Friday, 23 August 2013

On Biscuits to Briefs: My Week with TBWA

This piece originally appeared on on 23/08/2013

I know a lot of people who’ve undertaken work experience, but I don’t know many people that use a week of annual leave from a role they’re already in in order to immerse themselves in their ideal industry. My family laughed at first. ‘You’re taking a week holiday from work… to go and work somewhere else?’

They say a change is as good as a rest though, and even though the beautiful TBWA offices in Manchester don’t have a beach (they do have table football though, amongst other toys), I feel perfectly content here. There’s such a complimentary vibe; by which I mean everything just seems to flow perfectly. All the processes and communications between the teams appear to be seamless, and that’s because this is an agency that knows what to do. It’s easy to see how clients feel reassured by the service TBWA provide.

I was told on my first day that I was going to be challenged. In addition to adapting to a completely new environment (I’ve never experienced agency life before), I explored how briefs work and how to write one of my own. A lot of my time was spent learning how internal communications work, and what different teams need to know, as well as learning how to understand client requests to translate the information they provide into a satisfactory brief.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect though was being able to keep track of what exactly was going on a lot of the time. My own career history covers environments ruled by strict guidelines and with clear cut conclusions, and considering the work ethic here as an outsider, at TBWA there seems to be an almost effortless fluidity to how work progresses. It (sometimes deceptively!) comes across as a stress free environment, but this is testament to the ease of the relationships between the teams.

Learning how much effort goes into perfecting different projects really added to how mentally invested I’ve become in the clients I’ve been introduced to. I’ve found myself calling into shops I wouldn’t normally go in, and purposefully looking out for products TBWA worked on when I’m shopping, just see how the final products look to the rest of the world. Do people realise how much thought goes into the placement of a logo on packaging?

From half hour discussions about custard creams to learning which programs are used for creating artwork (something I’m admittedly a complete novice about), my time here has been a completely new experience for me. I’ve loved every minute.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

I'm cuddling in bed with the snuggliest pussycat ever.
I have work experience next week and I couldn't be more excited! Amazing company and lovely people.
I'm going to Knowesley Safari Park next weekend (it's true I'm going with Ste, but you can't have it all I suppose.)
My body confidence is on a high point at the moment.
I have lots of lovely new clothes in my wardrobe! As well as my Mean Girls tshirt that is yet to be delivered.
Speaking of deliveries, I have a new book being delivered tomorrow.
I've been a bit poorly recently but I think I'm over it now!
I have the house to myself until Monday. Yeeeeeeeeeah!

Reasons to be sad:
Left the Jaffa Cakes downstairs.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Out with the old, in with the new.

Last night I was taking yet another picture of my cat. When my iPhone showed me the finished product, it also gave me some interesting information. '650 of 650' it said. 'Six hundred and fifty photos!' I thought. 'Surely not!'

I flipped through and found combination of cat pictures, selfies, food photos and random snaps (including lots of pictures of my Grandad), making up 650 fairly useless pictures. 'I'll delete some of the older ones,' I decided. But a lot of the older pictures are ones I want to keep. Loads of pictures of people that aren't really in my life anymore, but I wouldn't really feel right deleting. Don't get me wrong, I'm not keeping these pictures because I'm clinging on to people, but I just don't see any real reason for deleting pictures that are nice memories if I still want them to be.

These pictures just got me thinking about the things I'm throwing away at the moment. I'm slowly redecorating my bedroom and part of the process means throwing away a lot of old junk. Today I went through my wardrobe and threw away a lot of clothes that I've not worn in the past few months. It's funny how one particular item of clothing can remind you of somebody - they might have been with you when you wore it or bought it, but all these material possessions contain a lot of memories. Right now I can see a necklace I let a friend borrow but she didn't return it for years, and now it reminds me of her.

Over the past few weeks though I've thrown a lot of stuff away, I've been quite brutal with it really. I'm just making room for new memories.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

'Do you not shave then?'

As I muddled my way through university, I never paid much attention to feminism, despite it being the perfect opportunity to educate myself. Now I'm sat behind this bloody reception all day every day, I'm using all this empty time to learn. I think it's important to note that I am still learning, but what I have gathered is that there are many different definitions of feminism dependant on individual perceptions and experiences.

Several months ago I was out for lunch with work friends, during which one of my friends made a joke somewhere along the lines of 'you can't say that, you're a feminist!' At this, one of the girls was surprised.

'A feminist?!' she said. 'Are you really?'

'Well yeah,' I replied. 'are you not?'

She responded honestly, explaining that she didn't fully understand what feminism is, and asking 'do you not shave then?' I asked her simply if she considers men equal to women, and used the gender pay gap as an example, and when she agreed with the sentiments, one of the other girls said 'no, feminism is a lot more complicated than that.' Unfortunately she didn't elaborate on her ideas of feminism.

Of course there are more complex ways of considering feminism. I have friends with radical feminist views, who have one goal of destroying the patriarchy and establihing a matriarchal rule. For me, it's just about equality. When discussing feminism, it's not uncommon to hear (in my own experiences this is usually from a male perspective) that 'women are equal to men now!' So when you read articles like this, it's utterly heartbreaking.

I don't think I can discuss that article because my hayefever seems to kick off every time I consider that poor girl, but what I will say, Captain Obvious over here, is simply that rape culture has to stop. A 12 year old was raped and the amount of times I heard 'she shouldn't have been out that late' is nauseating. That's a point to question, why is a young girl out that late? That's for the parent or guardian of the girl to answer. Just because she is out late though, that does not automatically mean she is inviting sexual abuse. We don't know the full circumstances as to why she was out late, but we know victims don't instigate sexual abuse. The fact it was after midnight should not overshadow the fact there were three men looking to sexually abuse this child.

And you're okay with these guys doing that just because it was after midnight? Walking around and taking advantage of the first child they see without a parent or guardian with them? The only people to blame for rape are the rapists.

Sorry, I went into rant mode. Just another of those angry feminist types who doesn't shave her legs.