Pestering, pandas and audience profiling

The three p’s of my last week, and signs (underlined and CAPITALISED) of the madness that is advertising. I have just completed my third week at the Creative Orchestra, which is a small agency far, far away near Finsbury Park, where I have been able to get my paws in many pies as they give interns responsibility (yay). My tea and photocopying count being an impressive zero, and me leaving a much more knowledgeable, media-cynic as a result. I have controversially been told by my boss that journalists typically sit at their desks and wait for stories to come to them (my dreams of being an investigative journalist subsequently dashed), that PR ‘surveys’ are basically made-up and that a planner’s role in some agencies is to post-justify the creatives’ approach AFTER they have done it. Great, but at least I know these things now.

Over the last two weeks, I have been working on three main projects-

That unanswered question- which European country makes the best olive oil?

The first has been looking at people perceive countries as brands and thereby associate certain products and services to particular countries– for example, German banking, French wine and Spanish package holidays. No surprises there BUT as it turns out Spain fared unexpectedly badly- with its quality produce and export potential underappreciated in the survey. Take olive oil- shoppers are willing to pay more for the Italian stuff, which is in fact grown in Spain; likewise with fashion, despite Zara and Mango being Spanish brands, the country was poorly viewed in the style stakes. As such, my job was to raise awareness of these facts by the pester-method that I call PR. Phoning up angry-sounding journalist to try and sell them a story (whose details I could ironically not give due to it being PR) was not a sunny time for me- the low point being when I was on the receiving end to the Economic Editor of the Times’ seething impatience. I subsequently have a new understanding of rejection.

Job number 2 was a lot more up my street as it involved me honing in on my research skills. I believe that excellent stalking skills are the new asset of the internet generation, so it felt satisfying to utilise them in a work environment as the other intern and I cracked down on brand and marketing managers of certain companies. It was important to work out which audience we were going to target and how. This “who would be interested in this” seems to have trickled down into my subconscious, as I find myself questioning the relevance of what I am about to say, to result in a pre-tongue tied sensation.

The final and ‘only in advertising’ task concerned thinking up storylines for a Panda in a book of nursery rhymes (really). A job based on the fact that the boss had discovered a lovely, musty version of 1940s children’s book on Ebay and also had taken a slight dislike to the obnoxious Vinnie character of Fox’s biscuits. How this is going to pan out, I am not exactly sure…

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