Chris Goldson wows Paddington Academy with advice… and maggots

6 February 2015

Media and sixth form students at Paddington academy were thrilled to meet Chris Goldson, the Creative Sales Director at ITV. Formerly at the Financial Times, the BBC and Virgin/Absolute Radio, Chris drew on a wealth of anecdotes to convey the excitement of working in the media.

Chris Goldson speaking to students at Paddington academyChris began by asking the 70 students what they thought constituted a “good job”. With each response he gave away rugby balls as prizes, with his favourite reply winning a bumper set of cheese and onion-flavoured maggots, scorpion lollipops and spider-sweets – the product of a partnership his team had organised.

With the audience already spellbound at this point, Chris summed up his philosophy on careers: do what you love. This message formed the crux of Chris’ talk, outlining the workings of the industry, the inspiring people he meets and what he gets to do while doing the work he loves.

To introduce the joy of working in media, the students saw brief footage of the world’s first TV broadcast from 21 Linton Crescent in East Sussex, with a montage of video recording now deep-set in the transnational consciousness.

Set of cheese and onion-flavoured maggots, scorpion lollipops and spider-sweetsChris discussed his career path, from work on radio and with Good Food Magazine to engagement with celebrities and musicians through ITV (“people always told me I looked like Kevin Bacon. Then I interviewed him on the radio, and he clarified that definitely didn’t”). He went on to outline how advertising works, the different entities involved and the huge revenues changing hands.

Finally, Chris illustrated how advertising was about great ideas, and the ability to tell engaging stories. On occasions, this had meant ordering a £400 inflatable elephant, as a prop to convey to CEOs the “elephant in the room” removed by recent broadcasting legislation. He had used shrewd opportunities with musicians looking for publicity to bring about major partnerships at great value for money. It became clear that through this lively imagination, passion for the industry and charisma, Chris had achieved a great deal along the way.

Chris Goldson speaking to students at Paddington academyDuring the Q & A, a student was keen to know how to get started. Chris advised being proactive: seek out official programmes designed for students during school holidays, and don’t be afraid to write to HR to ask about these, or even to bosses for work experience. “Be determined” Chris reminded them, “and remember to do what you love”.