On a bad day, I’ll mumble something about sort of working in advertising and then quickly change the subject. On a good day, I’ll invest some time and talk them through the broader picture: what the Advertising Association does; why advertising matters; and where I fit in. The result? Polite smiles, vague nods and conversations about the weather.
Either the AA is a pretty confusing place, or my explanations leave something to be desired. Maybe both. Hopefully this exercise will help to shed some light.
The week began with preparations for the latest instalment of the AA "roadshow" – this time at Kinetic.
These sessions are a great example of the AA in action and probably as good a metaphor for my job as I can conjure up.
We tour adland lifting spirits with kilos of Haribo and the message that a career in advertising isn’t just creative or fun, but that it’s important to our economy, to society and to people, and something to be proud of. My job is more PowerPoint tweaking and box-lugging than inspirational grandstanding, but it’s fantastic to be involved in such a feel-good project.
Next up is a meeting with the speakers for Last One Standing. A lot of my time is spent organising events big and small, but this is one of the best so far: we’ve "sold out" Google’s Town Hall (it’s free) and five talented young speakers will fight it out to defend the advertising idea that they believe changed the world.
Events such as these take a surprising amount of planning so, after a few beers and an extensive discussion of wedding plans (thankfully theirs, not mine), we get to the event itself.
At the AA, we’re all about advancing the idea that advertising works for people, and we need to make sure Last One Standing has this in spades. So you can imagine my boss’ face when asked if the idea has to have changed the world for the better. You’ll have to come along to see how that pans out.
Last on the to-do list: LEAD 2014. LEAD is very much the View From The Top, and it’s perhaps slightly optimistic to plan an event for 300 people on a Friday afternoon – but, hey, I’ve got to start somewhere.
Seven months since the last one, I’ve just about recovered and I’m hoping that our friends at DLKW Lowe, which did a sterling job with the branding, have forgiven me.
So I take a deep breath and, before I pick up the phone, reflect on three last things. First, I’m pretty sure I have a fair few late nights ahead between now and January. Second, as long as the boss doesn’t lock me in the office again, this year will be an improvement. And, finally, if there’s a better view from the bottom than mine at the AA, I’ve yet to see it.
Perhaps it’s time I did some work on those stock answers.
Sophie Bowler is an account executive at the Advertising Association