Alina Eagle’s career in media has allowed her to work on some of the world’s biggest brands. She is now part of the Disney team at OMD UK. Here we chat to her about her passion for all things Disney, the path she took to get here as well as her top three take outs from SXSW.
Hi Alina – thanks for taking time to speak to us today. Can you tell us a bit about your role as a Business Director here at OMD UK and the path you took to get here?
As Walt Disney said, “You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make that dream a reality.” I would like to think I am one of those people helping make that reality as BD at OMD UK. Well, that’s how I motivate myself at least. Cheesy I know, but I am a bit of a Disney nerd. So when I was at Mindshare working on Chanel and heard of the open Disney role, I jumped at it. I like to think that I moved from working on one type of princess to another.
Disney are ginormous and we have over 70 clients to manage, but it also reaps great rewards such as planning the biggest film of all time Star Wars The Force Awakens. No two days are the same and often you wonder what it would be like if someone listened in on some of the bizarre conversations we have with clients. No joke, last week I discussed a filter that could turn your dog into a dragon, the qualities of a modern princess and also talked seriously about WTP (that is Winnie the Pooh for the rest of you).
Regarding the path I took to get here, I am very lucky to have worked on some of the world’s top brands from Unilever to Chanel, Nike and obviously Disney, as well as the lesser known/smaller but much loved Homesense and Madame Tussauds. I have always chased down the clients I care about and want to work on. Probably the most notable example was whilst backpacking around the world I heard about the Nike role and so interviewed over Skype from Cambodia at midnight my time. My top tips from that experience include:
- You can have a nerve settler and no one can tell
- You can pretend the connection cut out to give yourself more thinking time
- You will need to bribe the internet café to stay open
We hear you were lucky enough to head to Texas this year to attend SXSW. How was this experience and what were your top three takeouts?
I was indeed extremely lucky to go to SXSW with an awesome team. My three top take outs (if you exclude never eat your body weight in meat again and never trust Will Bonaddio with directions) are:
- Gender is no longer a biological definition, it is a mindset. In fact, on Facebook in the UK you can pick from 71 different gender profiles! Think of how you should be talking to your audiences, dismissing the stereotypical male/female limitations.
- VR has officially arrived and it is set to change the way we experience stories and learn. In particular, I found it interesting how the VR revolution was highlighted with the potential to transform perceptions of news in the same way photography did to war. Until photography, paintings had in the most part depicted glamorous war scenes, whilst photos revealed the true damage and increased empathy. VR, in the same way, can be used to challenge perceptions and emotional understanding of situations; shifting from hearing/seeing news to experiencing it.
- Don’t limit social profiles to how your customers will perceive you; also think about its uses for those who work for you. One great example of this was Hunter. They identified that fact that most of their staff used Instagram and so started using it for internal comms. Despite having stores all over the world, Instagram helped connect them and develop a constant look across their stores and was even used as an internal profiling opportunity, championing those delivering on their objectives.
Is there a campaign you’re particularly proud to have worked on?
I am very proud to have worked on the strategic approach Disney are taking to healthy living. They recognise the fact that they have a huge ability to affect children’s decision making, as well as bring families together in a positive life changing way. But it wasn’t about a CSR; they wanted to embed it into their DNA.
This brief combined my Nike passion for inspiring activity, best captured by its founder Bill Bowerman who said, “If you have a body, you are an athlete” with the wonderful imagination and creativity of Disney.
I worked with the team to develop Disney’s POV on healthy living and how they can ingrain it in everything they do, from campaign launches to partnerships they pursue, to content they create for their channels. All I can say is watch this space and let me know if you have problems getting children to eat broccoli!
What’s been your biggest achievement to date?
As well as working on some top brands, I have been very lucky to have great bosses that push me to apply for things I never thought I would win. When I was an Account Manager, my boss nominated me to enter the Marketing Academy Scholarship. This is a year-long training program that provides career coaching, leadership training, face to face mentoring sessions with a variety of legendary marketing mentors, lunches with inspirational CEOs and peer to peer networking. It supercharged not only my way of working but also helped grow my confidence. Following a rigorous selection process competing against 400 applicants, I was awarded one of 30 coveted scholarships of which the majority were clients. Five years on and I still rely heavily on this network as an alumni member. I still speak regularly to my fellow scholars, many of whom have become my clients and it has been great to see each other grow.