Chapter 1 – In The Beginning
When I started my new role at bbd, I didn’t think that on the second day I’d be sat in a beer garden at 2 o’clock in the afternoon as your Managing Director tells you that human civilisation isn’t real and we are all, in fact, living in an AI Computer simulation (in fairness, he was high on cherry vape liquid at the time).
I joined bbd the day before a big pitch, hence the pub – not everyone here are alcoholics! Arriving the day before a big presentation was always going to be interesting and you’d expect the new placement student to be shunted into a corner whilst everyone prepared. This wasn’t the case at all, and I was welcomed with open arms. With confetti and balloons on my desk and a big sign welcoming me to the company, bbd went out of their way to make me feel at home.
It’s the little things like this that mean so much and I could already tell, after my first brief experiences, that bbd has a lot of heart.
I’d wanted to work in a marketing agency for almost a year before joining, after hearing a presentation at uni from, funnily enough, our MD Laurence – the same man who now is trying to persuade me that my whole life is his computer simulation. That presentation last year promised a dynamic, fast-paced work life and it’s certainly delivered that. Straight away I felt apart of a team. Everyone was so friendly and I immediately felt at home.
Within the first two weeks, I worked across a variety of projects and started to get more and more opportunities to help with some massive clients. From creating targeting parameters for Facebook posts to hanging up origami marine animals made from litter for a pitch, I was loving life at bbd and there was never a dull moment.
In short, my first experience of agency life was as chaotically brilliant as I dreamed it would be.
Chapter 2 – If You’re Not Winning, You’re Learning
Creative writing 101. All good stories need to have fall.
How boring would Toy Story be if Sid doesn’t rock up and start ripping up toys like a weird little psychopath. Whilst my story doesn’t contain any psychopaths (although the juries out on Alfie), I did go through a bit of a tough spell at bbd in late 2019. Now I need to say, ‘tough spell’ in the context of what’s going on in the world today is being pretty melodramatic. I would merely call it a small stumbling block in what’s otherwise been an amazing journey. Around September of last year, I was asked to alter my role slightly and start working full time on one of our biggest clients. I was excited to start getting involved with this company as they are one of the biggest in the world and I would be interacting with some incredibly successful and experienced people.
34 markets across Europe. Approximately 10-20 projects running at one time. 100 plus emails coming in every day. This was a big step up in terms of expectation and time management. I’d say I’m pretty organised for a 21-year-old uni student. Not only have I managed to arrange multiple pub trips, I rarely wear odd socks and I’ve almost never forgotten my sister’s birthday. But unfortunately, these impressive accolades weren’t going to prepare me for the months ahead.
I wouldn’t say I started that badly. I kept on top of most things (including my sanity) and managed to learn the ropes fairly quickly. I got on well with my team and I enjoyed the manic nature of trying to keep the plates spinning. The problem was, I felt like my role consisted entirely of account management and admin. I lost a bit of earlier passion and this meant I started to make silly errors. Missing client’s emails or not QAing work properly. It was a particularly testing time but throughout this whole period, the people of bbd kept me smiling and made the day-to-day so much more enjoyable. From my line manager to my pub pals, they got me through the hard days.
My time spent on this mega-client is one that I look back on now with a smile. I would say of any period at bbd, it was the one that I learned the most. It made me appreciate time management, scheduling of work properly, being on top of my account handling game, QA process. I was able to take these learnings back into other clients and bring more order to that world. Often the best way to learn in life is to be outside of your comfort zone and I’d say that this period has made me a much more rounded account exec and person.
Chapter 3 – My Legacy
Ask anyone in the office what I’ll be remembered for and they’re likely to say one thing:
Being an annoying lanky knob.
Being the creator of the Crisp World Cup.
What’s the crisp world cup? I hear you cry. Well if you want the full story, I encourage you read my blog on it below:
For those begging for a behind-the-scenes scoop on how it all started, it goes a little something like this. Our director Jess, my line manager Ant and myself were having a heated discussion about which crisp is the undisputed best. Jess said Salt & Vinegar Discos (wrong), Ant said plantain chips (definitely wrong), I went with the GOAT – Chilli Heatwave Doritos. God I love those triangular bastards.
Soon the whole office started piping in with their favourites. You can tell a lot about a person by their choice of crisp and I quickly realised that there’s some bbd members that need locking away pronto.
Anyway the only logical thing to do at this point was to stage the biggest snack-based super-tournament the world has ever seen. I won’t give away any spoilers, but it was a very fun little competition. So fun in fact, that I decided to do it again.
This time, we were in the midst of lockdown so finding a new type of food that we could all enjoy from a social distance was near-on impossible. But as old William Shakespeare once said: “if music be the food of love, play a head-to-head-32-teamed-deathmatch-do-or-die-super-tournament.”
And so, the song world cup was born. Again, I’ve written a little blog on this which you can check out below. THE RESULTS MAY SHOCK YOU 😲 😲 😲 [NOT CLICKBAIT].
I loved organising both these mini in-house tournaments. Everyone got behind them and, particularly with the song world cup, it brought some welcome fun during a challenging time.
The question is now, where do we go next? Rumours are flying about that a chocolate world cup could be on the horizon, or maybe even a film world cup. Either way, I’m happy to work freelance in my Chief Major Tournament Organiser role when I’m back at uni (for a small up-front cost of £250,000). I will await your call.
Chapter 4 – The Final Curtain
As I come to the end of my time at bbd and look back on my last 13 months, I feel as though I have matured and grown so much as a person. Not only have I learned some great industry skills (setting up Facebook ads, pulling together a cost plan etc.), I’ve also learned some valuable life lessons. I leave bbd as a more accomplished individual and with an air of excitement for what lies ahead.
When I first started, I was worried about delving into the world of full-time work. Having only ever worked a couple of nights a week at Waitrose or a few days here and there in summer jobs, the prospect of working eight and a half hours a day Monday to Friday was a bit daunting. Your mind starts to imagine yourself sitting at your computer in some drab office answering to some big-shot boss all-day every-day. bbd couldn’t be further from that.
The vibrant and energetic spirit is infectious. I’ve met some very special people along the way and it’s an experience I will never forget.
After a whirlwind 13 months, I bow out of bbd with a smile on my face.