A week in the life: AJ Ferriter


Ri5's series of sneak peeks into the working weeks of the industry's finest comes from AJ Ferriter, senior copywriter at AIA Worldwide.

Monday

My week starts the same as every other: with a creative team meeting and a cup of yoghurt and honey with soft granola sprinkled on top. Only this week there’s dried pineapple in my granola so I spend much of the meeting picking it out from my yoghurt. Two minutes before the meeting ends and I’ve extracted seven pieces.

I then go to a room with an art director named Phil, a brief, a bunch of marker pens and several stacks of oversized Post-it notes. We write our ideas on the Post-it notes and stick them onto the wall.

Half our initial ideas involve Tinder. To ensure we understand the dating app inside out, we use Phil’s phone to open an account. His Facebook profile photo, the one of him and his wife at their wedding, automatically becomes his Tinder profile photo. I suggest it might be funny were we to register an interest in someone. He disagrees, and for the rest of the day keeps his phone out of my reach.

After lunch I spot someone carrying two trays of bite-sized cakes left over from a meeting. He approaches the most popular place in the office for sharing food: the white table. I pick up two brownies and a lemon square before the vultures descend.

Before resuming the morning’s work, I’m asked to tweak a script I wrote last week. I’m told it should take no more than an hour. It takes four.

Tuesday

On behalf of copywriters everywhere, I feel aggrieved. The film script I wrote last week, that I tweaked yesterday, is being shot today. And I’m not going. An art director has swooped in at the last minute to steal my field trip.

Phil and I continue our work from yesterday. This time, however, a girl on work experience joins us. We become larger, more animated versions of ourselves. Phil embellishes by snapping his fingers whenever he comes up with a new idea, but I feel that’s taking it too far.

Later on there’s a buzz in the office. A media company has arrived with ten boxes from Hummingbird Bakery. A crowd, two-deep in places, gathers around the white table. I plot which cakes to grab first and then position myself accordingly. The free-for-all begins.

I start with a red velvet whoopie pie and then go for a brownie with chocolate frosting and a solitary walnut on top. I take one bite of the brownie, which is faultless, before leaving it on my desk and returning to the white table. I try a mini red velvet cupcake and a mini coffee cupcake. I eye up the rainbow cake in the centre of the table, the big one, ten inches tall, eleven if you count the frosting. Just looking at it makes me feel inadequate. I return to my desk.

After lunch, Phil and I conceptualise some more. The first hour I can’t stop talking. The next hour the opposite is true. I spend the rest of the day swinging between fragile ecstasy and satisfied despondency, ever thankful I didn’t go on the shoot.

Wednesday

I’m informed, matter-of-factly, that I can’t start a sentence with a conjunction. I take ten deep breaths. And then I move on.

Phil and I run our ideas by the digital strategy team. They say they love them and suggest that maybe we could also do this. And this. And that. We thank them profusely for all the new work they’ve given us.

Today’s offering is a Victoria sponge. Someone’s partner made it and he wants constructive feedback. I’m worried it won’t be good so I come up with an ambiguous response that sounds positive. It’s good though. Moist and not too sweet. “Lots of character,” I say.

Our football team has a match at 9pm. I consider pulling out as my back is sore, but I play anyway and immediately wish I hadn’t. My first shot and I think I’ve pulled my right glute, so during the match I do whatever I can to avoid kicking the ball. I also turn my right ankle. We win, but I don’t feel like a winner because I can’t walk.

Thursday

To gain inspiration, Phil and I watch a video of paper statues that stretch and change shape. We also watch a video of a dog dressed as a spider. The people who encounter the dog have no idea it’s not a spider as they’re too busy running away from it.

Before presenting to the client team, I stop by the white table. Someone has been to the States and returned with several bags of Peanut Butter M&M’s. As part of my personal quest to understand the likes and dislikes of people in target markets from around the world, I take two handfuls. 

Friday

I give an induction to a new starter. I explain the creative process and how instrumental copywriters are to the overall health of any agency. He agrees.

I then review two videos for a production company before Phil knocks on the door. He tells me it’s someone’s birthday and they’ve brought in profiteroles. I head straight to the white table.

Soon after it’s time for Friday refreshments. I fill a plastic cup with plain Hula Hoops and wander around the terrace. You can’t beat the view from there, but it’s cold today so I go back inside. I warm up on a yellow beanbag next to a guy named Cherry drinking a mojito. Another guy with an orange beanbag and luminous blue trainers joins us. It’s a colourful gathering. So colourful, in fact, that it brings to mind a ten-inch tall cake, eleven if you count the frosting, some of which is still in the kitchen fridge, less daunting than before, calling my name, promising me a sweet, teeth-tingling start to the weekend.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Share this article

Any questions? Any comments?

Your instant reactions to this article can be posted here. Use your own name or a nom de plume.

(Showing 1 - 5 of 5)

Anonymous Date: Apr 13, 2015

A.J., Amazingly interesting,but ditch the cakes;get the bod primed for St John!

Dee Cee Date: Apr 14, 2015

Cake is certainly the staff of his life! No bread for him.

Anonymous Date: Apr 14, 2015

What an insight into the world of copywriting - and cake!

Anonymous Date: Apr 14, 2015

Next job: baker.

jan lewis Date: Apr 17, 2015

Love it. I feel like I was there with you! Jxx

Please log in to make a comment

Already registered?

Haven't registered?

Register for FREE - it only takes a couple of minutes

Not registered? Click here.