My advertising interviews are serving to be very popular and I’m pleased to say I have more lined up over the next coming months. This weeks interview is with Michael Loper, Planner at McGarryBowen and someone who I also had the pleasure of working with when I worked at Fallon. With some big names under his belt already, read on to see how Michael progressed his career and what tips to become a Planner he can offer.
1. What is your day to day role?
I am a Senior Brand Planner at McGarryBowen working on Verizon for the past two years. During my tenure I have written countless creative briefs for both traditional and digital product launches, campaigns, device launches and helped drive strategy for Verizon’s new ‘powerful answers’ campaign. I am the lead on promo, wireless and the the developer community. Recently I have also taken on the role of Lead Strategist on Sharp for both TVs and B2B.
My day to day requires writing briefs, learning plans, working with vendors and creatives in collaboration. Creating and maintaining partnerships with account teams and researching trends for strategic brief writing. It’s a mixed bag and no two days are the same.
2. How did you get to where you are now?
I went the the University of New Hampshire studying Political Science, after which I worked for a prominent hedge fund in ‘Market Data Analytics’. From there I went abroad to London to complete my Masters of Science in International Business at Birkbeck College (University of London). After my degree I fell into Advertising at a career festival and began freelancing and jumping in on projects until I discovered a passion for strategy and storytelling. It is a constant balance between persistance and discovery. I was legit, knocking on doors, flying to new places, living in hostels or couch hopping while working for free in the hopes someone would see my value and hire me.
“Once I knew I wanted to be a Planner, no one could convince me otherwise and when every door seemed to be shut in my face, I refused to believe I had to entertain the idea of choosing something else to do with my career”
3. What would you say was the biggest challenge you faced to get where you are now?
Self confidence – once I knew I wanted to be a Planner, NO ONE could convince me otherwise and when every door seemed to be shut in my face, I refused to believe I had to entertain the idea of choosing something else to do with my life/career. Self confidence is the hardest thing to learn, but the key I found to be most helpful is understanding the idea of balance and more importantly how to apply it.
4. What would you say McGarryBowen look for from future Planners?
They look for passion and the ability to grow with the company. That’s not to be confused with someone who can think/just do the job. They want someone who is going to be unapologetically themselves and bring their own color to everything they do, helping to shape new ideas, foster innovative thinking and more importantly, challenge conventions that haunt the halls of the agency.
5. What are your tips to become a Planner?
Keep at it. Think of new ways to create. Live outside the box. Challenge the Box.
Think about this problem:
There are 3 people at a bus stop. A Friend who has saved your life before, a sick old lady in need of a hospital, and the woman/man of your dreams. It’s pouring rain and you only have room for 1 more person in your car. Who do you take?
Take a crack at it, but be creative! Google this riddle after you’ve made up your mind. It’s great practice for being able to challenge clients as to what their real objective is.
6. Are there any steps you would recommend to becoming a Planner?
Apply to Miami Ad School Account Planning Bootcamp. The competition is fierce for Junior Planner roles in NYC, Boston and London, but make sure you apply to grad schemes, meet with anyone you can and most importantly have a clear point of view of the world and strategy. Think cross platform and innovate for 3 years from now, not just tomorrow.
7. What has been your career highlight so far?
Helping pump life into a dead line of business for Verizon bolstering it’s visibility internally and helping to create powerful innovations in technology that is changing people’s lives!
Check it out!