The second day of my internship at SCG, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting between the corporate and TBWA.

SCG was planning to launch a new campaign in Vietnam to brand themselves since they have just begun to expand their business abroad. They also wanted to launch some new billboards and some other print ads as well.

From the information I’ve gathered, SCG uses more than one advertising agency. They have 5 business units and each unit can pick and choose their own agency at will. But the corporate communications uses TBWA. I know they also use Ogilvy and Ogilvy PR. And there’s another agency that my supervisor doesn’t recall.

So for that meeting, two creative teams came with a bunch of account directors and planners, two creative directors, and the chairman of TBWA.

On our side were the brand management team (which I was in) and the communications director.

It felt funny being on the client’s team for once.

In class, we always talked about the client as something foreign and difficult. I read books and articles on how to deal with them. Sometimes (many times, actually) they are mentioned as the “bad guys”. And I, a 19-year-old, was sitting there, being pleased by a bunch of adults.

The meeting began with a brief presentation on the brief that we gave the agency. Then the creative director took over and presented the work, while the creative team sat there and watched. Then we criticized. And then we all discussed possibilities.

For each campaign we asked for, they presented at least 3 options for us. I wonder if that’s normal.

Some ideas were better than others. And right there in that meeting, I understood why the client always ended up buying the most boring idea (AKA the safest).

It’s so much different looking at things from the client’s point of view.

When I first found out that I couldn’t get into town (due to the political crisis) to apply for an internship in the big advertising agencies, I was disappointed. I wasn’t that enthusiastic about this internship because I thought it wasn’t exactly what I’m doing in college.

How wrong I was.


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