Thursday, June 01, 2006

Coffee with the young man behind the most controversial agency application we've heard of.

DC: So Anton, you were probably the most talked about intern to ever hit London. Campaign wrote about you and your application stunt had the industry around the world talking. Stigma or charm?

AR: I wouldn't say that I was the most talked about intern to ever hit London, quite a few have paved dramatic waves way before me and at a younger age but to be talked about certainly isn't a stigma regardless of context. I've always been a believer of "any publicity is good publicity" which is quite a dangerous sword to live by as proven by the likes of Gary Lace and Ben Langdon, but if no one is talking about you then it's more than likely you're not worth being talked about.

DC: You've always been what some may dub a 'trouble maker' others 'brilliant' but look at where it got you and how well your doing. Can you talk a little about the positives of causing trouble?

AR: I'm not out to cause trouble. The only move I've made that was controversial was my M&C Saatchi stunt and that was a joke in itself. Without even saying anything the whole of Saatchi & Saatchi along with Campaign Magazine actually believed I'd hacked the real M&C Saatchi website when really it was just a replicate site. I guess it worked on two levels which was to cause noise around my application to the Saatchi Summer School and also exposed considerable people for not really understanding digital other than the word 'hacker'. Remember people coming up to me in the Pregnant Man and asking if i was 'the hacker'? Dear dear, I couldn't hack a soft drinks machine let alone a website. I would also add that there are no positives to simply causing trouble for the sake of it, to cause trouble as a by product of what you believe in and what you believe works is different, that's when the fun starts.

DC: So how do you know when 'far' is proceeded by 'too'?

AR: When everyone stops laughing.

DC: London is a tough place to make it, the market is saturated, talent is everywhere, agency's aren't really expanding. Where would you see yourself in 10 years

AR: I would disagree with talent being everywhere, far from it. I think it's harder to find talent than it is new business and as a result some agencies have their priorities muddled. Expansion is reliant on new business and new business is reliant on talent. An easy equation really but still not thoroughly adopted. In terms of where I see myself in 10 years, if all goes to plan, I'll be writing an expose on how the world was fooled by the worst book on earth which featured a crap conspiracy surrounding Da Vinci's Last Supper and how McDonalds is the best thing since contraception. Failing that, I'll be making ads somewhere.

DC: So what does your usual 1st year at a large agency in London consist off?

AR: It's hard to say really as believe it or not large agencies differ greatly in London. I can therefore only speak from my experience which is a cocktail of Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis. What I can say that is the support is of a good standard, sometimes too good. As a young Account Executive with ambitions it's hard to be kept in the cage when all you want to do is run around and get as deep into the business as possible. Having said that I've probably been saved from considerable mistakes due to this. Large agencies also have the resources and the services to provide a fully integrated experience. As a trainee, not only are you able to converse the benefits of branding mediums such as TV, press and outdoor but you are also in a position to talk about the tracking benefits of DM, digital and POS which contribute to a greater picture of consumer insight. The first year should really be written off in terms of frustration though, just keep your head down and grin and bare it.......unless contact reports, booking rooms, formatting presentations and having emails checked is your thing.

DC: Great to have you on the blog Anton, good luck with Publicis!

(Visit Antons blog)


Anonymous Spoon said...

Anton, respect. Question, my boss is constantly trying to keep a lid on can I take her out?

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anton, how much client contact do you have in your first year? Are you assigned to a brand or is it a 360 rotation?

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spoon - I suggest just asking her, if she's up for it you'll get a date quite easily. If you mean moving her sideways, contact a local head hunter and get her shopped, enquire about their services and then name drop her. Or you could just work your hardest for her so that she needs you more than you need her and she'll start giving you a free reign.

The first week I was on an account I was off on a week brand induction with my account manager, my account director and the whole of the client team. That was the best way to meet the clients as it was an all out sink or swin situation. I got on very well with them and as a result it's easy to pick up the phone and vice versa. I am about to finish my 6 month ATL 'experience' and will spend 6 months BTL. Afterwhich I have organised to train as a planner.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did MC offer you a job after the stunt?

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm, not quite, they invited me for an interview and then proceeded to tear chunks out of me in a typical M&C aggresive way. I shrugged it off and asked to leave the interview a karma-esque kind of way their shares are rock bottom right now and have had major stock pull outs, shame.


2:39 PM  
Anonymous OD said...

How much interaction do you have with the creatives, are the ideas exclusivly generated in their offices?Or do they allow room for Suits to sit in?

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From my experience creatives guard their roles with passion. I have had constant interaction with them but only at a brief/debrief/review level. In the larger established agencies the creatives are happy with the black and white nature of creatives and suits and there is no real blurring or roles. Not what I agree with but it's the culture here. Having said that, the growth of faster, younger and more dynamic agencies is on the increase and these are nipping at the heels and accounts of the big networks. The future is most certainly in their favour.


6:54 PM  

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