Creative Service, Ad WOW!
Understand that you were previously active in the bank industry. How would you compare 'Nestlé - Chillin' Good Times' (a F&B campaign), with the bank industry?
I was previously from the credit cards team where our products are pretty much like FMCG. There are always ongoing promotions, tie-ups and acquisition campaigns. Nestlé Chillin' Good Times is similar but more interesting because our target audience are younger and they tend to switch brands frequently. Capturing their attention alone can be quite a challenge! Besides, fierce competition from major players such as F&N makes the market even more competitive.
Tell us, what got you into the creative industry, and why?
I am a bit of a dreamer and always enjoy creating new things. I wanted to do something close to my heart. You will be a happier person and success comes if you are doing something you believe in and is passionate about.
Seems to me you like to do design. So why client servicing and not a designer?
Hmmm...I always thought I will end up becoming a fashion designer because I love to design fashion in my school days. You will always see my notebook and textbooks full of sketches (laughs). The turning point was when I was exposed to Advertising in polytechnic. I was so excited and touched during my first lecture on advertising that I actually teared! I eventually realized that there is more to just producing an interesting ad. You have to analyse your product, your market, your competition, your audience to find that one unique proposition. An interesting ad doesn't say much about a product or brand. But an effective ad does. I was inspired and wanted to make a difference in the advertising industry to help create effective ads. That is when I went overseas to further my studies in strategic advertising and here I am.
The 'Creative' often gets more attention than the 'Servicing'. How would you respond to this?
Hmm... I didn't really think about it before. Now that you mention it... it is quite true to an extent that, the creative gets the credit for a job well done. But we shouldn't be bothered about that. You will just end up feeling sour or unhappy about your job. Losing our passion because of this is not worth it. Just focus on doing our job well and I believe the 'servicing' will be recognised eventually if we are good.
So what do you like about your job?
Need you ask? I enjoy doing what I am doing (laughs). In this industry, I get exposed to different accounts. Even if you are handling only one account, each new job, each brief is different. It's always a challenge to find out what you want to say about a product. But I would say the real challenge is how to convey that proposition in your creative briefs to inspire your team to produce an ad that is not only interesting but most importantly, effective. The creative team produces convincing and interesting ads but the account servicing team sets the advertising in the right direction.
What do you think makes a good suit?
A 'Suit' or Client servicing person doesn't just brief in or co-ordinate the changes from our clients. A common misunderstanding is that, we are there just to keep clients happy. In fact, we are our clients' 'consultants'. So a good account servicing person must be very keen to learn from all areas of the job. Learn and take notes from your creative team, your production team and your traffic team. Being the main point of contact between the client and your whole team, it really helps to understand the creative aspects of an ad and the production technicalities. The more knowledge you armour yourself with, the better you are able to foresee problems and provide solutions. Your client and team will appreciate you for that.
Any particularly interesting or unforgettable experience in your line?
Lots! We used to have a small party in the agency every once in awhile. I remembered there is one time when my team decided to have a Halloween party, my colleague and I decorated our 'recreational' area with webs and candles, prepared the food and invited the whole company down for some wine and relaxation. We even bought scary masks and hid behind the curtains! (laughs) It's a good way to distress after a long week of work and socialize with your colleagues. And when we have big parties, we invited a band. We also get invitations to client's events and given passes for musicals and concerts. We work hard, but we play hard too.
Many of our readers are aspiring Account Executives. How would you suggest for them to prepare themselves?
You must be mentally prepared. It's not going to be easy when you first step into the industry. You will always have demanding clients, a stubborn team and lots of late nights. But when you pass the phase of 'shock', you grow. If you really feel like giving up, just remind yourself why you are doing this and remember all account executives go through the same thing. It's your determination and passion that determines whether you will survive in this industry. Of course, it's not all work. We have our share of fun too.
What do you do during your free time to destress?
Oh, I would watch a cartoon, read a funny comic or go for my yoga classes. Sometimes I do munch on things and that is why there are always apples around.
What would you suggest for inspirations?
Every individual has their own way but try being a child for a change and look from their point of view. Kids have the most inquisitive and imaginative minds because they are not exposed to science or logic yet. They ask questions like 'why is this blue and not green?' or 'why do zebras have stripes? Are they white horses with tattoos?' Imagine, ask stupid questions and come up with irrational answers. You might just get an interesting idea from there! Read children's books, watch cartoons! Have fun!
Thank you for sharing your experience with our readers... Any last words?
You have to enjoy what you are doing. Life is short. Be happy.