Alastair James

I've recently begun to use an app for my iPad called "Paper" by 53. Here is where I will post my drawings that are only really me messing around with the tools to create hopefully decent pictures. There will also be other trash I imagine, my thoughts and ponderings :)

Freshly made sausage sandwich with homemade spicy salsa, topped with onions and fresh cherry tomatoes and sour cream.
These are the dreams
Pan fried lamb seasoned with mixed herbs served with fried onion, veg and a roasted tomato. Bon appetite!
Chorizo, Manchego cheddar and fried onion toasted sandwich. Mmmmmmm
Apple and blackberry pastry. I didn’t buy this from Sainsbury’s…
A little light reading for my dissertation.
We didn’t make it through! *cries hysterically*

The final three days in London

Hello! Here is an account of my last three days at my placement. I’m now back at home but was busy each day after work to get this done sooner. 
Day 8
I was continuing work for the Turkish Airlines project. We finished it today as well and sadly that was as far as my involvement with that project went. However I did establish the groundwork for them to begin devising a strategy for which to create the campaign so I have had a good role to play. I also left them with them with some ideas following a discussion we had about what we thought of their past adverts and where they could go next. It’s been great to hear them respond positively to everything i’ve done and listen to my ideas when they could so easily ignore my ideas and rely on their experience. 
For the rest of that day I finished my mock brief by creating mock ups of posters as well as drafting scripts for TV ads. I also handed it in and got my feedback the next day.
Day 9
I started the day off by getting feedback on my brief from one of the work experience managers who is an account manager. He said it was very good and the only thing to do to improve it would be to move some stuff around and include some statistics but they would usually have been given by the client with the brief so I’m not really accountable for that. He said my launch strategy of creating TV ads to be shown throughout the day on different channels to maximise visibility and awareness along with bus ads, posters and branded stalls in shops to hold the product were very good. The stalls would take the product out of the stack of other products and physically make it much more distinguishable from other products. I also identified a valuable target market (health enthusiasts and mothers who want their kids to have a healthy pack lunch) and was able to create adverts around them. 
Overall very positive feedback and very encouraging.
That evening was the summer party, which was Brazilian themed. It was a very good night with free alcohol and I didn’t do anything to show myself up! Yet I still had fun. 
Day 10
As it was my last day and being the day after the party there wasn’t a lot to do. It’s an unwritten rule that after an office party you can turn up a little late but I decided that I preferred punctuality and also as I hadn’t gotten as drunk as others the night before I had no real excuse to be late. 
I was given some tasks to contribute towards a pitch for Morrison’s involving research into their discounts and deals as well as their internal engagement with their employees and comparing this to leading competitors. Apart from that, that was my final day.
Overall it was a very enjoyable experience and very informative. So I couldn’t really have asked for anything more. It’s definitely something I want to pursue and now that I have contacts if I want to return for more experience all I have to do is ask and from what the people who managed the work experience said as I left, I am in a much stronger position towards getting a job post university. As for living in London, I absolutely loved it! There is nowhere else I’d rather be following university (with the possible exception of New York) and this even includes the underground. Admittedly the heat was exhaustive and its nice that its cooled down a bit now but I have got a rather nice tan. 
What I took the initiative to do (as well as do this blog of all my experience) is keep a portfolio of work to show to people should I get interviews elsewhere. That way I can show them what I got up to and also describe the experience with the aid of a visual representation. 
Alastair out!
X

Hello! Here’s my recent life.

Friday was the busiest day I’d had at the job. Very quickly I had several jobs on the go! Admittedly not the most fascinating jobs but all relevant. I did some more work for Lipton, much like the day before but trying to find better images (meaning bigger in size). That didn’t take too long but as I was doing several things simultaneously it took some time and also I was doing (as I have tried to with all my work) it to the best of my ability and being very analytical  The task was to find images that could represent certain words that will be presented to customer research participants as a stimulus towards tea, coffee, iced tea, coke and emotive words that could be used to describe how one feels about those products and what they would like to fill. Does that make sense? I may not have explained it terribly well.

Then (at the same time) I was tasked with finding images of leading vodka brands to give to a new campaign. Basically looking at how brands shape their products in a very literal sense and what images, wording etc. they used. Also I was told to look out for innovative flavours, which to my surprise led me to find grape, mango, plum, clementine, lemon and many more flavours! I hadn’t realised there were so many! But I suppose I wouldn’t unless I went out and bought vodka on a weekly basis; which I certainly don’t do…

After this I was asked to use a fine tooth comb on an excel doc. for VW to make sure there were no mistakes/inconsistencies, which was very much appreciated. The guy who asked me to help, Tom, has given me several jobs over the week and from my observations seems to be one of the employees that does the most as I regularly see him in meetings and running around. I’ve identified those in the company, on my floor at least, who are moderately high up and executive so have begun to move closer to them. Call it what you will but I don’t see any harm in it and not as “playing a game”. I say this thinking of The Apprentice (which I need to catch up on actually!)

After lunch I had to figure out how many Morrison’s stores there were in the North and South. A seemingly impossible task until I found the store index. There are 226 in the North, 157 in the South and 127 in the Midlands, Wales and Gibraltar. After asking the two guys in charge of work experience it looks like next week I could be helping Morrison’s out more on getting their pitches done for the campaigns. Not the most exciting client we have but anything at this stage is good! Also the Spamalot campaign was finished the other day! Such a shame!

Finally I got some more clerical work on excel but it is a part of the job (an account manager) so is worth doing.

So at the end of my first week I think I can safely say that the work has increased in amount as well as importance and its even more exciting that some of my work is already being put to use! I definitely think this is the career for me, providing acting fails. On that front I’ve decided to apply for one school I like and then can at least say I tried.

This weekend, well today (Saturday) I spent alone as my host had ore-booked tickets to see an all female cast of Shakespeare’s Titus Adronicus, one of his bloodier plays so I am told. Not sure why its all female but I’m sure there’s a political or social explanation. So I spent my day traversing the city going to my favourite spots. I strolled, leisurely along embankment, a new favourite past time before finding some lunch and then going to the west end to wander from theatre to theatre and through Leicester Square, Covent Garden and back home. I was planning on going to Camden but it just got too hot! It reached 30 degrees or was supposed to! Thankfully no red-ness as of yet.
On Monday I researched the sponsors of the 2012 Olympics and what they contributed then what they got out of it. This was for someone who’s given me small bits of work here and there. Then I was assigned for the rest of the day and all of yesterday to an entirely new campaign for Turkish Airlines. This is a fantastic opportunity as I’m starting entirely from scratch and helping the planners come up with the strategy that’ll be used in the eventual campaign. Suffice it to say that all we’ve done so far is research past ads, which isn’t the most exhilarating of jobs but needs to be done. 
Apart from that I’ve continued the Naked juice brief I had from first week which is nearly finished and has had some good comments made about it which is only a good thing. Also I was FINALLY given the actual brief for the project and was amazed to find out I’d gone in the right direction without any direction. All my research and ideas were well thought out and answered all of the questions and included all the essential parts of the clients brief. Just to re-iterate this was on;y a mock brief to see how we dealt with that part of the job. Looks like I did quite well.
That’s all I’ve done for the past two days, which doesn’t seem like a lot but it all took up the two days and was very tiring. Mind you I expect the heat had some effect. Don’t worry I’m not burnt.
Lots of Love
Alastair

The third and fourth days at AdamandeveDDB

Hello! I come with news from the capital! It’s quietened down now as it usually does around the office at 4 pm, so it seemed ideal to do the email blog now. 

Over the past couple of days I have begun to take on more jobs with a more relevant link to advertising, whereas the first two days were comprised mainly of PR tasks and being a kind of runner for people in the office.
On Wednesday morning I was able to do some work for lastminute.com (a website that offers deals) which was me using consumer research to create stories about fake people I’d created that represented certain groups identified through the research. That was quiet interesting, actually and received very positive responses so could possibly be used in the end campaign, which would be amazing! Like the ads I helped lengthen for Volkswagen on Tuesday, the work I do could be used but for all I know the big execs could decide its not that good. Ah well! Least I’ve got experience. 
After that I helped the director of the team I sit with with some stuff for a VW ad, researching what journeys you could do with certain cars with their miles per gallon. For example for a VW Polo BlueMotion which can do 800 mpg, you could get from John O’Groats to Newquay and for another car which can do 530 mpg you can get from Blackpool to Southampton twice and that is being used! in the actual ad! I’m directly contributing to campaigns! It’s amazing!
After that work died down again but after sending out emails (which I do frequently) I was asked to accompany someone to the recording of a voiceover for a radio ad for VW. I sat in the control room of a recording studio, whilst people came in and gave me free food and drink as I listened to an actor record the terms and conditions for the ad. I was able to give feedback and responses to the work, but didn’t really need to be there. Nonetheless it was still a good experience.
Today I’ve been doing “amends”, which is our way of saying corrections to mistakes of questionnaires for market research for another campaign we have at the agency. Then I did some research on VW’s competitors (Nissan and Toyota) for a pick up van. After lunch I did some stimulus research for Lipton who are looking to combine their two brands (Lipton and Lipton Iced tea) by looking for images that represent words that can be used to describe how people think and feel about tea, coffee, coke etc. That was rather interesting. Since then I haven’t done an awful lot but from talking to various people there isn’t that much to do anyway and most people are on top of their work. 
I found out yesterday the agency does all the advertising for Spamalot and as I’m working next to the guy who’s working on it I thought I could volunteer myself but apparently its done. Still rather fun to think about though. 
That’s all from the capital. Haven’t done too much else other than spend time with my friend in the evenings and have dinner. We’re doing more this weekend and next week like going to a Piano bar, to the theatre and on the Eye and more. Tonight we’re going to a Spanish food market which should be fun! 
Time to sign off me thinks. Hope you are all well!
Lots of love
Alastair