Up-and-Comers: Heidi Thompson, Drum

We’ve given the mic to the industry’s future leaders. Heidi Thompson, an account director at Drum, shares her thoughts on adland.

How did you get into advertising? What sparked your interest in getting into the industry?

When I left school, I wanted to be a journalist so went to do a Bachelor of Communications at AUT. By the time we got to selecting a major I’d realised I preferred public relations. I really like that working in PR you must be an expert in so many areas, it’s grown into a very broad industry since I started.

How did you come to work at Drum (formerly Spark PR & Activate)?

I had already worked at two other agencies by the time I came here. While at my previous agency my now-manager contacted me via LinkedIn for an interview following which they offered me the job. I’ve now been at Drum for three years.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on so far?

I got to play a big role in the PR activity for the DB Export Beer Bottle Sand campaign, in which DB Export turned beer bottles into sand which can be used in construction and replace sand which is dredged from beaches. The campaign won a lot of awards including a global PR award. Having the chance to work on something like that campaign which, in many ways was unprecedented, fast-tracked my development and my skill set.

Where do you get inspiration?

Other campaigns, at PHD (which Drum is a division of) we dedicate a lot of time to analysing amazing campaigns from around the world and the insight that initiated them.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role?

Probably like a lot of other people in this industry learning to juggle many different jobs, agendas and priorities. You get better at it the more you’re challenged by it.

What advice would you give to those entering the industry?

Put your hand up and say yes to every single opportunity that passes you by. Make sure people notice you by having the best attitude in every room you enter. If you have an internship (you should) be the company’s right-hand person, you’d be amazed at how often internships lead to job in the near or far future for the right type of person.

This piece originally appeared in the 2019 Agency Issue of NZ Marketing magazine. Subscribe here.

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