12. Giving ideas a home.

Wieden + Kennedy: An agency that gets ad students salivating at even the thought of stepping foot inside. Constantly on the lips of industry folk and nearly any advertising undergrad you run into, they have good reason to be. With offices scattered around the globe and clients like Nike, Old Spice and Target, this agency has won countless awards. Most recently they were named Agency of the Year for 2010 by Creativity and AdAge. They’re not just known for their extensive award library, however. People notice Wieden + Kennedy because they employ great people who are passionate for making great work. It’s as simple as that. Okay, this little appearance on Portlandia might have helped too.

When I heard two media planners from W + K would be Skyping in with the 8 AM Creative Strategist class, nothing sounded more beautiful to me than waking up at 6 AM to go hear their words of wisdom. What made it even more exciting was the speakers, Alex Kniess and Geoff Scoones , are both recent University of Oregon graduates. My thoughts on this? They went to UO?! They’re like me! If they can work at a place like W + K, why can’t I?!

The Skype call began, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they both still looked like college students. Dressed in t-shirts, sweatshirts and jeans, the two of them fiddled with their water glasses while Deb introduced them. After quick introductions, we got down to it. What’s the daily life of a media planner at W + K? What skills do you need? Alex and Geoff had so much to share about their work life at Wieden + Kennedy and why they enjoy what they do. Alex mentioned he loves attention to detail, and media planning is full of detail-oriented work. Geofff enjoys being able to work through the entire process and having a hand in multiple aspects of the campaign. They explained that W + K’s media section is small compared to other large agencies, and they pride themselves on being very strategic and nimble. Here are a few main points they made an emphasis on.

1)    Align with your client.

The more the agency and the client understand each other, the better the campaign will be. This ties in to what last week’s speaker, Kelly Eidson, mentioned about really digging deep to find out what resonates with the client. It’s important to build a strong relationship with the client as well. A strong relationship will result in more opportunities to work with them in the future.

2)    Creative ideas can’t exist unless they have a place to live.

This is one of the many reasons media planners are important! Media planners take the idea from the creatives, bring it to life, and give it a home. Because you’re giving the idea a home, you live with it until it has moved in and is settled, so to speak. As opposed to an account planner who may pass an idea on to the creatives, letting them do what they want with it (for the most part), media planners can have an idea and get to make sure that what they want to happen with it actually happens. They get to execute it to the finest detail.

3)    It’s best when everyone is talking together as one.

The more communication between media and creative, the better. W + K has a rather small media group that often works with creative teams from other agencies. Because of this, it is sometimes difficult to work together. The times that Alex and Geoff have gotten to work solely with the W + K creative team have been the best. The two need to come together to create the best result.

4)    Be comfortable with data.

Don’t let the fact that media planners have to use Excel scare you away. You just need to learn how to analyze and use the data so you can tell a story with it. Make the data actionable.
Classmates asked Alex and Geoff so many great questions, including if Geoff shampoos his beard (which he does). The two of them were even so generous as to offer us the opportunity to come visit them at W + K on a Friday if we’re ever in Portland. I definitely hope to take them up on that offer someday.

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