Meet And Greet At The Big Boys Table

Finally, after watching the creative teams come and go from their respective agencies over the last few weeks, the suits were given their chance to prove their worth in the industry over the mid-semester break.

We were split up in to groups and sent to different agencies with the promise that it would be a very valuable and quality use of our time. The group sent to Aim Proximity actually went in for interviews for the chance for some real-life work experience for six days during the second week. I however, was sent to Colenso where we were treated to an evening with a junior account manager working on the Vodafone account and a copywriter. As great as it was being selected to go to Colenso, the chance for six days at Aim Proximity would have been icing. I’m going to say I wasn’t given it because I let it slip the day before that I was ‘sick as a dog’ leading to an, ‘oh… perhaps you should join one of the other groups then, there’ll be more chances later,’ but Colenso really is the next best thing, and I was stoked.

Colenso were recently awarded the top agency of the decade overshadowing advertising giants Saatchi and Saatchi who have held top spot for most of New Zealand’s recent history. Colenso’s most predominant clients include Vodafone, Yellow, Fonterra, V Energy Drink, Air New Zealand and more recently Westpac and Burger King. You may remember some of their award winning ads on telly, such as the Tip Top, simplifying summer one where they explained the difference between undies and togs and all those funny little Frank soft drink ads (plus many, many more).

Anyway, on Thursday just before 5pm, a group of young hopefuls met in the lobby at the Colenso/Aim Proximity building at the top of College Hill. We were quite nervous, unknowing of what to expect. However, we knew we were in for an interesting time after seeing the dozens and dozens of awards sitting inside the front desk and a shabby tree house dangling from the ceiling. After an agonizing 20 minute wait, a young chap bounced down the stairs, introduced himself as James and led us up to the second floor. He led us past a room which appeared to be the creative workplace but really resembled a playground featuring grown men and woman chasing each other amongst party lights and decorations and then eventually into a board room. I felt like I was walking through Hogwarts.

On the wall at the end of the board room hung a million inch TV, overlooking a massive table with big soft, cushiony seats. Upon the table sat a neat selection of cold beers and chips from which we were offered and then asked to take a seat. Zoe, our copywriting friend soon joined us and so began an exciting, career enlightening presentation.

James led the way and spoke about what it means to work for Colenso and spoke about what exactly it is he does as a junior account manager working on the Vodafone account. It was great. As he spoke, he began ticking all of my boxes one by one. His job boasts the perfect balance of creativity, management and sales and best of all; he gets to dress like a boss every single day for work. I’ll go into more detail on this next week.

Zoe then followed with a spiel about herself and what it’s like to work as a creative at Colenso. After coming from DDB in Sydney, she said that the suits at Colenso are miles ahead of anyone she’s previously worked with in terms of knowledge and synchronisation. While we learn about what happens in an agency every day at Uni, it was awesome getting a first-hand account from someone our own age. She confirmed and denied many industry rumours for us, the worst being the possibility of crazy work hours, but when you’re working the best job in the world, who the fuck cares?

They then gave us a preview of an upcoming campaign they are designing for Vodafone where they are offering people a salary to work for a charity for a year to show that it’s possible to make a difference in the world (and I believe it’s already begun). They then went over the thoughts and concepts behind it all and how it all tied into the final product.

After some Q&A, we said our goodbyes and left the building with high spirits. We were promised a quality encounter and it definitely delivered (although 6 days work experience would’ve been much better; I’m allowed to be bitter.) Most importantly, I got my first business card. Contacts within the industry are potentially more valuable than time and experience and I’m really looking forward to what I could possible make of this baby.

Now what you’ve been waiting for, answers to last week’s puzzle:

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