Being thrown into the Red C: My first four months at an advertising agency

Any student looking for a placement will tell you how hard it is. It’s difficult finding time to fill out application forms around assignments, deadlines, and most importantly round your social life – a definite challenge even for the most organised person. You have to be fully committed to the search and really invest time into researching each role and company before you can answer questions, ultimately you have to prove you can jump through hoops in just a couple of pages of A4. (My favourite application question “If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?”.

Any student looking for a placement will tell you how hard it is. It’s difficult finding time to fill out application forms around assignments, deadlines, and most importantly round your social life – a definite challenge even for the most organised person. You have to be fully committed to the search and really invest time into researching each role and company before you can answer questions, ultimately you have to prove you can jump through hoops in just a couple of pages of A4. (My favourite application question “If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?”.

Selling yourself in.

If you are lucky enough it’s onto the next stage of the process- interviews! Interviews are equally as hard, especially when you are up against other students who study similar degrees. I learnt quickly that you had to really make yourself stand out from other candidates in order to get the job. I did this by highlighting my extensive work experience and extracurricular activities and relating these back to the role. I feel that these areas really helped me in being successful with my application at Red C. An interview is your only opportunity to sell yourself, make a good impression, and persuade why the company to invest in you.

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the two students to be taken on at advertising agency Red C.

Fast forward five months and I’m here, four months into my placement. My student bubble was well and truly burst, as I had to get on with the nine to five (well five thirty). I went from being a pretty much nocturnal animal, to having to find my perky early morning self… baring in mind that the only early mornings I was used to seeing were on my way in from a night out! Luckily, after the first couple of week’s easing into my role, I soon felt I could take it all in my stride and get on with the job in hand.
At Red C I am in a unique position in my role as a Junior Account Executive. I am split across two teams which is something that isn’t done in account handling in general but this has given me huge exposure to different clients, different creative, different processes, different ways of working and managing. The clients I am involved in working with are: Swinton Insurance, Spirit Pub Company and Coles supermarket. However, I have also had the opportunity to help on other Red C clients such as Manchester City Football Club, Jessops and Bensons for Beds.

So far I have had a really well rounded experience with opportunities to get involved with all aspects of work that my teams do, whether this is writing briefs, brainstorming new ideas, arranging external visits for primary research, reviewing results, making the brew round, attending meetings, managing production and building relationships with clients. I can honestly say I’ve learnt more about marketing in four months than I have studying it for two years at university. It’s been challenging getting my head round the clients, the type of work we do for them and why it’s done the way it is, but it really has joined up the dots from my previous work experience and has encouraged me to think ahead to post university plans. It’s also made me realise I really do love marketing.

I have so far spent my time at Red C observing my teams and working with them on various projects, so I have an understanding of both how the agency and the client works. I was ready for my next challenge and have been given a Christmas email to manage which will be the first one produced by the agency to include in cinemagraph and it will be sent to live customers. This has been one of my favourite digital discoveries whilst on placement, and so I was really excited when I was asked not only to be involved in this email but to manage it.

A cinemagraph is somewhere between a photograph and a video with small repeated animations, originally founded by New York City-based photographer, Jamie Beck and Web designer, Kevin Burg  who “hand-stitch” together her photos and his web design to make animated gifs they now call “Cinemagraphs.” They have been used by various brands already including Coca-Cola and Diesel, who used it throughout their autumn/winter 2012 campaign in store and on digital billboards.

We thought adding a Cinemagraph to the Swinton Christmas card email would be suitable due to its non-sale approach, and it would add something to make our live customers feel extra special, and something festive that we think Swinton customers will love. The Cinemagraph is going to be placed in the header panel of the email in order to grab the attention of the viewer, and hopefully increase engagement in the email.

If you want to have a look at some fantastic uses of cinemagraphs or want some inspiration I’d recommend this link.

Or even better, if you fancy having a go at creating a Cinemagraph, an iPhone app has been developed called “Cinemagram”, it’s surprisingly easy to do and it certainly caused a few laughs for us in the office.