Friday IAA Advertising School the Next Level day 1

Friday morning and the start of the IAA advertising school – this is for young professionals from agencies and clientside. I got to the training room at 8.30 and experienced Romanian time. There were supposed to be 16 students but it took until 10 am until we had enough students to start the training which for day 1 is about 10 types of audience discontinuitiesand how to build strategies to exploit these.  Mine is the only module of the course which doeesn’t carry an exam and I had been concerned that this was likely to affect attendance, By mid morning the course organisers were in full flow communicating with employers and issuing dire threats if students didn’t attend so from that point I mostly had a full house.  It is a pleasure training in Romania – these students are the brightest and the best but it is a paradox – there is so much creative thinking but at the same time clients are very conservative and often imitate one another so there is a lot of frustration.

In the afternoon I got to do my showpiece for the second time. Costin had sourced me two bags of rubbish from 2 very different households. Which I emptied on the floor of the training room to get the students to work out the size, composition and demographic make up of each household. I do it largely for shock value because of the assumption that you can’t do this sort of thing or that you won’t learn anything from it. Not true on either count. This time one of the households was a 75 year old woman living alone. The students thought she was 45. Partly I supposed because they have never had to market to anyone older than 45 so it is largely an alien concept. Once again it was a lot of fun and really helped to energise the afternoon when often the energy levels start to drop.

Afterwards I dropped into the white church round the corner from the IAA for a few moments to catch part of the evening service – it is Good Friday after all in the UK – Catolica Easter as they call it here – Orthodox Easter is at the end of April. I didn’t realise until too late that I would be working right through Easter weekend and the family holiday. I appreciated the otherness of a service I couldn’t make head or tail of – the constant signing of the cross made by the congregation and the utterly gorgeous tenor of the priest who was the cantor. People were holding onto the robes of the priest and placing them over their heads. I hadn’t a clue what was going on. Sometimes worship is best without words and without understanding. 

Not a lot to report about Friday night except that I opted to wander round the centre of Bucharest – I am learning my way around now. The old town hasn’t changed much at all. I heard they were renovating it and taking it upscale. It turns out that as soon as they started to dig they found archaeological remains (surprise – not) so everything has been put on hold. Nothing in Romania happens fast. The Amsterdam café where I have had several fun evenings with the planners is now an antique shop. The owner of the bar left to make some money working behind a bar in London –and Bucharest is the poorer for it.  I had dinner back in the hotel and happened upon a fantastic Romanian wine from Delea Mare by the Carpathian mountains, a soft fruity red easily as good as the best I have tasted from Chile or Argentina – it turns out there are plenty more of undermarketed wines in this part of the world. 

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