It’s 1pm just outside of Minsk, Belarus. It’s lunchtime and we’ve got Baloney and Potato soup, served kindly by the Babushka, who doesn’t speak a word of English. We’re shooting in a plane hanger for our first TV ad for velcom, a Belarusian telecommunications company. Me and my copywriting partner have taken the train from Vilnius to Minsk to work on a campaign during our second month of a 1 year stint at DDB Vilnius, in Lithuania. Don’t worry, I’ve googled it so you don’t have to:
Me and my Copywriter were on placement at iris Worldwide a few months after graduating when we saw a post on AdJobWall for a Junior Creative Team wanted at DDB Vilnius. Not knowing where this was initially we applied anyway not expecting to hear anything back. But a few emails and Skype calls later, we packed our bags and set off.
Once we arrived we found that everyone at the agency spoke English, as well as most people generally under the age of 50. Being English also made it quite easy to meet people and make friends. As an ex-soviet country, there were still the some glimpses of the mentality and architecture around, but generally it was a nice place to live, especially in the summer. Our accommodation in central Vilnius was very decent, and we really comfortable on our salaries, but obviously everything there was less expensive in comparison to London.
In terms of the work we were treated like a midweight team and started working on ATL campaigns straight away, and over the year we made 8 TV ads. The budgets were much lower, which means you have to find workarounds, and we were mainly working for relatively unknown clients outside of the Baltic countries. Copywriting in English to be translated into Lithuanian or Russian also proved interesting. However the experience on the production side, pitching our ideas to senior clients, and having the responsibility was great.
At the year mark we decided we needed to get back to working on big brands, so we began sending a few emails out, which resulted in a lot of:
Luckily however about a month after finishing at DDB Vilnius, we got a job at Innocean Worldwide UK and have been here since. If you are thinking about working abroad, I would highly recommend it. It gives you perspective, teaches you how to adapt to other cultures and is a great life experience.
Simon Carr is an Art Director at Innocean Worldwide UK.