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A smoking job!

In 2005 I was hired as a Team Marketing Developer intern for British American Tobacco Colombia. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this company BAT is the tobacco company of Lucky Strike and Kool, among others brands. For me, as a recent Marketing and Advertising graduated, it was a life time opportunity. Finally, after many jobs on restaurants and sales, I had an open door to a multinational corporation who invests millions of pesos (well dollars really) in marketing and advertising world wide.

My job was "simple": me and two others interns (Andres and Mauricio) will be in charge of expand the product placement and brand visibility, while helping sales rep to increase sales, in specific city areas. The job was lost of PR and cross sales with bars and restaurants owners. In other words something like "If you buy our products from our sale rep, that new cooler you need it will be on us (with our brand everywhere, though), you win, we win, everyone win!".

The hours where long. We needed to be at the office everyday at 6:30 am to catch up with sales rep, and out late night for catch up with the bars and restaurants owners. In addition during sampling tour season we where coordinating the models and the team going from bar to bar giving away cigarets. There was not a better way to establish a real relationship with our clients that understanding how their business works, customer looks like and what where they smoking.

Our boss was focus on results, not on micromanagement his interns group, so we where loving it. Yes we worked hard, but we have the freedom of management our own schedule (a side of the early meetings) and to be out and around meeting people and going to places that either we like o we will never be there under other circumstances. I'm pretty sure that back then Mauricio, Andres and I where rocking the ball out of the stadium, but the internship ended a year after, and each one of us went to other places and ventures. I even ended out in a Kibbutz in Israel, but that a story for another time.

When I go to interviews sometimes people still ask me how it was to work for a tobacco company morally speaking, and it always makes me smile because: I was not suggesting nor forcing people to smoke, but if you were a smoker well smoke one of my brands!. I have to admit that I never have more fun working than the fun I have there, and morally speaking everything was, and is, OK.


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