O&M London's Creative Director, Lotte Jeffs, wrote about her first week in adland in London Evening Standard.
Two weeks into my big new job in advertising I woke up with a hideous eye infection. I looked as if I’d been punched in the face; my eyelid was droopy and purple and the area around it was so swollen that when I arrived at Sea Containers House, determined not to take a sick day so soon into my employment at Ogilvy, my colleagues visibly recoiled in horror.
“What the f**k happened to your face?” said my desk mate kindly. People in advertising swear a lot — you get quite used to it. It made me miss working in fashion magazines, where I would have been whisked into the beauty cupboard and covered in all manner of magic creams and industrial-strength concealer before being offered a choice of Prada sunglasses and probably a new pair of shoes to match.
I was touched by how concerned my new ad friends seemed to be — but having to meet important people and sashay through an open-plan office looking like Quasimodo was an anxiety dream IRL.
Before recently “pivoting” into advertising I was the deputy editor of ELLE magazine, so I was worried that if I covered my gammy eye by wearing sunglasses at work I’d be mistaken for a pretentious fashion maven. But when it was no better by Tuesday, I had little choice and with my shades on I felt my confidence flooding back.
I now totally get why Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is rarely seen sans dark glasses — it’s the ultimate power move. She can see your every twitch and tell and you can see none of hers.
In my sunglasses it is unclear if I am impressed, amused, disappointed or about to scream that my Venti treble shot French press has been made with coconut not almond milk and heads will roll! Plus, it gives me a “thing”, a point of interest.
And as I endeavour to establish my reputation in a new job, maybe that’s important. In 1951, legendary ad man and founder of my agency, David Ogilvy, suggested on a whim that the model in his Hathaway shirt ads wore an eyepatch as it gave him “story appeal”.
It was a huge success for the brand and became one of the most memorable adverts of all time.
My eye is a lot better now, thanks very much for asking, but I’m sticking with the sunglasses — unless I can get my hands on a Prada eyepatch, that is.
I so need someone to organise my life
One of my greatest discoveries in this new (to me) world of advertising is the role of a strategist or “planner”. These are the smartest people in the room. Their job is to make sense of the unmakesenseable, interpret what a client wants and deep-dive into research about a plethora of different industries and social contexts — presenting back a coherent reason why a product should exist, who will buy it and how best to engage this audience.
Forget therapists, I’d rather have a personal strategist — someone who explains complicated stuff to me, plots my future in Keynote slides, has case studies for every possible life scenario and can assemble my Ikea chest-of-drawers without putting the bottom panel on back-to-front and having to take the whole thing apart and start again (just me?)
The joys of my dream commute
On that one beautiful day last week I took the Thames Clipper to work. What a civilised commute! I got on to an empty boat at North Greenwich, bought a coffee and a croissant from the onboard café and sat out at the back, sun in my face, wind in my hair, as we whizzed along the Thames to my Bankside office.
I wondered why no one else was sitting next to me outside in this glorious weather, then took a selfie and remembered… my eye!
Read the full article, originally published in London Evening Standard.
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We got up close with Lotte after she joined Ogilvy to find out more about her & why she made the jump.