Working week: Direct marketing

It's hectic, silly and addictive
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The Independent Online

Name: Perminder Bhangra

Name: Perminder Bhangra

Age: 22

Status: Graduated in 1999 from Oxford Brookes University with an honours degree in Marketing and Publishing

Mission: To survive first week of new job as account executive for Tullo Marshall Warren, a direct marketing agency


Hellish process getting accepted for this job so felt oozing with confidence when I arrived at 8.30am. It all started during my final year at university. I hadn't been sure whether to go onto postgraduate education or straight into work. The Institute of Direct Marketing was giving a presentation as part of the "milk round" and I was curious enough to go. I applied for its Graduate Apprenticeship Programme and to my surprise, got through to the interview stage. It was a day of being thoroughly grilled at an assessment centre - one-to-one interviews, group presentations, tests and negotiations, the lot.

To my even greater surprise, I was put forward for the agency I now work for and had yet more interviews and presentations. Then they couldn't decide between me and another candidate so there was another day of it. Talk about exhaustion. When I was approved, I was on top of the world. Hence why I felt so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed so early on a Monday morning.

A production status meeting kicked off the day, which admittedly didn't make much sense. Then I got my desk and met my team. Good bunch, thank God. There are six of us - me, two account managers, an account supervisor, an account director and a group account director. Mine is the most junior role but since I get to support everyone in the team, doing stuff like compiling the weekly and monthly reports and making sure members have been properly briefed on everything, I'll get to learn loads.

Because our group is the one that actually deals with the client - and I'm on the front line - it was pointed out to me that I'll be the face of the agency to the client and the face of the client to the agency. That felt good. Spent the rest of the day watching and asking what team members were doing and staring in amazement at the speed of work.


Was told to check out what others in the company do. It's a medium-sized agency with 80 or so employees, so not quite as scary as it sounds. Nice to find that almost everyone is around my age. Spent morning in production and afternoon in studio. Realised that within these four walls is another world with its own language. When, for instance, the studio manager handed me a spec sheet with various ticked boxes, it might as well have been in Chinese. Kept thinking, "Oh my God, what is he talking about?" Fortunately, I'm a bold sort so I wound up saying it out loud. Fortunately, he was a nice sort so didn't just tell me but showed me. I've never been able to understand theory without practice.


Was introduced to the account I'd be working on: British Airways. Stacks of background reading on what else we'd done for them as well as competitor info. Highlight of day was sitting in on a concept meeting where the creatives get the juices flowing and brainstorm for ideas. I loved it. You can say the silliest things and they're encouraged rather than laughed at. I was so enthralled, I put in the odd strapline (God! I must be learning the jargon - that came so naturally) myself.

I had been concerned when the guys at the Graduate Apprenticeship Programme told me I was the only recruit who would be by myself in a new company, but now realised it's the best way to get a hands-on role.


Requested going to another concept meeting. They're addictive. Took a lunch hour. Fatal mistake. We're on the King's Road, Chelsea, and the shops are to die for.


Found myself doing more running up and down stairs to production, studio etc than I'd do at a session of step-aerobics. Think I really looked the part as I was given some work to do and had to run across the floor with my supervisor asking questions. When I sat down for a moment, I thanked my lucky stars I didn't spend the week waiting to be told stuff because I wouldn't have lasted five minutes.

Friday means lunch in the pub with the creatives. Smiled lots when I was told the extent of the evenings out you're treated to if you work in this business. Going to like this job.