Archive for April, 2007
I think my job is ace. It is. Really. Obviously, compared to coal mining or refuse collection, sitting in a nice office and going to meetings sounds pretty la-di-dah, but I honestly think I got the winning ticket even in the white collar stakes.
I spent this morning writing a piece for a trade magazine about a subject of my choice that I find fascinating to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) about. And I wrote it sitting at home in my lounge in the sunshine, logged in remotely because my agency is cool like that.
Later this week I might go and talk to architects, engineers and other clever people about a revolutionary new place to live, work and play that needs an identity. Then I could sit in on some focus groups for an exciting new health and beauty launch and work out how to shift some more of a very famous soft drink in foodservice. All the time using my brain and working out the answers for myself with the added benefit of a mass of useful information and 190 helpful people to confer with.
Add to that, I work in a fantastic old mansion (with dodgy 80s extension), complete with wifi’d garden and situated close enough to get me from desk to stables in 30 minutes flat in the Summer.
Of course, it isn’t always fun and challenging and perfect, but I recon that 80% of the time I really like/love my job and how many people can say that?
Northern Planner has recently posted on why swimming competitively as a child has made him a better Planner. I’d like to offer my own thoughts on why spending a lot of time around horses has influenced my approach to Planning and agency life in general:
1) Highs and Lows
There’s nothing quite like cantering across the moors on a sunny day, or being licked by a small, hairy pony in search of polos, or taking home the first place rosette.
But its not fun to have to chuck yourself off a galloping horse because its bolting towards a main road, or to have to make the heart wrenching decision to have your elderly, arthritic pony put to sleep.
You learn a sense of proportion. Lows will inevitably follow highs, the darkest time is before the dawn etc. Especially important to remember when pitching for new business!
2) Preparation is key
The only way to get placed in a Tack and Turnout class at a horse show was to spend the entire day before cleaning tack, polishing boots, grooming, washing the pony, plaiting his mane and tail and so on. Poor preparation = no rosette. No shortcuts.
There are some things you just can’t skimp on. Like taking the time to research and write a decent creative brief.
3) Mindset, not age
Horses are a great leveller. One of my favourite riding companions is just 13. My other regular hacking buddy is in her 50s. We share a common interest in horses, have well matched mounts and enjoy the same kind of relaxed hack. So the age difference doesn’t matter, we are coming from the same place.
Agencies can be notoriously assumptive about target audience’s mindsets based on age, when we should really be concentrating on their opinions, interests and preconceptions.
This is Me, aged about 8 on Tommy. To put this into context, little Tommy was 11.2 hands high (or about four foot to the top of his saddle). Bless.
I went back and visited that cathedral this week.
It was an oddly moving experience. I’m not religious, but the combination of architecture and atmosphere affected me.
I’m increasingly of the opinion that the architecture and interior design of buildings are crucially important because they can deeply affect how we feel. Which kind of brings me back to my much earlier post on Creative Spaces.
We all need space to think, to breathe and to feel.
The brand new wiki for the Interesting2007 conference/festival/fun day/planner’s party thingy can be found here. Another 100 tickets went on sale today, but got snapped up straight away. If you are still chasing tickets, check the Interesting2007 website for the next ticket release, or go straight to the ticket sales site. There is also an option on the sales site to email Russell Davies if you’d like to be informed when the next tranch of tickets are released.
I’m loving Any Dream Will Do. Its the campest, cheesiest thing on TV and coupled with the excellent Dr Who, makes for a fab end to a busy week. Yes, I know a bright young thing like me should be out painting the town red on a Saturday night, but sometimes a girl needs to put her feet up and chill out.
Anyway, my point is that I keep finding myself scuttling off to itunes to track down songs (not I should stress actually from Joseph-and-his-amazing-technicolour-whatnot) that have been featured. So I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the charts on itunes and see if the program is having a broader effect. Wouldn’t you know it, the Joseph soundtrack is currently at number 25 in the album chart, followed by Grease at number 29 (Grease is the Word being ITV’s inferior answer to Any Dream Will Do). My question: do the BBC or ITV get a kickback on album sales?
PS Vote Lee.
Update: Sunday 22nd April – I found a story in today’s Sunday Times that the new BBC Trust is being asked to investigate if the corporation is giving undue promotion to Andrew Lloyd Webber and his productions. Remember, you read it here first. :-)
I’m nearing the end of a Big Pitch (the fact that most of my recent posts have comprised details of cross-country odysseys might have been a clue). The thing is, I’ve visited the same town in the South East of England three times in the last couple of months, but have I visited their famous cathedral? Have I heck. Its a really nice town, with fab independent shops and a really relaxed vibe, but all I’ve seen have been eating/drinking/sleeping establishments, the train station and the client’s offices. Must try harder.
PS I did use the quote. It was from Matrix. I like to think in its own small way it helped us get through to the next round :-)
I wasn’t fantastically academic at school. In a year full of Oxbridge candidates and aspiring doctors, lawyers and vets (I went to a Girl’s Grammar School), I didn’t exactly stand out.
But then, according to the school there was only one right answer. Which didn’t exactly suit the way my mind works. Its a lot more fun now, when the right answer is whatever I decide its going to be…
I keep reading about the amount of tests (with one right answer) school children are expected to take and I wonder where the next generation of Planners is going to come from.
Just got back from another two day expedition by train. It strikes me that the train companies seem to have forgotten that they’re providing a (very pricey) service. On the way down, a GNER conductor laid into the woman behind us for getting on a train going in the right direction, but not stopping at her station, while implying that she was trying to cheat and simultaneously calling her stupid. This respectable middle aged lady was left very embarrassed and close to tears by a man who could have handled the situation a hundred times better.
On another train (from another train company) we saw a charmingly named Revenue Protection Officer doing his rounds – but having checked it out on google, it turns out that they’re on commission for picking up people travelling without a valid fare, rather like traffic wardens (and we all know how helpful they can be…).
Add to that the general grubbiness of most of the trains and the dearth of decent places to get something to eat (M&S Simply Food can’t roll out fast enough for me) and you have an experience that is only marginally preferable to sitting on the M1 in a traffic jam on a Friday afternoon. Come on guys, get your act together. And does anyone know somewhere close to Peterborough station that serves edible food?
I’ve retagged my Interesting2007 posts to make them easier to find on the blog, but this means that they’ll show up as fresh posts. Sorry, blame wordpress.