Ben joined Medialab 2 and a half years ago, and has been a big part of the TV team ever since. Supporting the teams across all clients, Ben focuses on airtime management and supplier relationships. Now in the middle of a second lockdown, Ben tells us about his role, and what life is like for him working from home.
My alarm goes off at 7.30am every weekday, and first things first is a coffee to wake me up gently, and ease my into the day whilst watching the morning’s news (or Match of the Day!) for half an hour before getting ready for the day ahead.
Every Thursday, Medialab hosts ‘Breakfast club’ it’s like a ‘lunch and learn’ but with breakfast instead! Although we are working remotely, we have continued, and possibly increased, these types of learning & development meetings virtually, so that we can continue to learn more about relevant industry topics. Currently, a number of us are undertaking the TV Masters online training course created by the brilliant team at Thinkbox, so we use these sessions to learn together almost like a virtual study group.
With lockdown part 2, now underway we are all still working from home so we have a TV team call scheduled in every morning to check that we are all on top of everything and no one is struggling with their workload. I had been into the office a few times when the restrictions were eased, as we are able to work there if needed (socially distanced, of course!) – it’s been great to see some of my work colleagues and friends in person, rather than in a little black box via Zoom!
The rest of the morning is spent project managing our individual campaigns by assessing daily performance and agreeing if any amendments are needed to schedules. I’ll also speak to our key partners at the sales houses to discuss delivered and planned quality perimeters, programme performance and the agreed plan for the rest of the week. We are privileged to work with 27 charity client partners alongside commercial partners so every penny of investment really does count from a fundraising perspective.
Our TV team has grown significantly over the last 12 months; built on highly successful direct response performance, we are now working on many of branding campaigns too, which I find really exciting as it focuses on building coverage long term as well as ensuring immediate campaign performance. I also love the room for creativity our transparent and flexible approach to TV trading encourages. For example, our recent Guide Dogs branding campaign which started off with a ‘roadblock’ spot – a great way to build cover and reach quickly.
Medialab encourage us to create space between 12 and 2 each day with no Zoom calls. It’s a great block of time to get some fresh air, catch up on some focused, non-Video call work and of course eat, which is great for me as I love my food! Lunch is typically something hearty and filling to keep me fuelled! As well as a love of food, my other love is for sport and as a keen cyclist I try to get out and get out on my mountain bike as much as possible, although it is going to be a struggle during the upcoming winter months!
I am working on some analysis around programme profiles, so we can share details with our client teams to identify relevant TV opportunities and get some proactive ideas over to clients to talk through further.
I’m also working on an internal project with our data team to look at how we can advance how we track and measure our TV campaigns as effectively and efficiently as possible as the shape of our “TV” activity continues to evolve fast.
As a TV buyer, we are constantly talking to the various sales houses on an hourly basis, from Channel 4 to Sky or ITV, I try to maintain rapport with our contacts and talk to them all at least once a day via phone or email – a good relationship definitely helps when negotiating prices for our clients!
This afternoon I have a meeting with ITV. They are updating me on their new addressable advertising platform, it’s pretty complex so having a demo allows me to test it out and ask lots of questions before trialling it on our campaigns.
My evening will be most likely focussed on something sports related, whether it is playing basketball or watching a Tottenham game and hopefully celebrating a win!
If you were not working at Medialab, what would you be doing?
I’d love to work on the branding team at a company like Nike or Jordan – I have roughly 50 pairs of trainers and would love to do something creative like designing streetwear or trainers – watch this space!