Prize Giving Guest Of Honour Leads Twilight Session On Advertising

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Our 2015 Prize Giving guest of honour Ms Karen Fraser kindly led a twilight session after school last week on advertising.

An eager group of U6th students took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about advertising from a leading expert in the profession. Karen Fraser is a director at the Advertising Association and has been instrumental in researching and producing clear, dynamic reports regarding the impact of this field.

Ms Fraser led a discussion about different roles in advertising: creative roles, media planning, strategy, research, IT, accounting, HR and programming, for example. She confirmed there are numerous entry routes but many opportunities can be created through drive and determination, not just what or whom you know. 

The group was left with 7 excellent pieces of advice to give those considering advertising a head start:

  1. Don’t worry too much about what you study at university. It’s important, but it’s not make or break. Karen works with graduates from all disciplines, and in most cases they find they don't use their degree discipline that much. 
  2. Don’t just look for jobs that are advertised. Karen said one of the best pieces of advice she had heard was that 'the best jobs are not advertised’. Write speculative letters, remembering to say: a) why you admire the company, b) how much you want to work for them and importantly c) how you would contribute to future success. 
  3. Read newspapers and magazines and websites: e.g. Campaign, The Drum, Marketing Week, PR Week, Ad Age, The Guardian in particular.
  4. Read Jeremy Bullmore, CBE, one of the cleverest and funniest people around and writes in Campaign every week. Also follow people like Rory Sutherland and Dave Trott on Twitter, as you will learn a lot even before you start to look for jobs or work experience.
  5. The league tables printed by Campaign will tell you about the top agencies. They include AMV BBDO, Adam & Eve DDB, DLKW Lowe and McCann. Look out for holding companies called WPP, Publicis, Omnicom, and Interpublic. They are the biggest and they own lots of companies, so there are many opportunities and different ways to get in.
  6. Once you are in, don’t wait for things to do. Say 'hello' to people and tell them if you are interested in something they are working on, then ask if they would like your help with anything. Often even the most senior people will really want your help. Karen recently heard that the PR representative for Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), who travels everywhere with her, made himself known this way. 
  7. Be nice! Be enthusiastic! Don’t think anything is beneath you as everyone starts at the bottom. The CEO Founder of John Lewis' agency, Adam & Eve DDB, started in the post room, and he now leads one of the best agencies in the UK and is Chairman of the Advertising Association.

Ms Fraser suggested that as well as working hard and learning as much as you can, 'you also need to be the person that people want to succeed'. Excellent advice from yet another highly impressive Bablake former pupil making a key impact on 21st century life. #thisgirlcan 

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