Welcome to Clearcast, Sam Smith

24th April 2020

By Sam Smith, Managing Director

Hi, I’m Sam, I’m the new MD of Clearcast – I joined in early April.

When I say I “joined” I mean I joined from my spare room on a Clearcast laptop. It was the same spare room that I’d been working in the Friday before from a BBC laptop. To mark the difference, I changed the picture on the wall – so it would look slightly different in a Zoom meeting.

Even if everyone you know is safe and well, everyone has something in their lives that the pandemic and the lockdown has affected. Mine is leaving my old job and starting my new one entirely remotely. In the grand scheme of things, when we come to look back at it, it’s not the biggest issue in the world, is it? And there are plus points to starting in this way. Everyone is very accommodating and supportive and there is a great community spirit here. I’m meeting the Board remotely, and I have one to ones with everyone in the company spread over the next few weeks. I might actually get to know people more quickly this way. Thank goodness for virtual meetings – what on earth would we have done if this situation had happened in 2001?!

Clearcast is now in its sixth week of working remotely.  We’re successfully conducting our daily viewing meeting, continuing to approve scripts and clear ads and to provide our additional services such as Fast Track, TV Admin and Copy Development. This is all from the comfort of our sofas, spare rooms, kitchens etc. And so, we’re continuing to get ads to air, even if there aren’t quite as many of them as usual.

I’ve seen that adversity drives innovation before, and that’s certainly proving to be true now.

Clearcast Training is being taken online for the first time, with our Training Manager, Michael, re-working the Agency and Advertiser Certificate courses so they can be delivered remotely. You can read more on this and check-out available dates in our latest press release.

Advertisers are being very creative within the restrictions that currently exist on filming. Thinkbox have published a great article on this which you can read here.

Some initiatives just warm your heart too. The company that normally deliver fruit to the Clearcast office are delivering it to the NHS and food banks instead, and sending us pictures of delighted key workers – check out our Twitter feed for these.

Our Head of Copy Clearance Niamh McGuinness is in a choir called London City Voices. They remotely recorded a wonderfully uplifting video in aid of Women’s Aid, smashing their original target of £10,000 and just a few days ago beat their second target of £30,000! But obviously, there is still a long way to go for the cause, so if you can, donate here.

And Clearcast opened The Clearcast Arms on the first Friday of the lockdown. It’s a very popular pub, with about half of the company turning up in any given week. There have been pub quizzes, cocktail classes and more. Although I’m a newbie, I’ve felt immediately welcomed into what is clearly a very close-knit team.

Even though every remote meeting I have starts with the phrase “it must be very odd for you starting in these circumstances” (and it is), actually in some ways, I’ve found it quite uplifting.

I hope all is well with you and yours, and I’ll “see you on the other side”.