier than others, but they were all welcoming to a good idea. Despite the fast pace of the business, we were often surprised by their generosity with their time. We listened carefully to their comments, our eyes transfixed by the yellow Pencils that decorate their rooms and with each visit we grew in confidence as well as ability.
It's true to say that not every day and every brief has been fun. We have worked on some great brands and briefs, but we've also worked on some less glamorous and exciting ones. We did, however, treat every brief as being as important as the next. We also came to realise the complex relationship between agency and client and how sometimes the most creative ideas are not always the most appropriate. But the scripts that aren't bought and the missed opportunities are all compensated by the work that does go through and the exhilaration of seeing it produced and played out to the public.
While we have learnt so much about the creative process, we have also come to recognise the intricacies of the business, the vast number of departments, the organisation required and the reliance on every person to do their job and do it well.
Throughout our time on the scholarship, we've been surprised by the amount of people at each agency who have been so inquisitive as to what the other agencies are like. As time has passed, it is clear that we have gained an inside knowledge and experience, unbeknown to many.
The three agencies were very different, not just in the type of work they produce but also in the way they work. It seemed the ambience and agency culture was as diverse as their locations. However, what they did share in common was the appreciation of good ideas and the real desire to create good work.
Over the past nine months, we have met hundreds of people, worked on more than 20 different brands for numerous creative directors, attended three agency parties, been to Iceland (not the shop), drunk countless cups of coffee, had a love affair with a photocopier and filled three bins with a rainforest of paper.
We have greatly appreciated the opportunities that we've been given and are grateful to all those who have made the experience possible. We've had an amazing year, which has fuelled our desire to succeed in this industry.