Placement or No Placement?

For months I was debating whether to do a placement year or continue to final year and with many pros and cons for both, many interviews and 2 placement offers, I decided, why not? It’s always good to have experience!

I had heard so much about Ardmore Advertising and this was the place I knew I wanted to spend my placement year, so when I got offered the job I was more than excited to start!

After wondering what it was like to work in a busy advertising agency, I was quick to find out for myself!

The rumours are true, the world of advertising is busy, very busy, and interning is definitely not just photocopying and fetching coffee! People start to filter into the office just before 9am with their tea or coffee in hand (or hot chocolate if you’re like me), soon the office is buzzing as emails are opened and answered. I was given a training schedule but each day is like a game of whack-a-mole, jobs just keep popping up, time management is clearly a skill that is essential in advertising!

My role within the agency was as an Account Executive were my basic role was acting as a link between clients and the agency. In the client services team, I worked alongside account managers and directors to ensure all client requests were being handled and to the best of our ability as an agency.

Apart from the usual account management work a particular highlight from my time at Ardmore was an overnight trip to Liverpool with Stena Line.

Stena Line asked us to create a video for their social media page to share the benefits of travelling onboard. A few of us at Ardmore took over Stena Line UKIE’s Instagram story for the day where we documented our journey on the Stena Line day crossing from Belfast to Liverpool! Our Instagram story got a fantastic level of engagement and a short boomerang video we posted to Facebook got over 55,000 views.

We arrived at the docks at about 8.30am for check-in. The staff were so friendly and we checked-in in less than 5 minutes! Plenty of time for a coffee before hopping on the bus that drove us to the ferry.  We checked out our cabins, did some onboard shopping, had a walk on deck, we even got taken up to the captain’s quarter! We got to the Stena Plus lounge which felt like a mini VIP area with complimentary tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, crisps, fruit, sweet treats and magazines. We ordered breakfast; pancakes, a fry, eggs benedict and granola with fruit – all really delicious! We felt so settled that we didn’t want to leave but before we knew we had arrived in Liverpool and within 10 minutes we arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Liverpool. We went to San Carlo for dinner, the food was delicious!

Bright and early on Wednesday morning we got some breakfast, went to the pool and sauna and got ready to hit the town for some shopping – this beat any day in the office! After a few hours of shopping and walking around the centre of Liverpool, we headed towards the Albert Dock where we got some lunch and had a few cocktails. After an hour of relaxing in the sun, we got ready for the Beatles experience which inspired us to recreate The Beatles Abbey Road album cover which did take multiple attempts – who knew fake walking could be so difficult?

After taking pictures at every iconic landmark in Liverpool and exploring the city, we went for dinner at the Salt House Tapas which was amazing! With all of us absolutely stuffed we went back to the hotel to collect our bags and headed back to the Port where we got the Stena Line overnight crossing back to Belfast.

After our trip we worked with Street Monkey to create a video for Stena Line’s social channels which documented our trip.

Check out the video!

 

I accomplished a very successful year at Ardmore and the experience gained will be invaluable in my future career path. I gained a better understanding of the advertising industry; agency life and how one campaign could have a widespread effect on consumers and their buying habits. The year at Ardmore helped me develop my own personal skillset which 100% will benefit me in any career path I may undertake in my future.

Because of my placement year I now have a greater understanding of what goes behind all those ads we drive past daily and realize that it is not just a straightforward process of designing something and getting it printed or dispatched. One simple strapline, colour, or design could have weeks and weeks of work behind it.

I worked with private and public sector clients, and can say that it opened my eyes a lot in terms of budgets and even just the general handling of clients.  The key activities I undertook each day enabled me to attain a greater understanding on the foundations of advertising that are essential for any career in the industry.

As a result of spending one year in a top advertising agency in Northern Ireland, I have valued my experience and believe that I will benefit when applying for jobs when I graduate because of the experience I have had.  The Ardmore team are amazing and were so welcoming to me on my year in Ardmore – there’s no two days the same in Ardmore and that’s the beauty of it.

Hopefully if you are thinking about doing a placement year or not, this blog piece will help you to make the decision that is right for you!

Christine Murtagh is a final year Bsc student in Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University. Find her on Twitter @Cmurtagh95, and Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/christine-murtagh-413409b9/