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.

Find out more about Lotte's appointment Lotte's appointment.

We got up close with Lotte after she joined Ogilvy to find out more about her & why she made the jump.