This year I ventured out past even Zone 9 (and not just for the weekend) into the bit of the map marked “There be Dragons” for most Londoners. No, I’m not tired of life, I just thought, maybe, it could be better. I still love the capital, I grew up in and around the smog of London town. I started my career there. My friends and family still live and work there. But I thought maybe, just maybe there might be more out there.
I left in search of surf, sea air, sand, cool bars, good gigs and time for hobbies and wasn’t disappointed. I’ve also learnt more about advertising than I ever expected when I left the big smoke, media loveys and Southern Rail far behind me.
So in true millennial fashion I wanted to share with you the things I have discovered in the form of an odd numbered list:
1. There really is a London bubble
There are more fads and ads in town. More art and artisan burgers. All great inspiration for the aspiring marketer wanting to be the first on the latest trends and get the jump on the rest of the industry of London media types. In reality we all know that mostly this leads not to awards, but the monotonous rolling out of the same ideas. Not once since leaving have I heard words “train station flash mob” or “tube takeover”.
London is important. 1/8th of the UK population live there, but 7/8ths don’t. And life and its values outside of London are just different. Those of us in London have often looked down on and ridiculed the rest of the country as medieval, brexiteers but they really aren’t. They just don’t give a fuck about your new £1,000 fixie or that great new bakery you found that serves a sensational Kenyan/Kazak fusion croissants (™ Anthony Newsom 2017).
So If you really want to succeed as a marketer in this country you might want to consider taking a moment to understand your consumers – and statistically 7/8ths of them aren’t interested in your commute.
2. Good things happen when you collaborate
I’ve worked in agencies big and small and what really struck me during my first few months at Bright Blue Day is that they collaborate. Designers, creatives, videographers and developers all take responsibility for the projects. In most cases they see all the emails from the client and have often made the amends required before I have even see the email. It’s led to great more efficient work: Being the first country in Europe to launch Visa Checkout, leading Haven’s first ever social campaign for ownership, attracting a new audience to the British Grand Prix through social and not to mention a casual model role in the 2017 RNLI fish supper shoot.
3. Work is easier and better if what you are doing makes sense
Every agency needs a cutting edge, be it Trust, Truth or Simplicity each has their own view on the world. At the moment we are mostly talking to our clients about sense. Making sense of the customer for the brand. Making the brand make sense in that customer world. And creating stuff that makes sense in that journey.
Sounds simple doesn’t it. But I think there’s a lot of truth in it, and who wouldn’t trust that?
4. Location, Location, Location
Look at it. Ain’t it pretty. And that’s just the bit in the town. The Jurassic coast is just down there if you are tempted in land for some reason you’ll find yourself surrounded by the New Forest. Nature really has brought its A-game to the South Coast. My morning commute now involves a plod along the beach and a stroll through the chine (a wooded valley).
5. Life will find a way
There is life outside of London… no really. Like… proper life. Bars, bands, clubs, restaurants, nature, parties, creative types. Hell – we even have a Pret.
I walk to work, BBQ on the beach, play rugby, tennis and even go surfing regularly, I already have tickets to see Dub Pistols, Nick Mulvey, Royal Blood, The Sherlocks, Craig Charles, Jon Richardson and Greg Davies (not to mention those I missed out on: JHus, Alt-J, Stereophonics, Marmozets, Newton Faulkner….) and afterwards I can walk home (screw you TFL). The town even puts on fireworks on the beach every Friday night through the Summer. Any excuse for a party down here.
6. All roads lead to London
If you’re worrying that you’ll never see the Northern Line again, don’t. You’ll still have to go up to town to see your clients, go to industry events or awards, and it’s actually pretty nice. You miss the place. You reminisce about your old haunts. Go out to bars and restaurants, even visit galleries or catch-up with old friends and colleagues (if you plan it well enough). But then you jump on the train, head back to the coast and leave it behind – and trust me, the old girl is all the better for it.
7. Life is for living