10 questions with... Jo Carrigan, head of branded content for News UK

The Drum speaks to people across the global media and marketing sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions with... features News UK’s head of branded content, Jo Carrigan.

Joanna Corrigan, 10 Questions With...

What was your first ever job?

Aged 16 working in my local McDonalds. I handed the bags out the window at the drive-through, and sometimes got to put the salt on the chips. I was there for 18 months and I loved it. It was great fun and I got free nuggets, what's not to love?

Why did you get into marketing?

I'd like to say something better than "by accident", but it's the truth. I started my career as a journalist at a tough time for the industry, and work became hard to come by. I ended up taking a role cold-calling selling display advertising which was pretty hellish but I realised I loved the commercial buzz. I had to try and sell quarter pages over the phone to Glaswegian plumbers - I learned a lot of new swear words. It led me to MediaCom where I spent four great years learning the ropes and subsequently to The Huffington Post and now News UK. I'm lucky because I've found a career that blends creativity and commerciality, and I truly love it.

Who is your favourite person in media or marketing and why?

Karen Blackett. I worked at MediaCom when she was Chief Executive. I was a small fish in a big pond there so I don't know her, but I see her as a true role model and everything she's done for women and diversity in the industry just blows me away. I'm a bit of a fangirl as you can probably tell.

What is your ideal work night out?

Anything that involves food. My worst would be organised fun - bowling, ping-pong, that sort of thing. Oh and adult ball-pits, absolutely no need. London is terrible for gimmicky nights out, and they are my worst nightmare.

What is your favourite piece of creative work ever from the industry?

British Airways "A ticket to visit mum". It's so emotional and a really beautiful piece of branded content, but the strategy behind the idea was also deeply rooted in insight and data which I'm a real stickler for. The results for the brand were also seriously impressive: 38% increase in market share on that route. I think its something that often gets overlooked with big creative ideas - what is this actually going to do for the brand?

If you could ban one buzzword or piece of jargon what would it be?

Words I find myself using all the time like "collaboration". I hear myself saying it and just think "urgh". I have to get back to Glasgow once every couple of months to sort my patter out.

Best book you have ever read?

The autobiography of Malcolm X. It's a great piece of work and so relevant to everything happening in our world at the moment. Read it if you have the time, it's brilliant.

Do you ever turn your phone of and if so - when?

No, but I should. The only time I'm ever without my phone is when I'm in the gym. I go boxing in the morning before work quite a lot, and it's 45 minutes of sheer hell but it clears my mind and I can pretend I don't have 1000 unread emails.

What's the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Once, quite a few years ago, I was getting frustrated with a colleague being promoted above me. I confided in a manager who said to me "there will always be people who are better than you". It was great advice because I just thought "f*ck that".

10 Questions with will return next Monday.

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Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak is editor of The Drum, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day running of the content produced for the various platforms run by the publication. Over the years he has interviewed agency network bosses such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Maurice Lévy and Arthur Sadoun, as well as Cindy Gallop, Kim Kardashian, film directors James Cameron, Spike Jonze, Richard Curtis and Lord David Puttnam. With a keen interest in media and breaking news, Lepitak has been with The Drum since 2005 and is based across its UK, US and Asia operations.

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