Agh! Apologies, again, for this weeks late late post! My life has been a little crazy at the moment, especially last week as I was away in London working with an advertising agency. Here’s what I got up to:
A while ago, I successfully applied for a work experience placement called Ad School. Ad School is organised by Go Think Big and the purpose of the placement is to give young people a dynamic and hands on insight into the world of advertising. Your history and qualifications are irrelevant but if you show potential then Ad School is more than willing to help you on your way to something great. As someone with zero knowledge of the secretive world of advertising, I found this incredibly refreshing. I really appreciate companies that judge candidates from their aptitude, not their qualifications. I’m not going to lie, Ad School is very competitive so if you are considering taking part, work hard and have fun with your creative application!
Anyway, although Go Think Big organise the week, VCCP is the company that actually hosts Ad School and teaches participants about the big bad world of advertising. If you haven’t heard of VCCP, think of it as the Goliath of advertising agencies. It is a stella agency packed to the brim with talented and enthusiastic staff. If you live in the UK, you most definitely would have seen/ heard one of their campaigns before. Amongst their many accolades, they created the ‘Be More Dog’ campaign for O2, which consequently moved O2 from fourth to first place market shares. Yeah, they’re a big deal. So imagine my little face as I turned up to the stunning, six story building that would be my home for the next week. It was a risky mix of excitement and terror, not ideal for your first day of work but oh well.
I went to the fifth floor where I was met by fifteen other eager participants. There was a really great mix of students, graduates and employees working in different sectors. After a bit of a chat we were shown to a boardroom filled with breakfast treats and biscuits for all. Belly happy? Check.
At this point, we met the core team that would be mentoring us during our stay at VCCP and they explained the layout of the week. Our time would be split between company talks/ tours and working on a fictional brief in teams. At the end of the week, each team would present a twenty minute pitch to the panel and whichever team answers the brief the best would win. Personally, I think this layout worked really well as we got the chance to learn about the departments at VCCP plus get hands on experience.
During the week, we met staff from every department you could think of, including account management, planning, ethnography, design and content management! I didn’t know what half of this stuff meant either but throughout the week we met so many heads of department who were more than willing to share some time with us. What surprised me most of all was how accommodating everybody was. I wasn’t expecting to have people slam doors in my face but I equally didn’t expect to meet the Vice Chairman on my first day! He was lovely by the way. It really emphasized the community ethos at VCCP, where nobody has a corner office and everyone has time for each other. I was able to collect a load of contacts from Ad School, simply because so many members of staff were willing to help in any way they can. Each team even had a set of mentors to help them create their pitch! I’m incredibly grateful for their generosity because it turned our experience from good to bloody great!
Working on the pitch was really challenging as we were very much learning about the process as we were going along but my team were really fantastic and we all worked very hard to get the job done. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the competition but I know we all pushed ourselves and put our new knowledge to the test and, for that, we all succeeded.
Finally, after the winner was announced, the Ad School participants and VCCP staff celebrated with free pizza and beer. It was a really lovely way to end the week as we got the chance to really chat to VCCP employees and ask them even more questions!
If you’re interested in advertising, then go for it because this is one of the best work experience placements out there. Of course, I am completely biased as it is the only advertising placement I’ve been on but it was an incredibly engaging experience where we all learnt a hell of a lot. The future is still unclear for me but the feeling of walking into VCCP’s inspiring office and creating great work with a great team was a brilliant feeling. A feeling I would be happy to experience again.