Reigate College played a crucial role in shaping me into the person I am today, both academically and personally. The College provided me with the ideal balance of independent and collaborative learning, equipping me with the skills necessary to thrive. In addition, due to the smaller class sizes, I felt a genuine connection with my teachers, who were able to develop strong one-to-one relationships with me and my peers.

When leaving College, I took my weekend role as a barista full-time whilst searching for a media apprenticeship. A few months later, I discovered a digital marketing apprenticeship opportunity with my first media agency, Dentsu International. Here, I learned the importance of developing solid relationships with my peers and stakeholders and developed my founding knowledge of media planning and buying within a specialist Audio-Visual (AV) role.

Shortly after completing my year-long apprenticeship, I seized an opportunity to focus exclusively on AV planning and strategy with EssenceMediacom – a global media agency with over 10,000 employees in 96 markets worldwide. Here, I’ve been supported in my progressions from a Junior Planner to Account Manager and, most recently, Account Director.

Day-to-day, I plan advertising campaigns across audio-visual channels including TV, cinema and audio, to implement AV strategies for brands such as AkzoNobel, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Duracell, and Costa Coffee. In a nutshell, my job is to find the right screen to reach the right audience – at scale – within my specialist AV media.

So far, one of my proudest achievements has been my contributions to our Dulux Changing Rooms campaign, where we worked collaboratively with Channel 4 to bring back this historic TV show, with Dulux as the official sponsor. Building on the success of this integrated campaign, we then took it into the real world using the remaining paint from the show to improve the living conditions at the Amber Foundation, a hub for young people at risk of homelessness and who are facing complex challenges.

I’ve also been proud to bring household brands such as Clarityn back to our TV for the first time in a decade where our results demonstrated the enduring power of TV, despite common misconceptions about the effectiveness of traditional TV in today’s video landscape.

One key challenge in my role is keeping abreast of a constantly evolving media landscape and changes in viewing trends. For example, navigating advertising during the pandemic was particularly challenging but became a memorable learning opportunity, developing my negotiation and campaign management skills.

Looking towards the future, I plan to continue developing my knowledge and leadership skills within my specialist media while making AV advertising more accessible for our clients and future talent.

When I started, I really didn’t realise the variety of career opportunities available within the media industry—ranging from media planning and buying, to more analytical econometrics roles, and even creative production. Once you’re in, you really do have the flexibility to decide your career path to pursue your passion.

Early within a media career, I’d advise on the importance of building strong relationships with your peers and stakeholders, it truly is essential in the media industry. Plus, it really happens naturally as long as you stay curious and always ask what may feel to you, like the silly questions. Honestly, always ask the silly questions!

Jamie Smith

Reigate College: 2015-2017

Higher Education: Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with Creative Pioneers while working at Dentsu International

Currently: AV Account Director, EssenceMediacom

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