My internship was with Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) in Shanghai! O&M is one of the most popular advertising agencies in the world. It’s also one of the biggest and most successful. I was lucky to secure a placement in O&M. Add to that, I was going to work in Shanghai, a major city in the ever-growing China market.
My uncle had helped me secure a place in O&M. I felt a little guilty in the beginning because most of the interns at O&M got in after winning the agency’s competitions. But I decided not to let this affect me. Singapore Polytechnic helped me quite a bit as well. It helped fund the trip partially, as well as in other logistical matters.
The moment I set foot in Shanghai, I was told to go to a high-budget TVC shoot for KFC. As soon as I put down my luggage, I boarded the company bus and rode to the shoot venue. It was an amazing sight that greeted me. Machines were used to simulate snow in the environment, with soap and other chemicals. There were many actors and many equipment. The whole environment was overwhelming. I never dreamt I could be involved in such a large-scale production at my age.
The amazing Shanghai skyline
Back in the office, I was given a desk and worked alongside a colleague. I did visualising work with Photoshop and Illustrator. There were so many things I didn’t know, so I had to go online to watch tutorial videos and guides. I had to learn techniques on the spot. But I am proud to say that I never had to ask anyone for help during my 3 months there.
I worked with a range of clients, including Ferrero Rocher, Disney, Philips, KFC and Coca Cola. I spent most of my time with KFC and Philips. I was told they were the largest accounts in China. My team was the busiest in the agency, and we would work on weekends and often through the night just to meet a deadline. I did as much work as anybody else in the team, and sometimes even more. I am really proud of the fact that my colleagues trusted me that much.
My understanding of Chinese, however, left much to be desired. It posed a big problem because most of the work was done in Chinese, and people spoke Mandarin mostly. Quite often, I found myself lost in translation. It was also a huge challenge for me learn to read the Chinese script. But I never let this get to me. I took Mandarin lessons during my free time.
In the three months of internship, I was involved in many more high-budget shoots. I attended high-profile meetings and did a lot of conceptualising. I found many references that the clients loved. I can safely say that I contributed a lot at work. During shoots, I would point out logical and creative mistakes, and during creative processing, I would use the skills that CASS taught me to do my work better. The visuals I’d done were possible because of the lessons that I took in CASS, and I found it easy to search for references because of the research skills I had been taught. For this, I am forever indebted to CASS and SP.
Written by Louis Rivers Luamto,
Diploma in Media and Communication