InternStellar - Among the Stars

I can’t speak for my other team members, but our first day HLK was similar to the first day of  high school. Remember when you were a kid and it was the night before the first day of school? You try to calm the overwhelming feeling of nerves by picking out your outfit for the next morning, which actually makes you even more nervous. I couldn’t help but think, “What if I’m overdressed? Or worse, what if I'm underdressed?”. Then the flashbacks from the first day of high school hit with the combination of, “What if I get lost?” or “What if I don’t make friends?”.

Fast forward to noon of the following Monday...

Everything I was afraid of went away instantly after meeting my fellow interns. It didn’t take long for us to feel like a team, which was great because we were assigned to come up with a team name. We researched the team names of the interns from the past to help guide us. (PS - “Adstronauts”, if you're reading this, props to you for your team name.)  We brainstormed for a few hours and ultimately came up with, “InternStellar”. The term “Interstellar” means among or between stars. This felt very fitting because we felt like lost, little interns surrounded by intelligent and creative people (the stars). Next, we had to take a group photo for the blog and decided to be less than traditional. We wanted to stand out from previous group photos, so we decided to channel a photo from the 1970’s of men with a reflective expression. (We apologize if our photo looks more “Hunger Games-esque” than it does reflective.)  We’re very excited and thankful for the opportunity to work at HLK for the next six weeks! Here’s to hoping these next five weeks don’t fly by like the first week.


Hi! My name is Jeff Ross and I am InternStellar's Media Strategist. As the media strategist, I research to uncover which platforms (Facebook, radio, billboards, etc...) would be most effective in reaching our target audience. This includes finding prominent data that proves the potential upside of utilizing certain media. I am from Glen Rock, New Jersey and am going into my senior year at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. I love to play basketball and baseball, and also enjoy being surrounded by nature. On my first day at HLK, I was a little nervous... and very overdressed. I went the whole nine yards and wore a full suit and tie, despite the temperature hovering around triple digits. I realized quickly that I had overdone it. The atmosphere at HLK has struck me as being a perfect medley of professional and comfortable, where a suit would not always be necessary, but a positive, working spirit would.

My name is Irina and I am the team’s Art Director. I didn’t realize my true professional calling until after completing my first bachelor’s degree in History, and now it finally makes sense why I have always thought visually – from solving math problems in my head instead of through an equation, to doodling endlessly on everything. I am thrilled to have a career in a creative field, mainly because I get the opportunity to meet and collaborate with extraordinary people. Also, I’m almost used to the feeling of never knowing enough and constantly find myself in the middle of an online course or a tutorial. My roots are in a beautiful historic town not far from Moscow, Russia, and my background often helps me stay grounded and shift perspectives.

Hi! My name is Aaron Dozzi. I'm from Charlotte, North Carolina, and I'm a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis studying Neuroscience and Marketing. When I'm not snacking in the office, I love trying new things in my free time – from learning how to play Despacito on piano, to, as of just yesterday, yin vinyasa yoga. As a Strategist/Researcher, my role is to translate business objectives into strategic communications solutions – from idea through execution and improvement. This includes (but, of course, is not limited to) shaping and defining a project's focus and purpose, determining the audience and how to best satisfy the goal of the business and identifying and reporting key success metrics. Since day one, the Launchpad internship has delivered a unique chance to experience agency life through hands-on projects and to learn and grow everyday through the help of personal mentors. This is, quite simply, awesome. I'm excited to delve right in with a team of talented interns, and, as a Strategist/Researcher, utilize my two areas of study to combine consumer behavior and business in one role.

Hey, I’m Laura Grayson and I am the Content Manager. During the course of this internship, I will be in charge of the Launchpad Blog where I will write about myself and the team’s experience over the next six weeks. I will also be in charge of the content plans associated with our client projects, including social media, email, blogs and video. I am currently a senior at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. During my free time, I can usually be found playing guitar and piano. However, my favorite hobbies are photography and videography. I love turning an ordinary video or picture into something much greater. I applied to HLK because I thought this would be a great place to experience a real advertising environment. I also liked HLK because I felt that my photography and videography skills would be put to use in a marketing way. To say I was impressed with HLK on my first day would be an understatement. It was everything I thought it would be and more. I am very excited about this six week journey and I am looking forward to gaining the experience and knowledge that will be needed later in my career.

My name is Shelby Carey and I am Session Two's Account Manager. For the purposes of this internship, I have the job of creating the timelines for InternStellar's projects, keeping everyone on track. I come from a small town in Central Illinois, called Beardstown. I am majoring in Communication and Rhetorical Studies with a minor in Art. When I'm not busy with school and extracurriculars, I love to be outside. I grew up on a farm raising and showing pigs, hunting, fishing, riding four-wheelers, etc. Don't let my farm roots fool you though, I enjoy shopping, getting my nails done and binge watching Netflix just as much as the next person. My first day at HLK was amazing and every employee I have met has been welcoming and eager to offer up their help. Someone once said "if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life" and I'm starting to see exactly what they meant by that.

My name is Rachel Garten and I am the Copywriter. The Copywriter is responsible for telling conceptually strong and flawlessly executing stories. I collaborate and improve the work with the designers, account managers, art directors and strategists. I am from St. Charles and I went to school at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Some of my hobbies and passions include: writing, reading, listening to music, watching movies, cooking, swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking. My favorite food is Chicken Alfredo. On my first day at HLK I was, of course, nervous about finding the place and meeting everyone but I was also (and still am) excited to learn and experience working at an agency as great as HLK. I love the atmosphere, work and people – being here is the best part of my summer.

A Farewell Tour: Infinite Velocity

We can’t believe it’s already here: our last week! It’s as the saying goes: “Time flies when you’re having fun!” Of course, a part of me hopes that this final week will go by like Baywatch’s Slow Mo Marathon so it can feel like we have a little more time at HLK before our final farewell. Since all great things eventually must come to an end, this week we’re choosing to make our final mark as Infinite Velocity.

In our first blog, Making the Band: Infinite Velocity, I make mention to Infinite Velocity’s inside joke about being a unique type of musical band. Just like most psychedelic-country-soul bands, it’s important to leave a legacy behind, as I know future interns will as well.

Since we learned so much during this internship, I decided to ask the group three important questions that we hope will inspire those future interns as well as others as they go through their HLK journey or a similar journey in life:

1. What was/were some of the most fascinating thing(s) you learned at HLK?

2. What advice do you have for the next person in your role?

3. If you could choose a different internship position that wasn't your own, which would you choose and why?

Nijaz (Art Director):

1. One of the greatest things I learned at HLK was the way agency life works. I was especially fascinated at how collaborative the culture was. Even though everyone had their own tasks, they still had to run it by the whole team responsible for the certain client/account.

2. I would strongly advise the next art director intern to quickly become comfortable with their mentor. I know that my internship would not have been as easy/straightforward as it was without my mentor. She was able to guide me into the right directions when I was confused or needed some creative help.

3. I honestly don't know if I could choose anything else other than the art director role. I guess if there was one thing I would like to improve, it would be my copywriting skills. I feel as if this internship would have been a good challenge, especially considering the amount of feedback each of us have gotten from our wonderful mentors. I truly think I would have learned a lot about copyrighting.

Mikayla (Developer):

1. At HLK I learned about the balancing act of the client's wants and the developers creating it for them. You might think a website should be set up this way or it would make the most sense for the menu to look like this, but ultimately the client wants something else so a new plan has to be made to incorporate their ideas. This was something I'd never really considered so it was an important lesson to learn.

2. My advice for the next person is to ask lots and lots of questions and to just trust me when I say that sitting in on meetings is an awesome learning tool, even though it might not seem as great as getting to dig into a project on your computer.

3. I would choose the Strategist because the research aspect of it is intriguing, getting numbers and information to support the campaign tactics your team is coming up with. Also, I like the idea of getting to focus on the big picture and making sure all the individual parts align with that strategy.

Zac (Copywriter):

1. The most fascinating thing about this internship was learning about and living in ad agency culture. In my head, I had always associated post-graduate careers in an office with dreary, muted-color images of isolated, poorly dressed cubicle workers routinely typing away mind-numbing facts and figures at a desktop. This image has been hammered into my brain after years of being succumbed to media of all forms. But life in the world of HLK didn’t reflect those fears at all. In fact, the other day I walked into the office wearing my favorite (albeit a little old and worn) black Chuck Taylors, jeans, a T-shirt, and my blue Budweiser hat. No red-faced boss confronted me and railed on in spit-flying fury for an hour about my dress code.

I just came in, sat at my open desk surrounded by my fellow interns, and started chatting them up. We talked about the campaign, trailed off onto personal tangents that had virtually nothing to do with our ads, started campaign talk again, trailed off again, you get the point.

Ad agency culture is all about mixing personal, pleasure, and business. How are you supposed to develop good creative work if you’re not comfortable in your workspace and not having fun? The times where I came up with most of my good ideas (and I think I could say the same for my fellow interns) were when we were joking around together during our brainstorming sessions. Plus, work that builds off your personal stories makes it good and relatable, so being in a space that embraces and encourages your personality to thrive in is paramount.

2. For whoever is the next copywriter, I have only three pieces of advice.

a)    Be confident – You’ve been selected out of numerous applicants for this position. There’s a reason for that. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. That’s where your best creative work is going to come from.

b)    Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Chances are, you’re not a copywriting prodigy that’ll revolutionize the advertising world (if you are, promptly disregard anything I say to you). It’s more than okay to mess up and to feel stuck. How can you learn if you don’t make mistakes? Whether it is your mentor or your fellow interns, ask someone for help. I’ve gotten over many instances of writer’s block just by taking a break for five minutes and talking through what’s puzzling me with someone else.

c)     Have fun – You’re only here for six weeks, so why not enjoy it? Don’t let there be a duality of work and play in your life that you have to pick between. Let your creative work be your form of play. Go crazy with your ideas. When your work is your play, you’re more likely to come up with a big idea that everyone’s going to love and, most importantly, you get to be happy.

3. I would want to be the Developer intern, that way I wouldn't have to work with the rest of the interns and I wouldn't have to present (JK luv u guys!)

Maariya (Media Strategist):

1. How much you can learn in just a short amount of time! I've learned so much and gained so much new knowledge during this internship.

2. My advice would be to reach out to those in media at HLK! They are so nice and always willing to help. There are so many people that know so many different things and can really give great insight on familiar and new topics.

3. If I had to choose a different internship position I would probably choose the Copywriter position. Words can have the power to affect people in so many ways. Whether that be to possibly change their mind about a certain topic, to tap into their emotions and move them in a way they haven't been moved before, or to simply make them laugh. It's definitely interesting the way words can affect people!

Torie (Account Manager):

1. I am still amazed every day at how genuinely nice everyone at HLK is. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn't to have people I’ve never met before coming up and introducing themselves or complimenting us on how great our pitch was. Also, there’s no “well, that’s not my job, that’s your job” here. Everyone steps up into multiple roles and is willing to help others out, whether it’s the account manager defending the creative work or some strategists being models for a content photo shoot, and that’s how I think it should be everywhere.

2. To the future Account Manager:

First of all, like I was saying, everyone at HLK is so incredibly nice, so say hi and talk to as many people as possible! Getting an internship is all about making connections, so ask if you can sit in on meetings or have lunch with some of the different people at HLK. Also, don’t be afraid to work hand in hand with the other members of your team and help them out in any way possible. You will want to do everything in your power to create an amazing campaign that everyone will remember for when you come back looking for a job (because you’ll definitely want to) — that is if you’re a youngster like me and still have a couple years of college left! Finally, a small bit of advice but something I wish I would have known: figure out how the schedule for the conference rooms works! As the Account Manager, you’re in charge of this, and I can’t count the times we got kicked out of a room I didn’t realize had been scheduled while the other interns were grumbling “You had one job, Torie…"

3. If I wasn’t the Account Manager I think I would be most naturally inclined to be the Strategist. Kristen (the Strategist) and I worked really closely together and the line between our jobs became a little blurred at times, which is good because as the Account Manager I’m supposed to be the client advocate, and as the Strategist Kristen is the advocate for the target audience. Actually, the first day when we were learning about each of the roles and the mentors were talking about strategy, I thought, “Shoot, I’m in the wrong position — I should really be a strategist." As the week went on I realized I was in the right position as the Account Manager and organizer but I think I could pretty easily step into a Strategist role as well. Now if I’m really dreaming, I would be the Art Director if I had all of the skills you need because I’ve always loved design, but I’ll stick to logistics and leave the art direction for the more tech-savvy people (yes @Nijaz, I’m still learning the keyboard shortcuts).

Kristen (Strategist):

1. The most fascinating thing I learned is how each part of the team works together to create a final product for the client. Whether it is a small project like an email campaign or a more full-scale campaign with many tactics, it takes a village. I loved sitting in on meetings and seeing the different types of projects people are working on. (So definitely make sure you tell your mentor that you want to tag along for his or her meetings!) Also, I have a general rule to life to never be the smartest person in the room. At HLK, there are so many talented people to work with and learn from. That is definitely a plus as an intern and for anyone looking for full-time employment.

2. For the next Strategist: be comfortable going up to each part of the intern team to check in with their work. You are meant to work with them to make sure that their portion of the campaign is aligned with strategy. And don't feel like you are being overbearing! The more hands on deck, the better the campaign can be. Also, make sure you understand the audience inside and out. Know their interests and motivations as this drives the campaign and your tactics.

3. In reality, I would be the Account Manager. I really enjoy organization and making sure everyone is on track with their sections of a campaign in the proper amount of time. It would be a good fit for me. In the future, I could see myself in that position (if I wasn't a Strategist obviously) because I would like to communicate with the client more regularly and be the advocate for their opinions among an HLK group. In a pretend world, I would be the Art Director because Nijaz gets to do some fun designs. Turns out though... I work too slowly in Photoshop.

Sara (Me/Content Manager):

1.  The most fascinating thing I learned was seeing how collaborative each of the departments are with one another. All the departments work together to bring a campaign to life and everyone helps one another develop strategies, ideas, copy, content, and whatever else they can help out with. HLK pairs their employees up in similar ways to how Launchpad interns are paired up to work on a campaign, and what’s great about this is that all the departments are able to stay on the same page and assist one another when needed. It was fun to have the opportunity to learn about different industries within the market, bounce ideas off each other, and then create an entire campaign for a client.

2.  My advice would be to reach out to others at HLK and to touch base with your mentor whenever you need. Everyone at HLK is assigned to a different account, so someone else at HLK might have insights that you need to help make your campaign stronger. Your mentor is there to help guide you through the process and to answer any questions that you might have. I know that I couldn’t have done most of this without my mentor’s guidance and him helping to connect me to individuals who could benefit our campaigns and the Launchpad blog. It was also great to meet with so many nice people at HLK and to learn from some of the best of the best.

3. This one is a difficult one, because I really enjoyed being the Content Manager. Therefore, if I had to choose I would probably choose to be the Copywriter, since this position can relay powerful messages through words. Also, I could take over Zac’s position and we wouldn’t have to deal with him. (JK Zac — we all luv u too!!!)

In a pretend world, I would be the Art Director because I love the idea of making some incredible, creative designs based on the campaign. Realistically, my graphic design skills aren’t at a level where I can do this quickly.

TO HLK EMPLOYEES: On behalf of all of us, we just want to say thank you to all those individuals who helped us and guided us during our internship, as well as to those who made us feel welcome at HLK. It’s because of you that we have grown and learned so much, and we will truly miss all of the amazing people that we met during our time here.

Who knows? Maybe if we’re lucky, then perhaps one day:

Thank you all again at HLK, and for those who are just beginning their internship program, good luck with your campaigns and we hope you have a ton of fun!

Modeling Advice: DON’T FORGET THE WATER!

In one of our brainstorm meetings, Torie asked us interns a question that completely caught all of us off guard: “Would you all like to model in an On the Run photoshoot?”

As I mentioned in a previous blog, “OMG! Let Me Tell You About These Experiences!" some of us got to be on the set of a photo or commercial shoot for different brands; however, this was HLK asking us to be the models for a photoshoot of a brand, so, of course, our answer was a monumental:

This isn’t an unusual request for those who work at HLK, since they sometimes ask their employees to do the same thing, but for some of us, it was our first time modeling and let’s just say we learned A LOT.

Here’s a couple of HLK employees posing for On The Run’s Instagram.

Here’s a couple of HLK employees posing for On The Run’s Instagram.

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Ding! I looked down at my phone notifications and saw that Torie had forwarded all of us an email from Zack Stovall, the man who was in charge of this entire operation. We were to meet at Shaw Park first thing in the morning and bring a change of clothes, sunscreen, and sunglasses. When I read this on the outside I kept it cool, but on the inside I felt like:

The next day, we all gathered around one of the park tables where we met Zack (officially) and our photographer, Chris Myers. It was clear that most of us wanted to be prepared for this photoshoot, because we brought way more than what was asked for: 

  • Food in case anyone gets hungry
  •  1-3 changes of clothing
  • Makeup, but I suggest just a few makeup essentials since you’ll be walking long distances at times
  • Extra sunglasses
  • SUNSCREEN LOTION
  • A hat to keep our face shaded
  • Contact information of others on the shoot in case anyone gets lost
  • Our lovely smiles
  • And WATER!!! I made the mistake of not bringing water and got dehydrated before we took our last segment of photos.  Don’t make the same mistake!!!
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We asked Zack what we need to do and quickly learned that the whole process was half winging it and half planned. What I mean is there were ideas on what kind of photos we were going to shoot, but there wasn’t a 100% certainty on which ideas we were going to be bringing to life until we saw our environment. We ended up taking photos on the park tables, on a blanket like a picnic, and on the bleachers where we were asked to cheer for an invisible softball game while holding our On the Run cups. In reality, we ended up applauding some random guy who was smoothing out the softball field in front of us. Go Random Dude! Drive it to home plate!!!:

As we were going through the process, we found out a few important tricks of the trade: 

  • You can eat the food, but it’s not suggested. Zac tried this with On the Run grapes that had been sitting out all day and getting touched by various people. His synopsis was: “This was a bad idea!”
  • The soda and coffee cups used in a photoshoot are usually empty. Try not to “spill” or tip your empty cups over in the photos.
  • Make sure the logo is facing the camera at all times.
  • Finally, most of the time you’re not going to be asked to pose as much as you will be asked to act casual, so just be yourself!

When we completed our time at Shaw Park, we moved to the next location: downtown Clayton. Although we were asked to meet near a certain intersection, it didn’t take us long to realize that we were going to need to walk down a few more blocks due to all the construction. We were trying to get photos where we stand and hold our empty cups as well as where we “casually” walk and talk with the On the Run products in hand.

Chris Myers taking a photo of Zac Moreland, while Zack Stovall is either cheering him on or is photobombing enthusiastically. Either way, love it!!!

Chris Myers taking a photo of Zac Moreland, while Zack Stovall is either cheering him on or is photobombing enthusiastically. Either way, love it!!!

As we were doing the photoshoot downtown, it was amusing to see passersby walking toward our direction, realizing there was a photoshoot happening, and freezing before they got to us as if we had some aura that screamed:

When they saw we were finished, these passersby scurried around us and we were told to meet at our next rendezvous point: the Art Museum near the Saint Louis statue in front of the grand basin.

The Saint Louis statue in front of the Art Museum

The Saint Louis statue in front of the Art Museum

Here, we got some incredible picnic photos as we watched those in the distance on paddle boat across the water and some lady taking Instagram shots of her dog that was posing its “good side” for her:

Once we finished our shots here, we went on to our final location: The World’s Fair Pavilion!

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At the World’s Fair Pavilion, they were going to take shots of everyone walking “casually” with products in hand. As I mentioned before, I got a little dehydrated by this point due to lack of water and lugging around what felt like an 80-pound bag filled with makeup and other miscellaneous items long distances. (Again, don’t make the same mistakes!!!)

Zack was kind enough to let me sit this one out and cool off in the shade where I got to watch my fellow interns take turns pairing up with their empty cups to take photos. After a few shots and a chance for me to cool off, that was a wrap! We packed up and booked it back to our lovely temporary home of HLK, keeping in mind the lessons that we learned and the fun experiences we just had.  

If this ever happens to you during your time at HLK or in life, have fun with it and whatever you do… DON’T FORGET THE WATER!!! Good luck everyone and stay hydrated this summer!

EPIC HLK SHOWDOWN: Practice Pitch Vs. Final Pitch

After two weeks of preparing, planning, and some sweat (no tears) we thought we had a campaign strategy that was gold. When it came time for us to make our first practice pitch to our mentors we walked in like:

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We went through the slides of our presentation with confidence in our ability to make it through that first round of pitching. After we were done, our mentors asked us a ton of questions and helped us by giving feedback on where the holes were within our campaign. It became extremely evident that we still had a lot of work cut out for us and only one more week to figure it out. But as the great Aaliyah once said:

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So we hit the drawing board again with brainstorming sessions, making alterations to the presentation, incorporating more research, and expanding on certain parts that definitely needed it. We discussed everything from what we should say on each slide to how we should present this information to our audience. (NOTE: If you’re curious about advice on presentation skills scroll down to Lauren House’s blog called “Improv and Public Speaking: A Beautiful Pair”.

Before we knew it, the day was here for round two: to make our final presentation. We knew we were going to need to bring the heat if we were going to do better for this second round. The last thing we wanted to be in front of the 30+ HLK employees and a visiting Ad Club was this:

To keep us on our feet, we just reminded ourselves that we knew this stuff! We’ll do great. As the cat said:

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Shortly after, the lights dimmed, people’s voices quieted, and it was time to begin. With our hearts pounding in our chests we kept it cool, we played off each other when needed, we kept the energy high, and we did not throw up mom’s spaghetti. (Thanks Eminem!) Even when the audience was asking us questions, we didn’t hesitate. We stayed focused and did what we could to answer everyone. In the end, we were met with a lot of support and encouraging words, which made us feel like:

The following week I asked each of the interns about how they felt starting from the practice pitch and leading into the final pitch. These were a few things that they shared:

Torie: “I thought we had it figured out, but as we went through the practice pitch I realized that we needed to step up our delivery. I’m glad we had this first. Had we not had this first, then our final pitch would have been our practice pitch and it wouldn’t have been as great.”

 Nijaz: “The feedback that we got from the practice pitch definitely helped a lot.”

 Kristen: “Our mentors definitely gave us insights that were helpful. I felt as if our campaign’s story was not yet 100% consistent with strategy during the practice pitch, and their feedback helped direct our line of thinking toward making the final deliverables more cohesive.”

 For the next interns, as you move through the process keep these thoughts in mind and if you need a motivational song to keep you moving here’s a little throwback you could listen to:

OMG! Let Me Tell You About These Experiences!


There’s nothing like the wisdom of Stephen Colbert who has a knack of summing up what we all are thinking. Only two weeks have passed, yet the experiences we have been a part of have been nothing like any of us could have imagined; it has been so much more, kicking off a beginning that I can only describe as educational, fun, and filled with plenty of OMG moments. We’re talking about things you just can’t get in a typical classroom environment! Here’s some OMG experiences that the other interns have shared so far:

 The Commercial Shoots

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I’m not talking about a bunch of people sitting around thinking about a cool advertising commercial that a brand can use. I’m talking about actually going to the commercial shoot itself and getting a behind-the-scenes look on how an advertising agency makes this happen. Nijaz and Kristen both had this incredible opportunity, and the things they saw changed them forever… in a good way.

They got an up-close view on commercial storyboards, the length of time it takes to make a commercial, how much it can cost to create a professional-made commercial (in case you’re wondering… it’s A LOT), and how they create some really awesome special effects, such as a “fake” storm. When asked what they learned, Nijaz chimed in saying, “It doesn’t matter what the location looks like, as long as the camera and equipment used is high quality.” He went on about how a location could look like your typical park, but if you use the right equipment, it can be turned into something fantastic. I got two words for this: movie magic!

A Lunch That Gives You Insider Information

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One of the cool things that HLK does is arrange for you to have lunch with your mentor. Awesome, right? The directions that the conversations could go in are endless, kind of like the bottomless fry option at Red Robins.

In Mikayla’s case, she managed to get some inside knowledge on what’s new within the development world over some delicious pizza. She learned things like the types of tools that the industry uses all the way to tutorials on a JavaScript module bundler called Webpack. She then went on to say, “While you may have no idea what I'm talking about, as an aspiring developer, I loved it!” She was right: I had no idea what she was talking about, but it sounded pretty epic!

 

Photoshoots Which Bring Concepts To Life

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As our little group was walking together trying not to get lost, Erica Lippitt, one of the content managers at HLK, approached us to see if we would like to watch her do a photoshoot. We all awkwardly jumped at the opportunity, not sure what we were about to witness. With just a few twists and turns down the corridors, we eventually stopped at a long, brown table with a bunch of miscellaneous items spread about.

Erica went on to explain how she was going to use her photography background to take photos of these items for one of HLK’s clients. The concept was to take some photos of a do-it-yourself activity and then place this on their client’s social media sites to bring awareness of their products in a unique way. Next thing we knew, we’re all huddled around the table as Erica used her Canon camera and brought this concept to life.

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It was fascinating to see how a content idea might get created for a client’s social media posts!

When The Animal Shelter Visits?

HLK allows employees to bring their dogs to work, so it’s not unusual to see dogs everywhere. However, what happens when HLK decides to bring an entire animal shelter to the workplace? This is something that Zac found out as he followed the sounds of barking and meowing that was coming from the main floor.

At first, he was only planning on staying for a moment with the animals just to see what was going on. Next thing he knew, he’s making friends with an elderly, mixed Collie who kept licking him all over his face and, as he put it, “was very cozy.” After his visit with his newfound friend, his spirits were rejuvenated and he was ready to tackle work once more, showing us that even playing with animals can have beneficial effects on our work!

There you have it! Four OMG experiences filled with excitement, learning and dogs. What more could you ask for from an incredible internship?

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You said it baby!

 

Making the Band: Infinite Velocity

As Meredith Osborn mentioned during our first brainstorming session, "The team name is the hardest part.” She was not wrong! For the first few days, we were all over the map with ideas from Vicodin Withdrawal to Fusion to Creative Cosmos and many more. As we were trying to figure out what to call ourselves, we soon learned that Zac not only is a mean copywriter, but he can also strum out some epic tunes on the guitar.

Meanwhile, Kristen is able to bring the heat by adding piano to our sound, all the while pumping out some incredible strategies for our campaigns.

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Nijaz chimed in about how he can play the drums (sort of) — at the very least he says he can keep a beat with his hands, which works for us. Using those same hands he’s able to develop some truly rock-star graphics as our Art Director.

Then there’s me, Sara, who has been singing and writing song lyrics most of her life, which translates into my ability to develop some interesting content.

It didn't take long before the jokes about starting a band sponsored by HLK began rolling out. Next thing we know, Torie was stepping up to expand outside of her Account Manager position to be our band manager as well.

Maariya decided to use her skills as our Media Strategist and become our event coordinator. This way, we can find the best places to perform that will reach the most people.  

Finally, Mikayla offered to use her mad Developer skills and help us design our website... or be our groupie. We would have been happy with either choice.

Then we proceeded to take this idea a step further and define our musical category by mashing together a bunch of random genres that normally wouldn't mix.  

Without further ado, I present to you the newest HLK interns and upcoming psychedelic-country-soul band: Infinite Velocity.  

To us, Infinite Velocity isn't just a really awesome band name destined to reach the top of the music charts: it sums up our goals for the Launchpad internship as we strive to create a different type of number 1 hit. For example, while we work on our two campaign projects, we're keeping a couple of things in mind:

  1. We want to capture something that will be long-lasting (infinite) and innovative.
  2. We're going to have to work at the speed of light (velocity) since we only have three weeks per project to put everything together.

We're all extremely excited about these projects and are grateful to the HLK employees who have been and will be guiding us along the way. We're also very grateful to those who have been helping point us in the correct direction when we get lost. If you see any of us, feel free to reach out and say hi, ask for an autograph, or just hang out. We love meeting new people and are happy to be a part of the HLK team!   

A Dauntless Farewell

As our time at HLK comes to a close, I must say: it’s been a blast. Our last week proved that fact, as HLK hosted the Office Olympics during lunch break. Every day during lunch we’ve been playing Minute to Win It”-type games, such as eating a donut off a hanging string without using our hands, or sucking a cup of pudding up through a straw. Each department acts as their own country, and needless to say, it’s beens hysterical.

In this event, one partner covered his or her face in shaving cream, while the other partner tossed cheese balls at them. The team with the most cheese balls stuck to their face won. It. Was. Hilarious. But aside from all the fun, we interns learned a lot within our short time at HLK, and each team member has a bit of knowledge to share.

 

I gave each intern the prompt:

What was your favorite part about the internship/HLK? Do you have any tips for future (design, strategy, media, copy, account, research, content) interns?

Here are our responses:

Courtney (Art Director):

Being able to collaborate with a team on huge campaign projects helped me understand that I can't wait to work on more projects that are bigger than myself. It was inspiring to be able to work with brilliant team members in different positions that all functioned together in order to create something innovative. My time at HLK taught me to think big, work hard, and have fun as a team during every step of the process. From an Art Director perspective, never be afraid to reach out to different departments in creative and video production to learn new skills and expand your design thinking.  

 

Meagan R (Strategist):

My favorite part about my experience with launchpad at HLK was seeing first hand the effect that each role has in the outcome of a project. I loved collaborating with my fellow interns and learning from all of our mentors.

One suggestion I have for future strategy interns is to make sure the strategic plan is always airtight at the beginning of the project, so that everything else will run smoothly and there won't be confusion later.

 

Caroline (Media) :

My favorite part about HLK is the positive, energetic atmosphere and friendly people. I love being able to work as a team on projects for real clients and learn about all the different departments that make up the agency. A tip for the future media intern is to have your mentor walk you through targeting on Facebook and show you examples of boosted posts. This will give you a better understanding of your role for your projects.

 

Jenna (Copywriter):

Here at HLK I've learned many things. First of which is, the snacks in the glass jars change almost daily. DAILY. And they are always unique and delicious. Second, and more seriously, you have to fight for your ideas. No one will love them or understand them as much as you do. Explain them clearly. Be passionate. Adapt them to the strategy. Ideas and people are what fuel the ad world and you have to be willing to fight for innovation and new ideas. Third, the advertising industry is basically one huge team sport. There can be conflict, team spirit, pride, failure, celebration and most importantly, growth. Just remember to be curious, thoughtful and brave.

 

Meghan G (Account Manager):

My favorite part of the internship was working with the other interns to brainstorm and come up with solutions for each of our projects. It was awesome to see all the inventive ideas we came up with together.

One tip for the future Account intern would be to always have communication with all members of the team and encourage every member to work together as one strong unit. Teamwork is definitely the key to success with each project you are given during the internship.

 

George (Research/Analytics):

Is this not the coolest place to work as an intern when you literally are in control of working space/location? You have flexibility, but use it wisely. Time management of research is crucial. Stay ahead of the team, stay on your timeline, be prepared for the work that is asked, and execute as needed. Crunch time can be intense as the pressure builds. Just make sure you stay on track and you’ll be fine . Lastly, try taking a walk during lunch. This is sure to free up that hard drive space in your head.

 

Lauren-Me (Content Manager):

My favorite part about the internship/HLK is the sheer creativity opportunity. We were all privileged to be a part of this incredible atmosphere where creativity bursts from each individual I have come in contact with. This is a key factor is the brainstorming process, and allowed our team to think big.

My advice for a future Content Manager Intern would be to set up a weekly meeting with your mentor to talk about your project and the blog. You should also stalk the blog as far back as your mental capacity allows to get an idea of how it was at the beginning vs. now and get an insider’s view on HLK. Lastly, for your projects, use http://adparlor.com/ad-mockups/. It ensures mockups look professional and realistic so the client knows what you’re getting at.

 

Whoever is next on this journey, please know you were chosen for a reason and that you’re going to do great. Everyone at HLK is encouraging and thoughtful, so there is no need to fret. My favorite quote a mentor said to us on our first day was “when I get stressed out, I always remind myself that in the agency world, it isn’t brain surgery and no one is going to die.” Any time I was overwhelmed, I just reminded myself of this, and *phew* no one died.

With that, Dauntless bids you adieu. Be curious. Be thoughtful. Be brave.

--Lauren

 

Improv and Public Speaking- A Beautiful Pair

Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on your sweater already, mom’s spaghetti, you’re nervous but on the surface you look calm and ready

-Eminem

The intern anthem before a presentation right? Not anymore! Essentially, this internship is one giant group project -- except it’s the kind where you can’t pick your partners. Luckily, HLK did a fantastic job, and we’re all working together like a well-oiled machine. Over the course of the session , we give four presentations: two practice pitches, in front of eight (or so) mentors, and two final pitches in front of approximately 25 HLK employees. Needless to say, this was a bit intimidating at first.  

However, we realized that a little practice , and an embrace of the mantra “they’re just people, too” we could totally handle it. At the end of the day, you’re presenting your own ideas that you worked tirelessly to perfect, so there’s no need to be nervous.

Last week, we got to spend a lunch doing something an average internship would never do. We did improv with a HLK employee who has mastered the art. Similar to Whose Line Is It Anyway, (if you didn’t watch this in the early ‘00s you have some serious catching up to do) 

we played some simple games to get used to improvisation. He explained that improv can actually help a lot with public speaking and group work, because it’s all about feeding off each other and going with the flow. At first, we looked like awkward goofballs. But with encouragement and a positive attitude, we morphed into slightly less awkward goofs (and learned some lessons along the way).

Some of his tips:

  • For brainstorms: say yes. Go along with an idea, and build off of it. No one in improv just stops the flow and goes “Eh no that’s all wrong.” The same should go for brainstorming. To further ideas, say the boldest thought on your mind and your team can help take that and tweak it by saying “yes, but what about this…” in order to expand the thought.

  • For presentations: body language is key. Sometimes you need a little backup during presentations. Avoid the awkwardness by practicing simple changes in body language, so your team members know you need some help. And hey, eye contact goes a long way.

    • Also, exude confidence!  Retire the words “like” and “uh,” because you know this stuff! Ever heard of “fake it til’ you make it?” It works. If you just act like you’ve got it going on, you’ll probably be a poised speaker.


Those are just a few tips that we learned from a great day doing improv. Hopefully we’ll use these to present a fantastic final pitch Thursday! Who knew we’d be playing improv games and getting Jimmy Johns catered in on a random lunch break...again guys, internship goals.

Interns Go Hard

If you saw us walking down the street, you would absolutely do a double take. Not only would our beauty overwhelm you, but also, we would confuse you. Six drop-dead gorgeous women and one glorious George. George is a species all his own. We love him, and yet, we do not fully understand him. We are still studying his quirks. Don’t fret; when we have some solid evidentiary support we’ll send out a mass email.

Agency life, we’ve discovered, is work hard, play harder. We embraced this outlook last week by going to sushi. ALL YOU CAN EAT SUSHI. In theory this is an excellent idea and we, hungry Americans, salute the inventor. But let me tell you, when you’re one plate of salad and eight gyoza from the hot bar down and have two rolls coming, all-you-can-eat sushi starts to get a little daunting. Our George, having little to no sushi experience, ordered a few too many rolls and way too much sashimi. In fairness, he asked me to look over his order, but I can’t take on that kind of responsibility I don’t know his life! Very long and painful story short, George showed us he is a fighter, a real determined pup. He finished every bit of sushi and  swore off eating for three days. After a grueling stuff-your-face lunch, a few dress shirt buttons popped off and we all waddled back to our home away from home.

HLK, our six-week home, is awesome, but here a couple things you need to know while you’re playing hard here.

1)    When you go out for all you can eat sushi, ask Janice for a key card to get back in the building. Or don’t. I don’t run your life. However, if you’d like to avoid standing outside the building like a little pack of doofuses, ask Janice for the key card.

2)    Speaking of Janice, she is quite the office sweetheart. I don’t want to say she’s the sweetest woman here, but…I’ll let you infer.

3)    All you can eat sushi is always a good idea. Just don’t pull a George.

4)     Bring your dog. Dogs make everyone happy. And happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’—wait sorry, six girls in one room does strange things to a person. #LegallyBringYourDog

5)    Wait for a hot second after your first pitch. Chances are someone will bring you beer to celebrate. Embrace every second. Work hard, play harder, and enjoy the ride.

A Midway Check-In

I think I might be having a mid-program crisis. It’s like I blinked my eyes and

we’re over halfway through our internship. That’s insane, because it feels like we just started! Since time is slipping away, I want to offer a recap of our Dauntless adventure so far.

First, I would like to point out how awesome our schedule is. The internship is 25 hours per week, so we work full days Monday-Thursday. That’s right. An extraordinary internship with only a four-day work week. Each day differs depending on how we need to get our work done. Maybe you need a change of scenery after a particularly intensive brain-wracking session, so you work from home for a few hours. Maybe you’re on a roll whipping out designs, so you stay late. Maybe you want to work through lunch so you can meet with your mentor after, your brain teeming with fresh ideas. You’ve been given the gift of flexibility: use it, don’t abuse it. It’s all about keeping focused and working diligently.

Last Thursday, we pitched some great ideas about our first client project. HLK is pretty liberating when it comes to kicking off the training wheels and letting us be creative and think big.

We came into this internship thinking:

But now, we’re confident! We all have our own facet of each project that is ours to master. This involves: strategy, media buying, research into our target audience, creative work, copywriting, and an account manager to keep us all in check. Each person has to work hand and hand with different team members, keeping constant communication.

Up next, we’ll team up to work on client project numero dos. This client may be more difficult than our first, as we don’t know as much about them, but this intern train isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

With that, I want to close this with an unrepentantly cheesy thought. Some haters and losers may say “magic doesn’t exist.” But whenever you create something from scratch, that’s pretty magical.  

 

 

Terms of the Trade

We’re two weeks in now and still learning something new each day. As a 20-year-old college kid who isn’t fluent in agency lingo yet, a lot of my aha moments have centered on terminology. For those readers who are just becoming familiar with the agency life, I have a few simple definitions for you. If you already know this stuff, have mercy on me and don’t judge, okay? This is a judgement-free zone, people. Here are three key terms to know before you walk in the door (or pretend you know as soon as you cross the threshold):

1. Impressions.

I don’t mean making a good impression, or the dental impression mold they use at the orthodontist when you have jacked up teeth. I’m talking about media impressions. This was a term that I hadn’t used in my everyday vocabulary until HLK. Impressions refer to “the point in which an ad is viewed once by a visitor, or displayed once on a web page.” This just means there’s a chance someone could see the ad. Whether this is subconscious or intentional, part of media buying’s realm includes impressions.

2. KPI

Blahg an acronym you’ll never remember, right?

17mnol.jpg

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators. A KPI is “a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.” Read: KPIs are something you want to meet and exceed.

 

 

3. Deliverables

They are “a project management term for the quantifiable goods or services that will be provided upon the completion of a project.” So for our little intern team, this means things like certain social media posts, banner advertisements, recommendations for ad placement and media spends, etc. Fairly self-explanatory, but good to define anyway.

So there you have it! Three simple agency terms that you should familiarize yourself with before you start walking around like you own the place. Even then, confidence is key -- but stay humble whydont’cha. Best of luck!

 

Meet Dauntless

The time has come for a little something different in Launchpad. If you’re familiar with the Launchpad program or with this blog (or if you’re about to get your stalk on), you will notice a sort of “outer space” theme when it comes to past team names. Since coming up with a name was our first task as a team, we referenced past names and were stumped. We were desperate to come up with something clever but original that tied outer space and HLK together. Eventually we asked the natural question, “Hey, so do we need to stick with the space theme...or…?” Our advisor laughed and told us not to worry. She wasn’t sure why it has always been space related.

So, we are Dauntless. Dauntless is an under-appreciated adjective that might seem foreign if you have never heard of the Divergent series. It means “to show fearlessness and determination.” Some synonyms include: brave, courageous, and spirited. Maybe you’re thinking, “Hmm, that is quite a bold word to describe a group of interns who are still getting to know each other,” but isn’t that what this experience is all about? HLK aligns everything they do with their core values: Be Curious, Be Thoughtful, and especially, Be Brave. So, our game plan is to utilize those values in everything we do. We hope to combine our diverse backgrounds and unique perspectives to create something incredible over the next six weeks.

If you see us around, feel free to reach out and say hi! Statistically, you’ll probably run into one of us girls; this session has six gals and one guy, George. Contrary to first impressions , we are indeed talkative and outgoing. Our first few days were spent trying to soak in all that is HLK and wrap our minds around what exactly each of our jobs entails. After multiple orientation-type meetings and a few pep talks, we’re all pretty pumped to get going on our projects. Without further ado...meet Dauntless!

Dear Future Intern

This is for that intern who is lying awake the night before their first day at HLK terrified for what’s ahead. So basically all of you. Since it is my last day here at HLK and I have learned so much about the in’s and out’s of the building these past six weeks, I’d love to share my knowledge with the future Launchpad Interns.

You may be nervous, but that’s probably not you shaking. Big diesels, a strong wind, and traffic from the highway all cause the south side of the building to be in a pretty constant state of tremors. So if you are sitting in your chair and you feel like you are literally shaking, you are. But it’s not because you are so nervous you body is going into fight or flight mode, so relax and enjoy the vibrations that will soon become almost comforting at times.

Say hi. To everyone. All the time. HLK holds some of the warmest, kindest people I have ever met. So don’t hide away in a room somewhere and never talk to them. Say good morning to Janice because she is an angel. Say hi to people when you run into them in the kitchen which is like the watering hole of HLK. I recommend working out in the booths the first couple weeks at least. You will always run into new people to meet! This internship is about learning about agency life, yes, but it is also a great place to make connections that will last long past your six weeks here.

Do work. If you have nothing to do, find something to do. HLK does not make the interns work 40 hours a week, we work 25, which means that you have to take advantage of the opportunities here to learn as much as you can. Spend your 25 hours a week working on your client and your campaign project but then stay late and ask if you can sit in on meetings. Make yourself known in the workplace.

Make them remember you. Even if it’s for riding the bike. You are only here for six weeks, which means that you have to make a good impression decently quickly. If you have graduated, you are hoping to get a job at the end of this, so treat it as a verrrrryyy long interview process. If you haven’t graduated, you want them to be able to remember you in a year (or two) when you will definitely be coming back here to get a job. Because who wouldn’t want to be a true HLKer?

Be curious. Be thoughtful. Be brave. Those aren’t just silly tagline that HLK uses, they are something that you need to try to implement into your work on a daily basis (and honestly your life too). You are only here for a short period of time, so dive in, take chances and have fun.

I hope this helps out a little with your first day (first week) nerves. Read through the rest of the blog for other tips such as what to wear on your first day at HLK. Take a deep breath because you can do this. Trust me if us adstronauts can handle this, so you can you.

Good luck,
Current Intern

HLK: Secretly a Five-Star Resort?

Sometimes you just need a getaway. You’re craving a vacation from the stack of stress piling up on your desk. Your morning routine consists of finding a new beach picture for your desktop background and checking Carnival Cruise prices religiously. If the Piña Colada in your coffee cup isn’t enough of an indication, you’re in need of some serious R&R. But there’s one problem: it’s only mid-June and you’ve already wasted a year’s-worth of PTO building Ikea furniture and binge-watching LOST for the 11th time.

Keep your head up, Sailor. I’m here to help. You can enjoy all of the perks of an exotic getaway, right here within the walls of the HLK office building. So, grab your sunglasses, but maybe leave your Speedo at home, because we’re going to give you the “Ultimate HLK Staycation.”

Welcome, welcome! We’re so excited to have you here at the marvelous HLK resort. Let’s take the elevator up to the Mezzanine to begin the tour.

First Stop: The Mezzanine

Look at that Skyline! Start your day with a rooftop “Sun Salutation” on the Mezzanine. Watch the sunrise over the Mississippi to the tune of I-44 rush hour traffic. Breathe in the blend of aromas wafting from the Purina and Tums buildings. If your favorite episode of Friends was, “The One with the Soap Opera Party” you’re in luck; if you squint your eyes (really really tight), it almost feels like the Mezzanine is the swank rooftop party of your sitcom fantasies.

Next Stop: The Third Floor “Lounge”

Here we are. Long luxurious couches, a fireplace, and a spectacular view of the parking lot: this is the posh nightclub you always wished you could get into. Think “Night at the Roxbury” except all of the club-goers are just Appistry programmers eating chicken salad and the bar only has Pepsi and OJ. This also a perfect place to get work done (or a nap with some heavy-duty earplugs and an eye mask).

Third stop: State-of-the-Art Basketball Court

Basketball season is over and you don’t know what to do with yourself. You’ve been replaying Kyrie’s Game 7 last-minute 3-point jumper in your head for weeks. You’ve been practicing your shot throwing away Taco Bell wrappers into the trash can, but your colleagues aren’t very happy with the amount of Diablo sauce on the floor. Your form is trash. But we can fix that. Look no further than the Third-Floor Basketball Court. Get some “real-life” basketball experience on this hardwood court. Set screens with actual desktop screens, shoot free’s from a masking tape line, practice your 360 spin move around a color copier…this kind of equipment could make Steph Curry jealous.

Fourth-Stop: 5 Star Restaurant

Speaking of the Chef, our fourth stop is the gourmet kitchen on the second floor. Filled with cozy booths, mood lighting, and TWO fully stocked fridges (unless it’s Friday night and Janice emptied them out…); this kitchen is everything your growling tummy could ask for. Treat yourself to your coworker’s pasta salad and a coffee, munch on some leftover Rally’s (that would be mine), or microwave some week-old tilapia if you’re not looking to make any friends in your office pod. If you’re in a hurry, shove your hands in the “jar of fun” and if you’re lucky you’ll get a fruit roll-up. Be sure to make a reservation because tables fill up quickly.

Fifth Stop: Sauna & Gym

The final stop of our tour is deep within the subterranean levels of the resort. Ignore the signs that say “Media Room,” I don’t know what that’s all about. This is our sauna. But sometimes it’s our freezer. This room has a mind of its own. Don’t even try changing the temperature, this room will either have you sweating or shivering and there’s no in-between. You’ll also experience some much-needed “off-the-grid” quiet time because you’ll never get any Wi-Fi or cell service. If the basketball court and sauna didn’t have you sweating, we have a gym next door where you can tone your muscles, but seeing as the only physical labor in your job description is carrying your laptop to meetings and running away from your problems…you should be fine without the exercise.

Well, that about does it for our tour! Turn your dreams into reality and enjoy a wonderful vacation at the marvelous HLK resort!

What Actually Gets Used in the Real World

You know that age old saying “I’ll never use this in the real world?” Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but you actually use more of it than the you thought. In the ad world, you can have clients who operate in any industry, and you will become a near expert on everything about that company. So, knowing how a seed becomes a plant or where that one city is on a map suddenly becomes handy. Oh, and those acronyms you either learned or made up in your head to pass that one class in your major? You might not want to get rid of those yet. So, here are five things I thought I would never use in the real world, but used in the short six weeks as an intern.

 

A.U.D.I.E.N.C.E. -

Somewhere in the early days of journalism school, a professor will tell you that this acronym will help you narrow down and build an audience. And you probably sat there thinking “Why would I remember this long acronym. I’m never going to use this.” Week 2 into the internship and I found myself googling the acronym for building a target audience, because not only did I not remember what the letters stood for, but also what the letters were in general. This one acronym makes it a lot easier to think beyond just demographics and psychographics of an audience to really put yourself into their shoes, which, trust me, helps a lot when you’re struggling for that big idea.

The 5 Why’s -

I had a management professor who spent a good three hours lecturing on the 5 why’s and how it helps one problem solve. Admittedly, I may have scrolled through countless social media apps on my phone while it lay hidden behind a notebook, but that topic would soon become a reoccurring theme. A month later, my mass media research professor started asking why to nearly every student answer in class (Yes, it drove us all nuts). And here I am as an intern doing that same exact thing.

In particular, the 5 why’s is a method to discover the actual problem and not the surface level one. Let’s say the problem is that Coffee Shop A doesn’t have enough sales, so they ask you to create a campaign that will increase sales. Start off by asking why sales are low and then ask why after every answer; the end result is the actual problem.

STP -

Segment. Target. Position. Although I remembered this acronym, I do also remember sitting in class wondering if real world people sat down and did this or just went through the motions of it. Week 4 and I’m sitting at my computer typing STP into a google doc. If you have a new product or a new campaign objective compared to what the client has done in the past, this really helps you figure out what makes them so great, because you obviously know why the client is amazing, but their target audience may not.

Math -

If you majored in journalism, I guarantee you thought you would never use math. Wrong, but don’t worry. It’s not the really hard calculus stuff, but basic math and those annoying worded math problems suddenly become real. All you really need to know is addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. (That’s a lot, I know). The catch is that sometimes you have to use all of that just to get one number, and if you are like me, you haven’t done that in two or three years.

Even worse: time sheets. You will have to figure out how to add up hours, and for some of us it is really difficult adding hours when numbers are on a scale of ten and hours go up to twelve. If you have no idea what I tried to explain there, then consider yourself lucky, because you don’t suffer from this problem. Hint: google time calculator to help you.

SWOT Analysis -

I cannot tell you how many SWOT analyses I have done in my life, but college will not be the end. It’s not just an exercise to get you thinking like the advertiser and not the consumer; it’s a process that helps build a campaign. Shortly after receiving our first creative brief, we found ourselves repeating and bickering with one another because we all knew the same thing but no one had written it down. So SWOT analysis went up on the very helpful whiteboard in the Launchpad room.

On a side note, during our first client pitch, the client told us how refreshing it was to see a SWOT analysis as he hadn’t seen one in years. Either it normally gets excluded from the presentation or simply goes unused, but either way it is very helpful and we interns recommend it.

 

I mainly showed you guys just the things that come from your major courses here, but in reality you never know what client you’ll have in the future. So, try to remember the random facts in that bio class you took as a gen ed freshman year or maybe keep that notebook from the one history course you almost always fell asleep in, because it might just be handy somewhere down the line.  


 

The Ins and Outs of a Creative Brief

Advertising agencies work on projects for clients, and with every project comes the creative brief.  While creative briefs may not be the most flashy or exciting part of every project, they are still very important. The time, thought and effort that goes into one is vital, as the creative brief is the road map for the project, and without a clear brief, the project can go haywire real fast.

I’m not going to tell you what to put in a creative brief because every agency has its own version.  In reality, all briefs have one main goal in common: clearly communicate the who, what, when, where and why of the project.  The tricky part is figuring out how to best communicate the project on paper to the team.  Here are three major things to consider when writing a creative brief.

1. Communicate the Single Main Idea

The single main idea is the most important element of the creative brief. It is the core message the audience should take away from the project. The main idea should correlate with the overall assignment, as it dictates the project’s direction.  Determining the single main idea is harder than it sounds. Many people confuse the main idea with the tactic, like saying, “Brand needs to create a mobile app to gain customer’s attention.” Instead the main idea should be something like, “Brand is the best in the industry and will improve customer’s problems. 

2. Don't worry about length

In school every teacher was adamant about creative briefs being concise and direct. This also meant any creative brief could not be more than a page or two long. This simply isn’t reasonable or realistic. As long as the content is detailed and straight forward, it does not matter how long the brief is.  It’s also better to insure everything is clearly laid out, not matter the length, to make sure the team doesn’t come back with more questions than you can answer.


3. Wording is Everything

When writing a creative brief it is important to be strategic and choose your words wisely.  A single word choice can lead one team member to interpret something one way, while someone else interprets it entirely differently.  This can lead to confusion for anything from direction and creative to implementation and timing.  Even something as simple as saying, “Include digital in the campaign,” can be confusing. Does that mean digital media, digital photography, digital advertising? This list and questions can go on and on!

The creative brief may not be the most exciting part of any advertising project, but it is still important. A poor creative brief can ruin an entire project, while a little time and thought can clearly layout the roadmap for an overall great project.

 

The Advertising Squabble of the Century: Creative v. Content

When I got the call that I had received the opportunity to be a content intern for HLK, I was ecstatic. Then I came back down to reality and realized I was in a little (lot) over my head. I had no idea what being a “content manager” entailed.

What I realized is that not a lot of people understand it either. Unless you are in creative or content and have been for a decent amount of time, there is a good chance you have no idea what the boundaries of those positions are.

So maybe right now you are saying to yourself, “What is this girl talking about? It’s totally obvious what the difference between these two jobs are.” To you I say, congrats! Seriously, you rock! But, this isn’t for you. This is for those individuals, quite like myself, who will wait until week 4 to really figure out what their job title entails. (I don’t recommend this, by the way.)

Speaking as the content intern, I can vouch for the awkward “This is mine,” “No, it’s mine,” squabble. Okay, so it doesn’t go exactly like that. We are adults after all. But there is tension and confusion on what items fall under what job description. I am going (to attempt) to help you out a little.

I am sure many of you have heard the phrase: Content is King. That’s awesome. Content may be king, but you aren’t. You need to learn what content means and where your “kingdom” lies and then live there.

Content tells, copy sells. Your job as content is to inform, explain or entertain the reader. The creative team is going to go out and sell this product/idea/experience to consumers. Your job comes after that. Where are they going to land after they see the banner ads/Facebook ads/billboards? That’s your content kingdom.

You are there to connect with the readers/consumers and get them thinking. You want to leave them with a satisfying feeling after they interact with your content. You are attracting them, not interrupting them.

My favorite way to think of it is as a push and pull relationship.

Creative is the push. They are the advertising kings. They are reaching out to the consumer and putting the product in their sights. They are the advertisements and the billboards you see.

Content is the pull. You are the owned and earned media. Consumers see an advertisement and then want to know more. You give them more. You are there for the consumer.

When you get your first client, after all the research is complete, make a list of the responsibilities you believe that you are in charge of and then show them to your mentor. Trust me, getting too far down one path and then realizing you are in the wrong kingdom is not fun, at all.  

Final takeaways:

-       Be confident in yourself

-       Ask questions

-       Know what your responsibilities are

-       Do your own research if other people’s explanations don’t work for you

-       Be courteous of each other (ahem I’m talking to you content and creative people). The line is blurry, work together to define it.

-       Most important: Be patient. Things sometimes take four weeks to really click…

 

Here are some additional links! If you are still a little confused, don’t worry. Find the analogy that works for you.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141106190653-112791243-content-marketing-vs-creative-marketing

http://www.smartinsights.com/?attachment_id=72589

A PC Girl in a Mac World

MacvsPC1.jpg

I like to think I am pretty tech-savvy. I regularly use different programs, take classes to become proficient in them and even play with the new ones in my spare time. I did these things, all the while, using a PC. At Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, we are highly encouraged to use a PC for its Excel functions. I admired the Mac's sleek, slim design while comfortably using my PC.

Alas, change. On our first day at HLK, we were each given a MacBook for work. Macs have a longstanding history and strong credibility in the creative world. Not surprisingly, the office is filled with Mac desktops and laptops. 

I actually found my Mac to be user-friendly, in spite of a few hiccups. For example, it took me longer than I care to admit to learn how to right click. Similarly, I realized that the keyboard commands are different. After a little hunt-and-peck, I found the proper keys.

Then, I encountered Keynote. 

This is Apple's version of PowerPoint. I always test different options to create the most visually appealing presentation, but the tweaks I knew hot ot make in PowerPoint were now in different places. Much like my newfound prowess with right clicking and commands, I eventually conquered Keynote. I even like it a little.

While change can sometimes be uncomfortable, it can also be exciting.

I would like to think I am tech-savvy, but I know this for sure: we welcome change here at HLK. We continuously learn as technology evolves. We strategize to reach a variety of markets with different needs. We create new solutions for clients. 

During your time here as an intern at HLK, you may encounter a learning curve in your tech skills or knowledge of the advertising world. Remember that you have mentors, teammates and an office of encouraging people who have been in your shoes. 

Be curious, and maybe not so loyal to your PC. Turns out, Macs are pretty cool, too. 

Meet the Adstronauts

The Interns are here! The Interns are here!

In case you haven't met us yet, we are the ones who are dressed a little too nice and traveling in packs around the office. Feel free to poke your head in our sauna, I mean room, and say hi! We don't bite. Well, except Kyle. We are working on that. Oh and on a side note, if you see us wandering aimlessly around your floor and think we might be lost, we are. Please help.

You can call us interns, minions or whatever you like really. We refer to ourselves as the Adstronauts. You may be thinking that's too punny. It's not. We could have been the Unidentified Flying Interns (my personal favorite).

Without further ado, I am honored to present the Launchpad Interns for this session. We are taking one small step for ads and one giant leap for adkind. (Told you we like puns).

Up, Up, and Away

You met Ad Infinitum six weeks ago, but now those six weeks have past and we must unfortunately part ways. Those six weeks were jam packed with people to meet and things to learn. We quickly became integrated into the HLK culture which is not only made up of talented individuals, but also occasionally their friendly dogs. Despite our first day anxiety in which every one of us wore our best “business professional” attire, we learned you don’t in fact have to dress up for work every day. Shorts and flip flops will suffice. And most importantly, we learned that celebrating after a presentation with chocolate martinis at 11:30am is also very ok. In fact, it’s applauded.

Of course we learned much more than how to dress for the job and that chocolate martinis are quite amazing. We were given a taste of the type of work HLK achieves on a daily basis. Since the eight of us represented the different departments of the agency, in many ways we were functioning as a microcosm of the company. At the beginning we were admittedly a somewhat dysfunctional tiny eight person company, struggling to fully understand our position within the internship, much less the company as a whole. But we very quickly became another HLKer and eventually made sense of our responsibilities, creating two campaigns of which we were all extremely proud.

They say time flies when you’re having fun. But I say, time flies when you’re having fun AND you only have six weeks to figure out how an advertising agency works, what your role entails, how your job functions within an advertising campaign, and how to execute a project. When you have only six weeks, your motivation is that much greater and the reward that much sweeter. As our group name suggests, we know no limit when it comes to pushing ourselves and doing the best that we can. With the help of our mentors and the supportive and welcoming HLK community we all walked away from the experience with a broader perspective. We learned that success is not only an individual feat but a collaborative effort that requires HLKs three guiding principles: Be Brave. Be Thoughtful. Be Curious.

Keeping in mind the infinite nature of our group name Ad Infinitum, I can think of no better use of a Mean Girls reference to represent our journey and the lessons that we learned:  “The limit does not exist.”