A view from the bottom
A view from Izzy Pickles

A view from the bottom

I have been in the media industry for just over one year now and, until the word "barter" came into my life, I was fairly confident that I knew how it all worked.

Something tells me this is going to be a recurring theme for a while yet. Just when you think you have everything sussed and can sit there in a meeting happily making notes and nodding along at the numerous acronyms, latest buzzwords and huge sums of money being bandied about as if they were peanuts, something like "schema markup" is slipped in and my media foundations are once again shaken to the core. And, in spite of these sharp learning curves, it is somehow still a challenge trying to explain to my Lancastrian aunt that I don’t actually make the TV ads, I just plan where they go.

Back at my desk, I’m knee-deep in TGI, Nielsen and all the Mintel reports I can get my hands on, putting together a document for our newly won client Betfair on the shape of the online bingo market and audience. Spending the first ten months of my time at Arena under the guidance of an excellent senior planner means that anything that comes through with the word "audience" attached to it gets funnelled through to me. That is by no means an objection; I have developed a strange, and in no way secret, in­fatuation with TGI in the past year and dread the day it can’t answer all my wants and needs.

In the afternoon, I’m presenting a case study on Blinkbox’s launch with the account manager to the chief executive, the chief strategic officer and the commercial director at ITV for an internal award. After explaining how we positioned Blinkbox as a challenger brand in an aggressive market, my contribution dwindled as I tried to conceal the fact that I wasn’t actually on the account at the time of launch. Perhaps

I didn’t succeed in concealing this minor detail as we lost out to the Domino’s Pizza team. I’m not too offended and, so long as I don’t fall behind on the pod "brewometer", I think my job at Arena is fairly secure.

I think it’s worth mentioning that diet changes as quickly as the work: one lunch, I’m tucking into rib-eye and Malbec; the next day, I’m shovelling down hummus with pitta bread. This simply adds to my friends’ incomprehension of what I do. The way I explain it is to map each of them on to the Domino’s audience segments. They are even more bemused at the bizarre nomenclature and how I could possibly know this level of information about people who eat takeaway.

So, to summarise, my view from the bottom can be loosely epitomised by my reaction to our Friday-afternoon "trolley dolly": a treat typically in the form of baked goods, cheese or something a tad stronger. It’s eagerly anticipated, but I’ve yet to learn when I’ve had enough – I need to take a step back and review whether the desired outcome (ie. not overindulging to the point of nausea) will or will not be an output of current behaviour.

Izzy Pickles is a media planner/buyer at Arena