Archive by Author

Experiencing life at Doner for a week

11 Sep

Guest blog post by Rupert Tottman who spent a week in August on work experience at Doner London.

Writing this on the final day of my work experience week, I’d first like to thank everyone here at Doner for the opportunity they’ve offered me, the help they’ve given me and the general friendliness everyone’s shown me. Having never really thought about advertising before, this week has given me a real insight into what working the sector entails and has really inspired me to think about it as a possible career plan in the long term.

On Monday I stepped into Doner’s bright and open offices for the first time, my head filled with a mixture of excitement at being able to spend a week in what would no doubt be a interesting and innovative company in the vibrant advertising sector and trepidation at what, I thought, would be a long week filled with Starbucks runs and photocopying. The reality turned out to be far better than anything I had anticipated.

I was greeted by David Amstel, the Group Account Director, and in an initial meeting he filled me in on Doner’s exciting client base and ongoing projects and quickly set me to work on a research project analysing the advertising strategies of one of their headline clients, the Fiat Group, competitors, with the goal of giving a presentation to the cars account management team on Friday. This project gave me an opportunity to research and critically analyse the marketing strategies used by a collection of Doner’s rivals operating in the car industry and gave me an insight into the strategic processes and considerations that go into the planning and execution of every successful advertising campaign. The presentation I was asked to give on Friday went very well, and I was very grateful for the opportunity to present the cars account management team with my findings and conclusions, even if we had hugely different opinions on Mini’s #notnotmal July ad campaign, which I thought was brilliant, but the experts less so! I was also tasked with working on researching competitor websites for the upcoming redevelopment of the St Agur site, which was another opportunity for me to engage with the advertising world outside the Doner offices.

From Tuesday onwards, I was also involved in working on an active company pitch, from being party to the initial creative and planning meetings to coming up with and submitting some advert ideas of my own. This was a brilliant opportunity for me to contribute to an active project, and gave me an insight into what the process of creating an advert entails. I was tasked with presenting my ideas to the creative team on Wednesday, and whilst my ideas weren’t put forward for presentation to the client I was asked to adapt one of them into a proposition for a social media campaign. This allowed me to engage with all of the facets of creating an ad campaign, from creative to strategic and financial, and really fulfilled the promise of ‘work experience’, allowing me to step into the shoes of a member of an advertising pitch team and contribute to the process of creating an integrated ad campaign. Being party to the numerous meetings needed to coordinate a successful ad campaign also allowed me to see the full scope of the necessary components needed to put together a pitch, as well as giving me an opportunity to experience both the work done in pursuit of new clients and well as with existing ones.

Once again I’d like to thank everyone here at Doner for all their help and hard work in providing me with this invaluable experience, which will not only prove hugely beneficial in helping me to decide which career path I’d eventually like to go down but has also provided me with a broad and deep insight into the world of advertising. Everyone at Doner’s care and generosity has made this an unforgettable week for me, and should I decide that advertising is the place for me, and if everyone at Doner isn’t sick to death of me, one I’d very much like to repeat.

Thanks everyone, and maybe I’ll see you soon,

Rupert Tottman

What it’s like to work in the creative industry

24 Jul

A short documentary on what it’s like to work in the creative industry when your craft becomes your profession. Even though I’m not a “creative”, I can relate to these feelings and scenarios.

Originally found on Design Taxi via Evan Michaels.

The confessions of an intern: week two. By Jeremy Bridge

15 Jul


I am finishing my second and final week here at Doner and I would like to start this post by thanking everyone here for any help they given me over this fortnight – be it through directly working with me or purely just making me welcome here by sharing a smile.

I have spent the vast majority of my time this week working on the creative ideas for the microwaveable snacks company. On Monday I finished off drafting the last of my ideas and on Tuesday they were judged by a creative team. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that three of my potential ads were worth expanding further. Having had no experience before in this sector of work, I had no idea as to how successful my brainwaves would be in a marketing environment.

On Tuesday I also discovered how it is done by the professionals. Seeing the routes the creative teams would explore was particularly interesting as I had being working on the same brief at the same time. I suspect I can’t share their ideas as they will be used in the pitch, but I was incredibly impressed with the adverts they created, especially considering how short a space of time they had to work on them.

Wednesday involved more work on my microwaveable snack brainchildren and meetings regarding the social media and experiential plans for the company. I found the discussions about the pro and cons of each campaign fascinating – some were suited more for press, some for TV, some for social media, and some for experiential marketing. When the plans were finalised, I returned to drafting print adverts of my own.

By the end of Thursday, I had finished my print adverts and as they’re not being used in the pitch, I assume it should be safe to publish them here.


The excitement rolled around once again on Friday, this time not with the arrival of a rodent but ironically continuing with the mouse theme, a large cheese board for the office. I would like to imagine that this is all part of an enormous process and next Friday the mousetrap theme will continue with a gigantic mechanical mousetrap appearing in the agency!  I don’t think I have ever seen such genuine enthusiasm regarding a selection of dairy products, but then again it was nearing lunchtime.  A lovely lunch with my sadly only temporary colleagues who have been sitting around me this past fortnight capped the friendly and welcoming atmosphere here.

All that is left is for me to say a huge thank you to everyone here for all their help and support. It has been an amazing 2 weeks of priceless experience that I’ll never forget and will certainly stand me in good stead whatever career path I go down. And who knows, if everyone here can stand me and I actually have some ability in the industry, maybe I’ll be back! Good luck to Doner in their pitch for the microwaveable snacks and I’d just like to extend further gratitude to David Amstel, who has been my go-to man this placement, and Andrew Hawkins, who agreed to let me loose in Doner and helped me arrange this work experience taking place. Without their generous devotion of time this fortnight wouldn’t have been anywhere near as useful or as exciting for me.

Thank you all and goodbye,
Jeremy Bridge

The confessions of an intern: week one. By Jeremy Bridge

8 Jul


I am just coming to the end of my first week in my placement and all I really have to say is it’s been a very enjoyable experience and a fascinating insight into the industry.

After being taken on a tour of the agency on Monday and promptly being told by every department that “this is where the magic happens”, I was assigned some work researching the competition for Nikon. With a job of scrolling through websites to find social media presence and then going around the shops to see which companies had displays and were tying their online work with their in-store presence, I promptly told all family and friends that I was a spy for Nikon!

On Tuesday I was introduced to a new business pitch for a microwaveable meal company. Again, I was researching competition but I also had the opportunity of presenting my findings in a meeting. To be perfectly honest, this was a far more active role to be taking than I expected from a two week placement, but nevertheless I enjoyed being able to give some input into the meetings.

On Wednesday, I also attended a voice recording for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta sponsorship of the upcoming highlights of The Ashes cricket series on Channel 5. Not only did I get an insight into the production of TV adverts, I also met the actor who is the voice of Aleksandr the Meerkat!

Thursday came along with my first experience of writing adverts. Provided with a pad of paper, several pens and enormous anthologies of advertisements for inspiration, I was told to sit down and rack my brain for any ideas I could muster to market microwaveable snack meals aimed at 16-24 men. Luckily, I am in the demographic, albeit at the lower end, so I hope that stands me in good stead for any thoughts that pop up in my head. I have written down a several ideas for posters and TV advertising, and although they haven’t yet been judged by any professionals, I hope one or two might be at least slightly useful.


Drama hit the agency Friday, as my arrival coinciding with the discovery of a mouse in the office. After a somewhat courageous display of arm-flailing from one man who will not be named, a rescue mission for the disorientated rodent was mounted. Unfortunately despite the best intentions, during the emancipation attempts the mouse was fatally squashed and never tasted the air of freedom again after its adventure into the advertising world. An air of sadness and mourning descended over the office and I continued trying to think of the best ways to sell microwaveable snack products.

I have gained an insight into the advertising industry during my first week and am very excited to see how my experiences in my second and final week at Doner develop, particularly with the pitch on my last day. I am extremely grateful to everyone here for their help and making me feel at home and look forward to next week.

Jeremy Bridge

Set the tone

12 Jun

Most opening things start in a dull fashion. Take meetings. An agenda. Usually on paper. Usually not enough to go around. Trying to reach into the middle of the table to get the coffee (that you can’t actually get out of the jug and it tastes like pap anyway) that is usually tantalisingly out of reach and you usually knock something over or drag your jacket into the already stale Pret (they’re always Pret) platter in your quest. You then settle back into the usually overly-chilled room. And then someone usually says, “OK, cool. So, thanks for coming. We’ve got a lot to cover…” Etc. Blah. Imagine if every meeting started with a performance like this.

Or took inspiration from it. Then perhaps there would be no need for a knowing smile when you see merchandise like this.

email étiquette – five sentences or fewer

22 Apr

Q: Why is this email five sentences or less?


We all suffer from email overload. There’s been lots written about how it kills productivity and ruins holidays.

While zero inbox and zero tolerance policy is not for everyone, Five Sentences is a gentle introduction and a step on the rung to better email etiquette. It’s not a tool or a plug-in or anything; just a state of mind. A personal statement of intent to make email less hassle and more productive (all told in five sentences).


Everything good proceeds from enthusiasm

13 Mar

Brian Eno on creativity.

The future is uncertain

12 Oct

Last week I attended the Knowledge Peers Exchange 2012. Some of you may remember I presented to a select group of members a while back (just over a year ago having checked – yikes!) on social business so this was my chance to sit back and learn some things. Here’s some stuff and things I found interesting:

Challenges for business heading into 2020

We’re working against a backdrop of constant change, where knowledge/information workers make up over 80% of the salaried workforce.

Where IT/enterprise driven choices have created silos that are damaging business agility.

Where Europe is an ageing population and the emerging BRIC economies are flush with youth.

Where the US and European debt situations will take greater than 10 years to resolve.

Where the continued demand for energy will result in a supply gap.

Where greater consumerisation and socially savvy employees place business at a junction. Do they enable these new employees or do they hinder them with their current working practices?

The business of 2020 will need to:

  • Adapt to a changing world.
  • Understand the market evolution and composition (particularly emerging economies and SE Asia)
  • Exploit and harness the collective knowledge of the information wrorkers
  • Understand and balance the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data.
  • Deliver value-add.
  • Invent and innovate.

Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) is un-managed

57.1% of FTE’s globally use their own devices to access work data. This is not skewed to any geography (although Asia/BRIC is higher) or vertical.

Only 11.9% have a managed BYOD policy or guidelines leading to an opportunity where over 70% of BYOD are unmanaged. While clearly this is a consultancy opportunity, it also shows just how mobile has infiltrated our every day lives so seamlessly that we think nothing of accessing data on on our SmartPhones. Clearly the younger, agile businesses that are not held back by swathes of servers and IT rules will be ahead of the game here. While the panel talked about the security elements, a lot must come down to common sense too. As well as who owns, maintains and replaces the device if it is “personal” but being routinely used – and therefore an essential too – for business use. All this was wrapped under a banner of “Enterprise Mobility Management” which sounds very consultancy and clearly an opportunity to make money. Where’s my CV?

Morgan Cars

You can never repeat the past but you can be inspired by it

The quote is from the Cartier Chairman but one which Charles Morgan has adopted to explain his car company. Considering I work with one of world’s leading automotive groups in Fiat, I found Charles’ discussion incredibly interesting. How does a small player compete against global giants? The answer is not easily. Not when a typical safety testing programme sets you back £10 million. It would essentially be impossible if it weren’t for alliances. Morgan partner with BMW for engines, for example, and would not consider building their own engines because, as TVR experienced, it’s the way to ruin. But why would BMW be interested in a small, British car brand? Because German’s love British car brands. Remember they bought Rover. Charles said they do it because 1) they love it and 2) they learn something by placing their engines in smaller, lighter and more agile automobiles. Their leading engineer even screamed in delight on a race track that ”I can hear my engine!!!”. Which given the excellent sound proofing and refinement in a BMW is something they’ve clearly missed. Morgan lets the engineers be petrol heads again.

Another key part of the Morgan business model is exporting. They make 1,500 cars a year and over 70% are exported. Nice that a British marque is appreciated abroad but sad too that we buy so much homogenous automotive design now that we don’t appreciate our own iconic marques as much. I loved Charles’ observation that modern cars are pretty much an extension of your living room; a car should excite you and put a smile on your face.


Which is why they’re investing in social media. Not only does it cut across the stuffy old Morgan image that some may have but allows them to express that desire of driving excitement.

This is a nice video of Morgan.

Social Enterprise

The key theme here was that there’s still a lot of fear about moving to a more social business and adopting the cloud. What if? Why? Some examples included swapping email for social collaboration tools and just getting more noise back. The answer is (scroll back through previous posts on this) about context. Email is bad when used poorly. The same goes with any social platform. But they have the advantage of control, filtering and collaboration.

The link between social, mobile and the cloud is still unclear but companies like are stealing a march with their offerings here.

The UK economy outlook

Barry Nesbitt, the Chief Economist of Santander UK, gave us an overview of the current and future state of the economy. There is no magic wand. The recession started in 2008 and the conditions are still challenging. It’s the longest recession we’ve faced where by this stage we haven’t got back to the levels of GDP output pre-recession.

2013 is predicted to show some growth but before you get excited, it’s small.

But they key theme was one of uncertainty. As the chart below shows, the economists have a huge range of expectations for the coming years for both GDP and inflation. It could be OK (although the growth is still small) or it could not be. Trouble is, the uncertainty causes subdued expectations. And with inflation still higher than our earnings, none of us are spending any money because we’re uncertain. There is a subdued outlook in the services industry and construction and manufacturing which traditionally drives GDP output.


So, heads down.

This post first appeared on Nick’s blog.

Every 60 seconds, this happens online

6 Aug

Behind the scenes

15 Jun

Pinterest. The next big shiny object and must have in every presentation you give. And like I always say, you’ve got to try these things. So, I have. And have been for some time. But my own collection was a bit, er, well, a bit too me. So I decided to do a bit of behind the scenes at work. Not least because I seem to have collected a few images but people seem to like to know what goes on behind closed doors. So here’s a flavour of life behind the scenes at Doner.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers