Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Scene 4 Take 8: On Shoot with Olly Murs

What better way to spend a working day's afternoon than on a film shoot for our new ad campaign. Yes that's right, I managed to bag myself a place on a shoot for Nintendo and if you think that's exciting, imagine how I felt when I was told that Alexandra Burke and Olly Murs (from the X Factor) were going to be featured! I couldn't believe my luck. Celebrity sightings asside, it wasn't all fun and games and I did sit on a really hard wooden chair for 3 hours watching take after take after take of the same scene. During the break I was able to mingle with the stars and actually spoke to Olly who is a genuinely nice guy. I was dying to get a photo with him but considering I was in a professional environment and representing MEC, I thought it would be best not to. Damn that would have been a great photo!  

On a more serious note I felt privileged to be at the shoot and I also learnt so much about the production side of advertising and how ideas on a piece of paper translate to an actual filmed TV ad. There were so many people at the studio all looking more important than the next, not to mention the 5 people who were there just to cater for Miss Burke's needs, making sure her hair and make-up was styled and applied to perfection. I now appreciate the sheer amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes of a 30 second ad shoot. After every scene take the shoot director would speak to the client to ask whether the brief had been covered and all mandatory points about the product had been raised. This was an ongoing communication to ensure that the brief was being met and the tone of voice and actions were appropriate for representing the product.

Overall attending a shoot for my Client's advert was an overwhelming experience and one which I really enjoyed. Fingers crossed it will not be my last!

This blog has moved to www.laurarobinsonblog.com

Friday, 17 September 2010

Everyday is a New Experience

As my second week draws to an end I feel like I have been at MEC for at least a month, I feel really settled and everyone on my team have spent time talking me through what client campaigns they are working on and how to use a number of analytical and comparable media report programs.

I have also been lucky enough to start working on a brand new campaign which means I will gain a real insight into the communications planning role from start to finish, from being given the initial brief to signing off the media plan. I sat in on my first briefing session which outlined the product details, target audience, creative stapline, business objectives and the communications objectives. In short the communications objective is to generate as much awareness as possible within the target audience because the product being advertised is a completely new product.
Being a creative thinker I remember lying in bed and suddenly a rush of flashbulb ideas filled my head so I got up and wrote them down in a notepad. The next day I took it upon myself to put together a short power point of my ideas (which went down a treat with the account manager).

The grads who were on rotation in the year before me are currently working on a final project. In teams they have been given a live client brief to work on and produce a complete media plan which they must pitch to a panel of judges. I was asked to sit it on a brainstorming session for the campaign which I found extremely insightful. I felt energised by people's creativity and enthusiasm and it was interesting to see how other people think. However I also learnt a lot about the roles and appropriateness of using certain media platforms for best communicating a brand message and engaging an audience. For example, creating brand collaborations and partnerships to enhance trends and facilitate behaviours and celebrity ambassadors to drive awareness and create buzz around a product or campaign. It is experiences like these which make working in a media agency so diverse and enjoyable. Everyday I have been exposed to something new and I am continuously learning.

To conclude, I now feel more integrated within MEC rather than a new starter because I have been immersed into my team's current projects and have been able to get my teeth stuck into some live campaigns.

This blog has moved to www.laurarobinsonblog.com

Monday, 13 September 2010

All Hail for 'Halo: Reach'

The release of anything new is always exciting, especially in the world of gaming and dedicated fans will go to extreme lengths to get their hands on a copy of their favourite game. To avid gamers, video games are not just games they are a kind of lifestyle - a hyperreality parallel to their everyday lives.

Today I witnessed the run up to the release of highly anticipated Xbox 360 game 'Halo:Reach'. For those of you who are new to gaming, Halo Reach is a video game set in the year 2552 where humanity is locked in a war with the alien covenant on the human colony of Reach.
I was sent to Westfields shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush where there was an outdoor display advertising the new game. 3 giant pictures of characters starring in the game were hand painted onto the exterior walls of Westfields. The display had a stop-in-your-stride kind of effect as many passers-by were greeted by these wall paintings as they entered the food terrace of Westfields shopping centre. This shows great innovation and creativity especially since these were not billboard ads, rather they were hand painted wall art creations in Europe's largest indoor shopping centre.

To add to the hype of 'Halo:Reach' a live stuntman wearing a jetpack was seen soaring into the sky towards Nelson's Column during a 30 second flight to further publicise the game release. This was a great PR stunt which added to the overall anticipation of the new game. For me this further indicates the fine line between reality and the hyperreality of the gaming sphere, where the two worlds seem to co-exist.

Summer Fridays - Gives you that Friday Feeling

Towards the end of the week I presented back the work I had carried out which was a great way to demonstrate my understanding of it. I was then lucky to get a one-on-one demonstration of how to use a program called Ad dynamix (a great online tool allowing users to find out everything there is to know about advertisers, brands and their media advertising spend). I was given a project looking at the pastt 4 years of cinema box office sales which I had to then compare with the media advertising spend for the top 10 film distributors (Paramount, Lionsgate, Universal etc). Through this I was able to identify trends and engage with the media used to advertise film releases and explore how advertisers have changed their communications strategy in the last 4 years (the main trend witnessing the introduction of online advertising). However I will be interested to see how the next 4 years differ and I predict that the industry may see a growth of online advertising but displayed via outdoor platforms.

To conclude, my first week at MEC has been great and to top it off I was taken out by my team for lunch - bonus! I used the opportunity to get to know the people I will be working with and also to gain more insight into the current projects the team are working on (not to mention the ins and outs of office gossip)

Finally, not that I want to brag but my first week ended in the best possible way with a little benefit called Summer Fridays. The whole company is invited to leave work early at 3.15pm instead of the usual 5.15pm! And a little bird told me that Summer Fridays was extended into the end of October last year. A good idea really because it gets darker much earlier in the autumn months, so finishing earlier will mean we get to leave work in daylight!

Monday, 6 September 2010

My 1st Day at MEC

If you have read my previous post you will know that I have started my first job in the media industry at MEC. I am going to use this blog to document my journey as I complete a graduate rotation scheme at MEC. Hopefully this will give you an insight into the various departments and roles within a media agency whilst reflecting upon my personal experiences.

I started the day at 11am which was a welcomed late morning start to the day. Upon my arrival at MEC I met the four other rotational grads who were also starting. The scheme enables us to rotate around 8 different departments within the company within 9 months. After receiving our welcome induction we were appointed 'buddies' and 'mentors to act as a guide and support - I like to think of mine as an extra lifeline.
The first day kinda resembled my first day at secondary school or 6th form - taking in the new environment and looking at all the other employees thinking wow don't they look grown-up - I felt like a total 'Newbie'.

Due to my morning nerves I hadn't been able to enjoy my daily bowl of cereal that I religiously chomp on, so when we were told that we had lunch reservations at a nearby Thai restaurant - ALL PAID FOR I thought Christmas had come early! It was a great chance to meet a few people that we would cross paths with in the near future and a relaxed environment where we were welcomed into the team.

After lunch we got a mini tour around the office building and were then separated into our individual departments. In the space of a couple of hours I felt I had got to know the other grads quite well so it was daunting to be separated from them. My first department on the rotation scheme is Communications Planning - one of the key departments I am interested in settling in. I will be working here for 8 weeks and I am really excited about the tasks I will be getting my teeth into and soaking up all the new information and knowledge I will gain.

Bring on day 2!!