OMD Exchange – Erin in the Big Apple – Part 1

Operation ‘Swap Erin’ went underway 4 months ago, where Erin Hauck from OMD New York and Erin Hardaker from OMD Sydney swapped seats as part of an epic international exchange program.

In this series of posts, Erin Hardaker will be writing about her life and times in the Big Apple with OMD NY and giving us an insight into what it’s like to work stateside. Over to you Erin..

Writing the date backwards was the first important thing I learned on arrival in New York – four months ago today. We work in an industry of tight deadlines and it certainly wouldn’t do any good to go confusing clients with my alien Australian ways. For the same reason I no longer tell the spell check to go away when it tries to switch an ‘S’ to a ‘Z’, or remove the ‘u’ from some words – I’m optimizing my email communication with an American flavor!

I managed to survive the NYC winter, although the locals say I missed it completely as it’s been a very mild season. Spring is now officially here, with temps creeping up into the high 70s and 80s (Fahrenheit, that is. I finally switched my iPhone weather app from Celsius so people stop looking at me like I’m nuts when I tell them “it’s a balmy 23 degrees outside”). As spring is the season for new beginnings, I thought it fitting I start to share my experiences as an OMD New Yorker, and give some insight into what goes on in the world of media stateside.

Today’s a pretty typical Friday in the office, after a very atypical week! My client is PepsiCo NAB – that is North American Beverages, not National Australia Bank – and one of the brands SoBe was the major sponsor for MTV Spring Break in Las Vegas. It’s one of SoBe’s ‘tent-pole’ initiatives (they use that term a lot over here) including broadcast, digital and an on-site activation. I was fortunate enough to go along and see all the planning come to fruition. We’ll save the Vegas stories for when I return, though…

I caught the M9 bus to work today, as I do everyday. It’s easier than getting the subway for me, as the bus leaves right from the end of my street in Alphabet City/East Village. The journey to work takes me through the Lower East Side and Chinatown to the Financial District, where OMD’s office is located at 195 Broadway. It’s a lovely old building with its own fascinating history as the site of one end of the first ever transcontinental telephone call. It’s right next to the World Trade Center/Ground Zero and not far from Wall Street, so the area is always buzzing with business people, tourists, police and construction workers.

Security at 195 Broadway is strict. We have photo ID to get into the building and I’ve learned the hard way that you get in trouble if you leave it on your desk when you pop out for lunch or to grab a coffee from Starbucks – yes there is a Starbucks in the building (and on every second corner in NYC!) My team sits on the 26th floor and today we have a breakfast delivery from a media vendor (that’s what we call publishers here) – bagels with lox and cream cheese. It’s good food Friday because we also have a ‘Lunch & Learn’ with Pandora – personalized Internet radio. We’ve partnered with Pandora on a few PepsiCo campaigns across both their online and mobile platforms. Vendors tend to give updates over lunch in the office, and there is even a hospitality department upstairs to coordinate the food delivery… and switch the drinks for Pepsi products if necessary!

I spend the afternoon catching up with my team of three Strategists (planner/buyers) and two Assistant Strategists, reviewing a post-buy for a recent Lipton Brisk mobile campaign. As Strategy Supervisor I review all of our team’s work before sending to the Group Director for approval. At 4.30 we have a conference call with the Group Director on Mountain Dew who is based in the LA office, as well as the guys from OMD’s gaming group Zero Code, regarding an upcoming initiative. Then it’s time to call it a day!

Stay tuned for the next update…

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