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Financial Controller for Ogilvy, Hervé Thevenard has over 8 years experience monitoring advertising agency finances in running campaign projects.

What is your job’s role in advertising? I’m in charge of all the finances of the agency in the running of campaign projects and other corporate-related business – reportings, profitability, budgetary problems on projects, etc.

What’s a misconception people have about advertising? Not everyone appreciates this, and so it’s easy to neglect, but the everyday mundane paperwork of keeping your schedule planning and timesheets accurate and up-to-date are very important for the profitability of an advertising campaign as well as the future of your company.  This is because this information allows you to monitor all your expenses and time spent.  Financial controllers work with this information everyday, and many financial reports that companies use to make strategic decisions have precise deadlines, and thus rely heavily on this information.

For example, to reconcile time spent on your advertising project or to see if a project is profitable or financially feasible, you need accurate information from everyone involved in the advertising project. If that information is incorrect, it reflects on the financial reports, which influences your advertising direction.

An important factor in evaluating the worth of an advertising campaign is on the amount of time necessary to complete the project. If you allot 10 hours for a project and you complete it in 5 hours, that’s great. But if it takes you 20 hours, then you’ll have lost time and money on the project.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned in advertising? When pitching to a client, or when preparing for your own advertising project, prepare a VERY detailed project outline. It’s safer for you to put a lot of details of what you’re offering because if the client later wants something additional you can show them that what you originally agreed upon and that what they want isn’t included in the originally agreed upon deal.

For example, if you agree to ‘sell a website’ to a client at a set price, then afterwards the client wants more and more functionalities and options, if your project outline wasn’t very detailed as to exactly what the website would include based on the set price, then you have no choice but to say yes. This is a very common problem, especially for small projects and clients advertising on a limited budget. If you estimate a project at $5K, and then decide to include additional functionalities that may take 2 days more, then you’ve lost money in the project.

What is one of your favorite advertising campaigns? I like the Louis Vuitton website because it is so complete.


I have a small advertising budget, any advice? Find something to create buzz. Without money you can’t go to an agency, so find freelancers. Spend it wisely.

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