As I'm writing this, I'm standing underneath 2 massive, eye-catching billboards. The bright purple, plum and red colours of the billboards serve as a backdrop for a powerful image of Usain Bolt, a.k.a. the world's fastest man, alongside that wonderfully distinctive Virgin Media infinity logo. The newly refurbished Glaswegian stadium complex, Hampden Park, dwarfs in the background. A deafening, collective cheer erupts from the audience.
As thousands of sporting fans pour out of the stadium, I can't help but appreciate the grand scale of this event. Glasgow 2014: The 20th Commonwealth Games. This is pretty darn cool. Thanks for having me here, Virgin Media.
At this point, my thoughts are interrupted. The film crew beside me look over and say, "The rain's finally stopped. Let's get this shoot going".
I've just spent the past few days managing the photographers and video crew who will be putting together an epic video montage of the various activities that form part of Virgin Media's Tier 1 sponsorship of the Games. After putting together the brief for the project, I've been visiting every site with them, capturing every bit of VM-related excitement on camera. We've journeyed to our experiential retail pop-up store, 'Bolt's Gym', to capture footage of our customers and prospects interacting with our TiVo products in a unique, quirky setting. Right after that, we popped over to the Athlete's Village, where we got to film some world-class athletes playing with some mobile handsets and XBox games at our store. We are currently capturing all the Virgin Media branding at Hampden Park and interviewing some of our VIP guests at our hip and trendy hospitality suite. I've just booked in my time in the studio with the film crew in a few weeks' time, where I'll be spending hours with them making sure the cuts and edits are just right.
That's just one slice of the cake. I've also been escorting Richard Whitehead, Paralympic gold-medal champion, around (and, of course, got a selfie with the man himself). Did I mention that I've had the privilege of entertaining one of our legendary athletics brand ambassadors, Christine Ohuruogu? Fun fact: I got to take a picture with her in which she's lifting me off the ground with her sister. No big deal.
As fun as all of that was, there has also been a lot of hard work involved. In fact, there were quite a few stressful instances where I've had to be rushed across the city (albeit, in grand style, on a stylish Virgin Media branded motorcycle) to sort out accreditation or transportation issues for staff members.
I've also had to manage and resolve issues that our 40+ volunteers have been having with accommodation and shifts. On top of that, I'm working alongside our research agency to capture all of the data we will be analysing and reporting to the executive board next month. Fingers crossed, this research will be able to prove that Virgin Media's 'supercharged' sponsorship of the Games has increased brand awareness, and influenced sales.
I've been working on the Games for the past 6 months now, as part of my Brand & Marketing rotation. Before getting to Scotland, there was plenty of work to be done. The scope and execution of the Games' sponsorship has constantly been in flux, as would be expected of such a project. As such, my roles and duties often changed and expanded, which was both challenging and educational. Let's just say, it's constantly kept me on my toes. As a consequence, the sheer range of experiences I've been exposed to throughout VM's Glasgow 2014 sponsorship has helped me refine and develop my commercial, operational, managerial and communication skills (and, most importantly, it's helped me perfect my appalling take on a Glaswegian accent).
Leading up to the Games, I was heavily involved in figuring out who's responsible for what, where, when and how. Additionally, I was given the opportunity to lead and manage our 40+ volunteers for the Games. I've worked with research and digital agencies, throughout the project to help implement our numerous activities across Glasgow. It's been an incredible project to work on, and one hell of a ride!
I've had the chance to attend the Opening Ceremony. I've witnessed the greatest athletes of the Commonwealth in action. I've met some truly inspirational people. And to top it all off, it's all been set in a vibrant, festive city atmosphere with kilts, bagpipes and haggis overflowing in every street corner.
Would I do it all over again if I could, amid the elevated stress levels and reduced sleeping hours?