First Bite – adam&EveDDB’s new paid placement scheme
Lucy Wilson, 23, from Wigan, was the first to test out First Bite Strategy and has written an account of her experience
21 January 2022
No specific qualifications or experience are required, just an appetite to try out life in an advertising agency.
So far, First Bite runs across the Strategy (Planning), and Creative Departments and applications for the next First Bite Strategy placements have just re-opened! It’s a 3-month contract for anyone with a curious mind, who wants to help solve some of the biggest challenges brands and businesses face.
The deadline for the next instalment of First Bite Strategy is 23rd Jan. Find out how to apply here.
Why did you want to work in advertising?
I’ve always been a creative thinker and had a fascination for human behaviour so advertising, and more specifically planning, felt like a perfect fit! On a deeper note, advertising can be incredibly powerful at changing opinions and behaviours. Considering the current state of the world, it’s easy to see advertising as ‘evil’, but advertisers are in a unique position to majorly influence change. The job is to change behaviours by conveying messages from brands to consumers, but that doesn't always have to be a one-way street.
Has it (so far!) lived up to expectations
Far exceeded! Everyone has been so welcoming and generous with their time - I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt in only 3 months!
What specifically has surprised you about the industry?
To be completely honest, I was most surprised by how few in the industry, in London at least, have also come from a state school. I’m grateful for schemes like First Bite that are designed to level the playing field to change that.
What's been the steepest learning curve?
Probably the pace, but I’m getting there.
What have you enjoyed the most?
Hmm, very hard to choose! Social stuff aside, I’ve loved having the chance to research into such a variety of areas and then discuss ideas about where it could all go next. Anytime the planning department got together for discussions was also a major highlight - they're all incredibly smart.
What would you say to anyone else considering a career in advertising?
Apply for First Bite! It changed my life, it could change yours too.
Hungry for more.
3 months as guineapig on the First Bite Strategy placement scheme
Monday 18th October, 2021.
First ride on the Bakerloo Line (or ‘brown line’ as I was still calling it back then).
First time in a London ad-agency.
First bite of life as a planner.
Settling in was far easier than expected. Thanks to the design of the placement, I met each planner, from Junior right up to CSO for either a coffee at the office bar (complete with barista), or virtually through Teams. They were all lovely, and their buzz was infectious. Each gave me a glimpse of life on their accounts, offered tips they wish they’d known when starting out, and shared a planning tool to add to my arsenal.
During the first week, I was invited out to breakfast by Will, the head of the department. He reiterated what Ro and Stu (the Planning Directors heading up First Bite) had told me about their plan for the scheme. I was told to reject any ‘busy work’ or menial tasks if they came my way as I wasn’t there to pick up the department’s slack.
Yes. This was complete freedom to figure out what I wanted to work on, speak to whoever I wanted to speak to and learn as much as I could to help my career.
I couldn’t believe my luck, it was one hell of an opportunity. So, I got stuck in.
I’d been assigned a planning director to shadow (the genius that is Claire Strickett). Claire helped get my researching skills up to scratch, invited me to join in-person senior client meetings, helped me design and co-deliver an end of year inspiration session to a client, and supported me on a research project I could own and deliver back to her.
During my placement, I also took part in a full day’s training on Presenting with Purpose, and sat in departmental and agency wide discussions and panels around topics including intersectionality within marginalised groups, and climate change.
I jumped on multiple accounts, joining creative sessions and receiving coaching on the work I did for each. I was given access to award-winning industry papers and case studies, and even had chance to quiz some of the people who wrote them.
The environment was fast paced, the work was challenging, and the prestige of the place was at times, intimidating. But, with regular pastoral check-ins, and people who’d do everything they can to help you succeed, the nerves soon fade and the fun begins.
Speaking of fun, the agency wide unveiling of the John Lewis Christmas ad, complete with Waitrose nibbles and mulled wine deserves a mention here – and annual quiz that ended with a karaoke session in the office.
It’s a great place to be, and a wonderful place to work (both in person and remotely, depending on what suits you, and when). There’s a real sense that everyone wants to be here, and everyone wants to make something special. To my delight, I was asked to join full time as a Junior Planner and I feel incredibly lucky that I’ll continue learning from some of the best minds in Planning right now.
As my second and final appraisal of the scheme nears, I can without any doubt say that after 3 months of First Bite, I’ve never felt hungrier to learn more.
If you fancy a bite, the scheme is open to any and all. No qualifications or experience required, just a CV and a creative way to answer one of the set questions, good luck!
Lucy Wilson, junior planner, adam&eveDDB