Todd McLerie's Diary

Todd McLerie  

Agency: Clemenger BBDO
Age: 22
Degree/education: Bachelor of Business (Marketing)/ Bachelor of Business (Management)
University/college: Monash University

Diary Entry 7 (September 2015)

How has your experience progressed since your last submission? List some key learnings and challenges

This has been my final month at CHE Proximity and my final rotation for the Clemenger Group Graduate Program. Even though my time in the program has come to an end the learning is still happening. Over the past few weeks I’ve witnessed the role of planning in augmenting the services we offer as an agency, integrating our current campaigns and messaging into a cohesive, strategic path. Something that really stood out to me was the importance of knowing exactly what the problem you are trying to solve is before you start thinking of ideas or solutions.

It’s strange to think how little I knew about the advertising industry at the start of the year as it very fast became a real passion of mine and something that I genuinely enjoyed immersing myself in. The program has given me a huge amount of insight into the industry, a continuously expanding network of contacts and colleagues, and practical experience in all different levels of account service. While I have learned so much from the program throughout the year, my biggest piece of advice that I would pass on to other beginners is that you shouldn’t see a lack of experience as a barrier to entering the industry, passion and a genuine interest will take you a long way.

Diary Entry 6 (July 2015)

How has your experience progressed since your last submission? List some key learnings and challenges

This month I began my third and final rotation within the Clemenger Group at CHE Proximity. CHEP have a high focus on direct marketing, data analysis, and innovation. It’s been interesting seeing the work being done within the agency and the level of analysis and brainstorming that goes into a piece of work. It’s a little unsettling at first moving from agency to agency, however I’ve learned that it’s valuable to start communicating with those around you as soon as possible. Once you’re comfortable approaching a few key people everything else falls into place quite quickly.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work on a client very different from my last, previously I was working on alcohol brands and am now working on solar energy. I think it’s valuable to, while immersing yourself in your client, find the things that affect you in your personal life and look at them from the perspective of a consumer.  You never know, people may appreciate a fresh set of eyes to bring forward an interesting perspective.

Diary Entry 5 (June 2015)

This month I feel that I’ve learned a lot about communication, both within the agency and with the client. The Marketing Shop underwent renovations and relocations in our building this month and, for about a week, account service was separated from our creative team and from the studio. While we were only an elevator ride away from each other we were used to being a short stroll across the room. It really enforced the need for clear and concise communication between the teams.

I also had the privilege this month of listening to Robert Morgan, Executive Chairman of Clemenger Group, give a talk on what it takes to be an account executive. What stuck with me most from the talk was the personal value he placed on the client/agency relationships. I’ve made a mental note to take a higher level of interest in my clients in the future, to learn to appreciate their unique traits and get to understand their life outside of work.

Diary Entry 4 (May 2015)

This past month has involved a large amount of face to face client contact time which has been interesting and insightful. After spending a lot of time at their workplace it was interesting to see how they do their job and their roles and responsibilities on top of working with the agency. I have also learned a lot about shopper marketing and below the line advertising, a side of marketing that I had not thought much about before being exposed to it. Overall I feel as though my understanding of the industry is constantly growing.

I suppose a key learning for me this month was that your client may have so much more going on than their interactions with you and your agency, it has been interesting being in their environment. I’ve also been impressed with the level of detail and creativity that is involved with below the line advertising, it is far richer and in-depth than I previously realised. One thing I have learned is that I still have a lot to learn about it, which I plan on doing over the coming weeks.

Diary Entry 3 (April 2015)

Since my last submission I have rotated as part of the Clemenger Group Graduate Program from Clemenger BBDO Melbourne to The Marketing Shop (TMS), another agency within the Group. TMS is focused on below the line brand understanding and shopper marketing which has been an interesting change from BBDO. Being exposed to below the line advertising has given me a richer insight into branding and the mind of a shopper, helping me better understand the industry in general.

It was interesting to observe the connection of above and below the advertising and the integration that goes on between the two. It took a little while to adjust to the new setting but I have been growing more confident as I increase my knowledge of the goals and processes. I think that a key learning here is to understand the fact that there may be a hugely diverse group of people working within different agencies towards the same goal, it is important to understand both where you sit in this process as well as the roles of others.

Diary Entry 2 (March 2015)

How has your experience progressed since your last submission?
Since my last submission I have become more confident and I think more resourceful. Now I am getting into the swing of things I am able to do a lot more work independently instead of asking for instruction or clarification.

Tell us about agency life – what is your agency like and what sort of tasks have you been given?
Clemenger BBDO is a fun, engaging, and social place to work. There is always a new exciting piece of work to be shared, a work event coming up, opportunity to learn, and someone to have a chat to by the coffee machine. My tasks are quite varied. On a typical day I might be asked to assist with a competitive review, do some research, write a short brief, attend a client meeting, or update existing work.

List some key learnings and challenges
Key learnings:

  • If you can, avoid an email and pick up the phone, or better yet, do it in person.

  • Take a notepad and pen with you everywhere.

  • If you're available, offer your assistance to someone.

  • Manage your time.

What is one thing you wish you'd known before you sat the Foundation Certificate exam earlier this month?
If I could go back and do it again I would have started the online learning a bit earlier. The exam crept up on me and I still had a fair bit of content to get through.

Reveal your personal studying/cramming secret!
Get a good sleep the night before, wake up early, make yourself breakfast, study for a few hours beforehand and then close the books for good.

Diary Entry 1 (February 2015)

What drew you to apply for The Clemenger Group Graduate Program?
I was half way through my degree before I realised I didn’t know what I was going to do when I finished. I had friends around me applying for vacation work a year in advance to set them up for a job that would start a year later and decided that I needed to start planning. After researching graduate roles and employment opportunities online I found out about the Clemenger Group Graduate Program. Identifying with the company, its work, and its values, I set my sights on getting the role when I graduated.

Briefly tell us how you found the application process (what was challenging/comprehensive/informative?)
The application process for the Clemenger Group Graduate Program was somewhat daunting. I felt confident uploading my resume and had plenty of time to answer the questions, but I had never created a video before (let alone one about me and my skills) and wasn’t sure how to go about it. It challenged me but I was able to put something together that I was proud of and further my skills in the process. The interviews and correspondence were easy-going and comfortable throughout the application.

What tips would you give to others looking to apply?
Be confident in your own abilities, the application recipients aren’t going to know what you are capable of unless you tell them and show them. It seems cliché, but be yourself, that’s what the agencies want to see and they will appreciate you being genuine.

Briefly tell us what the first month has consisted of and some of the key learnings/take-outs
Over the next 10 months I will be rotating through 3 different agencies within the Clemenger Group, my first month in the program has been at Clemenger BBDO. I have been exposed to a large mix of activities such as client meetings, administration tasks, print and digital production, competitive analysis, writing a brief, and of course, networking with a diverse assortment of people within the industry. Something I have observed is to make sure you create and cultivate relationships both inside and outside of the agency, it makes your job both easier and more enjoyable.

What have you found most challenging so far?
My biggest challenge to date has been adjusting from university hours to full time work. I enjoy my job and my days go by quickly, but it has been difficult to pack everything I used to get done in my spare time into week nights and weekends.

What is your favourite aspect of the program so far?
My favourite aspect of the program is that I get to do real work. I’m not photocopying and getting coffees, I am actually sitting down and interacting with clients, working with production, and writing briefs for creative. The work is satisfying and stimulating.

This is the first year that the internationally certified IPA Foundation Certificate is a compulsory part of the Graduate Program. How do you think this will benefit you in beginning your career in the industry?
I think the graduate program is a great opportunity to take part in furthering skills and knowledge. In addition to agency experience, the IPA Foundation Certificate allows graduates to build greater insight, knowledge and accreditation outside of their agency.