An introduction to Advertising…

The rotation placement scheme currently on offer gives you a chance to experience planning in four departments.

The rotation placement scheme currently on offer gives you a chance to experience planning in four departments.

Thursdays are my busiest day of the week. I have my internship 9-5 and then head straight to uni to sub-edit the paper til 9ish. Yesterday though, I found time to squeeze an extra activity into my day as the Media Club at uni were hosting an ‘Introduction to advertising’ session run by two Ogilvy staffers: Vicky and Jay.

They were on campus largely to talk about the Ogilvy fellowship (for which application are currently open here) which, this year, is looking for the next generation of account managers.

The session was a great overview of advertising as a career path with some good insights into the ever-changing industry. Whilst traditionalists may see advertising as 30 second clips between TV shows, Vicky and Jay made it clear that applicants need to think far beyond TV advertising to do well. Only recently they hired an in-house cultural anthropologist showing how varied the industry has become.

Case Studies

For a company built on the foundations of “We sell… or else” (David Ogilvy), it became clear that the agency does take on projects that are less commercial than you’d think. We were shown a case study of a street of shutters in Lewisham where Ogilvy had got local artists to paint faces of local babies onto the shutters to discourage crime. This small not-for-profit venture all started as the idea of a planner who’d read a report saying that babies faces had this impact and, with the agency’s support, the project came to life. Maybe advertising isn’t the “evil, capitalist industry” that some people think it to be.

Other case studies we were shown included Channel 4’s ever powerful Superhumans ad (it’s gets me to the verge of tears every time I watch it) and The Gnome Experiment which saw a very niche product being marketed to a mass-market audience. Another great case study was a digital campaign from Dove which saw users replace the “targeted” Facebook ads which appear to the side of their pages to display messages about positive body images. The campaign saw Dove buy the ads above the going rate and ultimately saw their Facebook fans do the advertising for them as they created their own personalised ads to share with friends. It was a hugely successful campaign and really highlighted the impact of digital (something it’s safe to say I 100% agree with).

Thinking of applying to the fellowship? 

If you’re wanting to land your dream grad job at Ogilvy then Jay and Vicky had a few tips they were willing to share:

  • Be Yourself
  • Read Up
  • Don’t Lie
  • Be Passionate
  • Avoid The Obvious
  • Think beyond TV
  • Have an opinion

They also provided a super helpful reading list for aspiring advertisers recommending reading the likes of AdGrads, The Wall and Russell Davies’ blog – all of which I can vouch for. Also worth a mention is the fact that the careers library apparently subscribes to Campaign which I may start making use of as their website ads are annoying me a tad.

Oh, and if you’re not keen on the fellowship – or you’re a non-final year student looking to get ahead of the game – then it’s worth mentioning that Ogilvy run a paid work experience scheme which they’re not afraid to hire directly from. Check out their site for more information. And if Account Management’s more your thing then they assured us that fellowship scheme will run again next year after taking a year off!

For more application tips, they’ve even got a handy website full of advice too. Check it out here. Also worth a look is the IPA site. They are running a few different events for aspiring advertisers and their Creative Pioneers scheme, in particular, looks very good.