The Interns: Goodbye

It is officially here: the first season finale of The Interns. Unfortunately, Planet X's contract was not renewed for a second season... With that being said, the cast would like to take this opportunity to reflect on their time at HLK.

To get a better idea of Planet X's experience at HLK, we asked them to ask the following questions in their final reflections...

  • What is your favorite memory?
  • What is the most valuable lesson/skill you have learned?
  • What is your favorite office amenity?

Jessica

It’s hard to believe my time here at HLK is coming to an end.  This experience has been amazing and I have learned more than I thought I would. My favorite memory here at HLK was just eating lunch with the other interns almost every day.  Although they were short most of the time, it was a time when we joked around and really bonded with one another.

I have learned so many valuable lessons through this internship, it is hard to pick just one.  I guess I would say the most valuable lesson I learned is that marketing is way more about the why, not necessarily the what.  I never knew how much research and reasoning went into creating cool marketing campaigns.

I’m not sure if this counts as an amenity, but my favorite part of the office is the mezzanine.  I love how there is a wall full of windows overlooking downtown St. Louis. It’s nice to get to escape our room of no windows and work up there sometimes!

I’m very happy that I get to say my very first internship was at HLK.  It’s an experience that I have learned a lot from, and an experience that marks the first step of my professional career.  Thank you HLK for everything!

Wes

As my time here at HLK draws to a close, there is so much to reflect on and to be thankful for. Blessings can take many forms and I am confident that this agency and its people have been some of the biggest blessings in my summer, much more so in my fledgling professional career.

When people ask me what I’ve learned this summer, I find it hard to answer them. There are countless things I have learned these past 6 weeks. I usually shift in my response from what was learned to what was experienced. I think that is the only fair way to give an answer. I experienced meaningful, excellent, and beautiful work being done by passionate, driven, and kind-hearted people. In our projects, I experienced some of the real challenges within advertising that no textbook can teach. Furthermore, the culture of HLK has been an amazing experience from start to finish. Tasty snacks, cute puppies, a hipster office where shorts are accepted and jeans encouraged; this office feels like home.

I think one of my favorite memories is definitely the day that we worked away from the office and walked to get smoothies in Soulard. It was one of those days where the sun is out and it isn’t too hot. We were walking and brainstorming and thinking about how to better improve our delivery for Build-A-Bear. The smoothies were delicious and the ideas we came up were vital for our project. It allowed me to realize that hard work and play can go hand in hand, and that when they do, it often produces some pretty cool results.

My favorite office amenity is a toss up between the wall mounted basketball hoop on the south side of the third floor corridor and the Black Ice coffee. I love the basketball hoop because the way the lighting hits it and the accent of the orange backboard on the brick really makes me feel like it's somewhere in New York. It inspires me and I feel brave and curious when I walk past or shoot at it. The coffee is a no-brainer. Ask any of the interns and they will confirm that I drink copious amounts of it each day. Today has been at least 6 cups already and it’s only 12:30.

Overall, I have loved being a member of Planet X and getting to experience a snapshot of agency life for the last month and a half. We will see what the future holds but I certainly hope to be back at HLK one day.

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Meg

It was hard to pinpoint my favorite memory from the past six weeks because I have enjoyed spending everyday with Planet X. Through serious evaluation, I realized that my favorite memory was going around on the first day and hearing everyone’s fun facts about themselves. I could tell right off the bat that Planet X would be a very dynamic intern group. Each member has surprised me more and more everyday. I can’t even begin to express how much I have enjoyed getting to know this group of interns.

One of my biggest challenges during the internship was facing my fear of public speaking. When it came time for our first pitch, the thought of doing a presentation in front of 50+ people absolutely terrified me. After receiving such positive feedback regarding our presentation and individual public speaking skills, I have felt a lot more confident presenting this time around. I’ve learned that being knowledgeable and passionate about what I am presenting is crucial to getting the audience’s attention. This improved skill will be an essential component in my future as a professional.

The HLK office has so much to offer, but my favorite amenity would have to be the bowl of snacks. On the rare day I have forgotten my lunch, the bowl of snacks always had my back. I could always count on the bowl to have a great variety of granola bars, cracker snacks, and fruit. I feel that through trying different snacks, I have really branched out. From now on, every time I have a Belvita Breakfast Biscuit, I will reminisce on my time at HLK.

Tony

I am so grateful and feel so overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to have been a part of the Launchpad internship. The staff of HLK has been so supportive, helpful, and provided so much invaluable career advice to me. I’ve really grown to love the office, the atmosphere, and the staff. Though my heart aches because it is coming to an end, I am filled with so much gratitude and happiness to have been here for all of it. I will always hold on to the fondness and memories I have of HLK.

My favorite memory from this experience would definitely be from our first pitch when we had to create a video of Wes speaking during our presentation because he was on vacation. Wesley’s personality really shined through and everyone, including the interns, got a real chuckle out of it. It was a creative and fun solution to a logistical problem. I will always smile when I think about it.

The most valuable lesson that I am taking away from this project is to not think of myself as a one-dimensional entity. Advertising has many different roles and each project is multi-faceted. Many of the staff here seem to have started out in certain roles and progressed or switched to other roles where they felt more fulfilled. As much as I have a passion for creative storytelling and writing, being able to look at other potential opportunities in the industry where I can contribute and offer value to projects will only help me as I begin my career.

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t show love and gratitude to the real star of the HLK office: free coffee. By far and away my favorite office amenity, free coffee is a tool to harness my creativity, fuel my work, and give me the energy to power through difficult projects. Free coffee is the star of the show. I’ve taken the opportunity to write the following haiku as a tribute:

I arrive each day

Our project deadline looming

Coffee completes me

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Paige

This has easily been one of the best career experiences for me. As a new graduate, the world out there is scary and daunting, but my time here at HLK has really prepared me for my career. I have learned so much during this internship; not only about the agency life, but also about how to work well with a team. I feel like I’ve grown as a designer and as a team member.

I’ll have so many memories that I will never forget but one of my favorite memories is going out to our celebratory brunch after our first pitch. I’ll miss all the free coffee and snacks, as well as getting to pet every dog I see. Although my time as an HLK intern is coming to an end, I will never forget everything HLK has taught me.

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my fellow interns and never expected to make such good friends during my time here. I wish my Planet X teammates the best in school as they finish up college. You guys are the best and can do anything!

Caroline

As the final day of this internship is coming to an end, I am left reflecting on this experience as a whole. The memories that have been made, the friendships that will extend beyond this internship, and of course, my time in the office. My favorite memory here at HLK would have to be the coffee truck day. Free lattes are definitely worthy of being the best memory.

The most valuable thing I have learned thus far in this internship is the importance of teamwork. As interns, the six of us have had to work together to overcome challenges that have arisen in our projects and without hesitation we come together to conquer the challenge. My favorite office amenity also ties into a valuable lesson I have learned, and this is the office dogs. While they are my favorite “amenity” of the office, they also have shown me how a furry friend can brighten the overall mood and atmosphere in the office. Whether the weather is just a little gloomy or the workday has been a bit challenging, I can always count on a four-legged friend to cheer me up. They never fail to brighten my day and mood, as well as provide me with tons of cuddles.

The Interns: Trick Shots

Planet X is feeling sentimental during this week's episode of The Interns because it is the last one before the season finale. To brighten their spirits, they took a quick break to shoot some hoops. The clip below shows some highlights of their break.

With only one week at HLK, Planet X wanted to provide their audience with a special treat. We have answered TWO deep questions that reflect our personalities. These two questions are: "If you were stuck on a desert island with a record player and could bring one album with you, what album would you bring?" and "If you were a dog what type of dog would you be and why?"

Jessica

It’s crazy to think that we only have one more week left at HLK! The time has flown by and I have really enjoyed my experience so far.  This week we had our first practice pitch for this project. We received a lot of great feedback which will help us create a better presentation for the final pitch.  We definitely have a lot of work to do this next week! There have been a lot of new puppies here at the office, and it’s always fun when they come say hi to us!

If I was stuck on a desert island, I would bring One Republic’s album “Oh My My.” Not only is it my favorite album, but Ryan Tedder has a very loud and powerful voice which could hopefully help me get rescued.

If I was a dog, I would be a chocolate lab puppy because I am trusting, small, loyal, and friendly.

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Wes

Rise. Grind. Rinse. Repeat. Or at least something like that.

This past week has been challenging and insightful. I think above all else it has revealed to me the reasons why I love advertising. Coming out of our practice pitch, our team was kind of down. We didn’t have as strong a presentation as we wanted and we had to go back to the drawing board for a lot of our work. We rebounded with some much needed Mission Taco for lunch and came back firing with creativity. Our whole demeanor changed and we have been excitedly working to make our deck the very best that it can be. It’s hard to take something that seems square attempt to put a creative spin on it, but truly great advertisers never get stuck on where to pivot in a project. It is my sincere hope that Planet X will rise to be great as we race towards the finish of this project and our time at HLK.

If I was stuck on a desert island with a record player and could bring only one album with me, I would definitely go with Leon Bridges Coming Home. It has a nostalgic 60’s diner, roller rink, and letterman jacket feel but it also brings in modern electric/acoustic touches as well. Leon’s voice is silky and makes you want to drive in the sunshine. Or I guess, in this case, just to be content to sit on the beach and jam out.

If I were a dog I would be a golden retriever. They love people and are loyal. They are always down for an adventure and they sniff out any and all fun to be had. Retrievers are also powerhouses in the water and I love to swim so it would work nicely.

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Megan

I can’t believe week 5 is already coming to an end. This internship has been so rewarding and I am going to cherish my last week as an intern. I plan on going to as many team lunches as possible to maximize our bonding time. We have been diligently working on our final project and I think our mentors will be blown away by our final presentation next week. There is still a lot to do, but I can already see how nicely our pitch deck is coming together. It will be hard to top our last pitch, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing the final product.

If I could have one record with me on a desert island, it would have to be Take Care by Drake. This was an obvious choice for me. I am even listening to this album as I type now. I honestly can’t name a bad song on the album. There is a perfect variation of upbeat and sentimental songs to mirror my emotions, which I imagine would be all over the place while stranded on an island.

I have put a lot of thought into what dog breed really represents my personality. I would have to be a brown Pomeranian. I believe anyone who sees the picture I provided would have to agree. Pomeranians are not too big, but not too small. They have an outgoing personality and love being around all of their dog pals, just like me.

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Tony

This week was our first practice pitch. We received a lot of feedback on the direction of the project from our mentors and have been busy coming up with new ideas and how to execute them. It almost doesn’t seem real that this is our fifth week of the Launchpad internship. Time has really flown by. I have really learned a lot and really fallen in love with the office here. I have been able to meet so many experienced professionals here, learn about their experiences, and get plenty of great advice. It has also been very exciting to be able to work alongside my fellow interns on these projects.

If I was stranded on a desert island with a record player and could only bring one album with me, I would absolutely have to bring Radiohead’s 1995 album The Bends. Even though this album is 23 years old, it still resonates with me. It stands out to me as Radiohead’s finest work creatively and emotionally. It is also one of the very few albums that I can listen to in its entirety without skipping a track or hitting the next button.

If I was a type of dog, I would be Boston Terrier because Bostons are very funny and clownlike with very expressive faces. They’re hilarious little clown dogs. As shown in my dog meme below:

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Paige

This week was our second to last week and I’m pretty sad this experience is almost over. I’ve enjoyed my time at HLK so much that I’m not ready for it to be over. But, I will make the best of the time we have left and give all of my energy to our final project! There’s still so much to do for the project and I know this last week will fly by.

If I was stuck on a deserted island with only one record, I would have Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. This album would keep my spirits up and give me the needed confidence to survive on this island.

If I was a dog, I would be a french bulldog. More specifically, a sleeping one. I’ve always loved frenchies and feel I best identify with their fun personality. They can be very energetic at times but will often sleep the day away and nothing sounds better than that.

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Caroline

Week 5 is officially coming to an end, and it is definitely bitter sweet. While I am sad that this experience is wrapping up, I am grateful for the time I have spent at HLK getting to know my fellow interns, and getting the chance to work at an incredible company. With only one week left of being an intern, I am going to use this time to continue to learn as much as I possibly can. This next week we still have a lot to accomplish and I cannot wait to see how our final project develops in these final days.

If I was ever stranded on a desert island, which I truly hope never happens, and I could only bring one record album with me, without a doubt I would bring Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumors. This album has always been my favorite and it brings me joy.

When asked, “if you were a dog what type of dog would you be,” it is a simple answer, I would not be a dog, I would be a cat. While not everyone is a cat person, I most certainly am. Yes, I still love dogs very much, I am not crazy. I would just be a cat instead, I am loyal to those I am closest to, while it sometimes takes me longer to open up to those who I do not know well. I enjoy basking in the sun, just as many cats do.

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The Interns: Out of The Office

In today's episode of The Interns, our favorite team gets a chance to work down the street at St. Louis Bread Company. We are BEARy excited for this change of scenery and the chance to tell you more about our new project on Build-A-Bear.

We got the chance to sit down with Caroline and Megan to hear how they were feeling on this lovely Thursday morning...

Disclosure: We were not actually kicked out of the office; we decided to work out of the office to avoid parking lot chaos.

Since this week marks our halfway point of the internship, we figured it is time for our audience to get to know us better. With that being said, we thought it would be fitting to share what we would be as a vegetable, which you can find at the end of our reflections this week.

Jessica

This week we were introduced to our second project, which is much different than the first! Our first project had more of a strategic focus, whereas this project is way more creatively focused. It has been fun letting our imagination explore! I think now that we have already experienced the process of creating a pitch before, we are all more confident in our roles which is allowing us to create stronger work before the practice pitch next week. This week we also got to take two field trips. Yesterday, we went to Build-A-Bear to get inspiration and today we are working from Bread Co.

If I were a vegetable I’d be a carrot because I am versatile; as a carrot adapts to each food dish it becomes.

Wes

Before I’m vulnerable and tell all of the juicy details of this week, I think it's only fitting that I address the elephant in the room first. Yeah, I was on vacation last week. Yes, I did enjoy it. A lot, honestly. But home is where the heart is, and my heart couldn’t find rest.

There was one moment where this just really clicked for me. I was sitting on the deck of the cabana and I had a nice beverage in hand. It was one of those perfect moments where the Sun hits just right with the breeze and seagulls. The waves were gently rolling on the sand. Imagery. I hope you’re picturing it.

Yet, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t relax. I looked at the sea foam and did a double take. There in the waves were the faces of each of my fellow interns! Some smiling, some lamenting my leave. It was wild. It was surreal. Right then and there I went inside and packed my bag to go home. I knew where I was needed. Where I was wanted. I knew that my leaving was going to be difficult for everyone, but I never thought it would rip the team apart like it did. I mean, we’re close at Planet X and all, but this took it to a whole new level.

On Monday morning, the scene when I arrived at the office could easily have been from a Hallmark movie. All of us sank to the floor on our knees in a lasting embrace that was by far the sweetest memory of my time thus far at HLK.

United again, we took on our next project with gusto. Working with Build-A-Bear is an absolute dream. They made my childhood magical and now I get to have a hand in helping to create more magic for kids everywhere this Christmas. Smokes! What a life I get to live.

Build-A-Bear’s value is found in the things that can’t be bought. They are forever at the heart of childhood, making childlike wonder a reality in their work every day.

As I sit here writing this, I’m dabbing tears from my eyes to the backdrop beats of KidsBop. My $6.75 latte is doing its work and I’m very aware of one of life’s biggest questions:

What vegetable would I be?

Easy.

I would be the best vegetable out there.

A Georgia Peach.

Why such a unique choice? Well, there are the obvious things about peaches. They’re sweet, fragrant, and juicy. But on further inspection, they’re fuzzy, luscious, and colorful. These characteristics resonate with me. Peaches are the best un-vegetables.

Megan

I must say, it has been quite a week. Working on our Build-A-Bear project has almost been too much fun. It is as if my childhood dream is coming to life and I couldn’t be happier. We may have gotten carried away with our window display (see below), but I really think everyone at HLK will appreciate the preschool aesthetic we are going for.  We are spending the day working at Bread Company, which has been nice, but I am missing the office dogs. My day hasn't been the same without getting to pet some puppies. I am definitely looking forward to getting back in the office on Monday to resume our usual routine.

If I was a vegetable, I would definitely be an onion. The reason behind this is based on the fact that it takes time to peel back my layers and get to my core. I also tend to add a bit of flavor and spunk to any situation and I am packed with vitamins and minerals.

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Tony

Our second project is underway and with it has come a whole new set of ideas to explore. Finding out that the client for this project is Build-A-Bear has created an atmosphere of childlike wonder and whimsical humor in the office and we are all embracing our inner-child. It’s been fun to reflect on the magic and wonder of being a child. I think that this has made us feel a lot less stress and able to work a little more quickly this time around. We’ve also become more familiar with one another and our communication with one another has improved. I’m excited to see how this project takes shape! I can’t believe how fast this internship has gone by already.

If I were a vegetable, I would be a Brussels Sprout because I am often misunderstood and under-appreciated, but I’m still proud of who I am, and I try to be a positive influence on the world around me.

Paige

We are now halfway through this internship and we’ve submerged ourselves into our second project. I’m really excited to let out my inner child for this project and to have fun designing posts for Build-A-Bear Workshop. Along with working on our new project, we took a field trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop to get the full experience of what the store has to offer. And as excited as I am about this new project, it was not the highlight of my week. The best part of this week was meeting HLK’s newest team member: Toast. He is the cutest little puppy and it was nice to cuddle up with him. (See photo below). I’m excited to see him around the office now!

If I were a vegetable I would be a pumpkin because I am deep-rooted and grow best among others. Autumn also happens to be my favorite season.

Caroline

This week marks our halfway point in the internship, which is exciting, but also sad because I don’t want this experience to end. In addition to this week being our halfway mark, it has been so much fun in the office. Our newest project is Build-A-Bear, and it has awoken the little kid in all of us. On Wednesday, we took a field trip to the closest Build-A-Bear to the office to get a better feel for the in-store experience. Because this is our second project, we all have a better feel for our positions and roles. This has allowed us to work even more cohesively. Today (Thursday), we are working from Bread Co, which is a nice change of scenery!

If I were a vegetable, I would be a golden rustic potato. I say this because while I can take many shapes and forms, I still stay true to my core self. Also, any form of a potato is delicious, and I never refuse French fries, mashed potatoes, potato chips, or a baked potato. Potatoes are great, and I think most people would agree with that statement.

The Interns: In it to Win it

This week on The Interns, Planet X must present all of their hard work to HLK. They are taken on a rollercoaster of emotions as they make the final touches to their pitch and get ready for the big day.

 Unfortunately, Wes was out of town this week, but he left a lovely cardboard cutout to take his place. Although we've enjoyed our time with cardboard Wes, we can't wait to have real Wes back next week to make Planet X whole again!

Unfortunately, Wes was out of town this week, but he left a lovely cardboard cutout to take his place. Although we've enjoyed our time with cardboard Wes, we can't wait to have real Wes back next week to make Planet X whole again!

Read ahead to see if Planet X's hard work paid off or they crashed and burned in the process...

Jessica

First pitch...check! I thought it turned out amazing.  We have been working on this project for the past three weeks, and it has completely transformed since our practice pitch last week.  I cannot believe we are already halfway through this experience. We have all learned a lot and I have noticed all of us becoming more confident in our work.  I’m really happy with how everything turned out! Bring on project #2.

Wes

Hello,

I am out of the office until Monday, July 30th, at which time I will continue my weekly reflections. For questions regarding specific Wes matters, please direct questions to my following colleagues: Jessica Randall, Megan Estopare, Tony Peck, Paige Shymanski, Caroline Lowery.

Thank you,

Wes

Megan

I have to admit, I am extremely relieved that our first presentation is over. I am exceptionally impressed with the progress we have made since our first practice pitch. We came into this week with still so much to fix and work on. It got pretty hectic towards the end when we were making out final touches, but it was rewarding to hear the positive feedback after our pitch. Even though it was exciting to present our pitch, the highlight of my day was getting donuts! It also happened to be National Intern Day, which was a pleasant surprise. I can't wait to see where our next project takes us!

Tony

We made it through our first pitch! I am both relieved and overjoyed with how it went. Our mentors and many of the HLK staff members were present during our pitch delivery. For me, public speaking creates so much anxiety. I focused a lot on my body posture and the pacing of my vocal delivery. Mid-week I was going over my speaking portions and working myself into a frenzy over what could happen if I made a mistake. My fellow interns stepped in to encourage me and give me positive reinforcement to help me relax and build my confidence. I am so proud of what we were able to create and develop for this campaign. The professionalism displayed by my fellow interns was really something to watch and be a part of. Everyone did a really, really great job. The HLK staff gave us wonderful feedback and seemed really receptive to our ideas. Overall, this experience has been a complete adrenaline rush and very exciting.

Paige

Getting off this rollercoaster of a first project is surreal. I feel relieved that we made it through our first pitch without a hitch. We had practiced so much before but we were still really nervous going into the real pitch. The feedback from the pitch was really positive and helpful. I’m proud of my team’s work for doing such a large project in such a short amount of time successfully. Now to relax and clear our minds for a brand new project on Monday!

Caroline

What a whirlwind! Our first pitch was this morning and it was worlds better than our first practice pitch. The audience was engaged and so were all of us. Going into this project, it being our first project as interns, it was a little nerve wrecking and overwhelming. Despite, the nerves we were able to rise above the challenge and work together as a team to deliver a great pitch. I’m so thrilled with all of the work we did and how the pitch played out.

Now onto the next project!

The Interns: Pilot

On the first episode of The Interns, we see Planet X take on their first challenge: the practice pitch. We see their nerves set in as they present their ideas for the first time. Watch to see Jess and Wes reflect on their experience and thoughts on lunch food.

Next week on The Interns, you can expect to find them presenting their final pitch.

 Post episode update: After hours of contemplation, Jessica made the decision of a lifetime and got pizza for lunch.

Post episode update: After hours of contemplation, Jessica made the decision of a lifetime and got pizza for lunch.

Continue scrolling to read reflections from the rest of the cast regarding the practice pitch and the measures they took to take on this challenge.

Jessica

Going into the pitch, I was really nervous.  I’ve had a lot of experience public speaking, but I still get nervous every time!  I felt like the pitch went way better than I expected. Everyone seemed to be pretty confident on what they were talking about.  The mentors really understood that we were in a time crunch and provided really good insight on how to improve our project. I’m really excited to make revisions so that this project is perfect when we present it to the whole company!

Wes

How did I feel about the pitch? Well, this morning on my commute I plugged in my motivational tracks and arrived ready to roll. I was excited to pitch to the mentors and to hear their feedback since I knew that we had accomplished quality work. Each member’s unique skills got to be championed in the pitch today, even with much room to improve. We need to better bridge the gaps between positions so that we show how creative, strategy, and media flow together. The mentors are the real deal and they provided constructive feedback. They’re kinda like the secret ninjas of the advertising world: agile, united and excellent. We all took some serious notes for ways to improve and to better show the value of our work. I’m excited to help take this team to the ship with the best compadres out there.

Megan

Given the short time frame we were given to put together a practice pitch, I was pleasantly surprised our presentation. My nerves kicked in when everyone started entering the media room to observe our pitch, but I was relieved when it was over. I am so proud of how confident my team was in the information we have been working on the past week. The feedback we received will be crucial as we make the edits for our final presentation. It will be fun to see where the next week takes us as we continue to collaborate on this project.

Tony

Going into the practice pitch I was very nervous. Public speaking is already very stressful for me personally and having to present rough ideas to a room of experienced advertising professionals can be a bit nerve-wracking. I kept thinking that our mentors would begin heckling us at any moment. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and not one tomato was thrown.

Overall, I was pleased with how the practice pitch went. We came away with a lot of really strong advice and critiques from our mentors. They were also very positive in response to what we had so far, so at least we know that we are on the right track.

The feedback that we received was immensely helpful in providing more clarity and context in regard to what is expected as well as giving us things to improve and make stronger.

Paige

I was a little nervous this morning about the practice pitch because there was so much information we had gather about the project and still so much more information we needed to find. However, once the pitch began things seemed flowed pretty well. The feedback we received was very helpful and now we’re ready to roll. I’ve really enjoyed my time with HLK and my fellow interns and can’t wait for the next few weeks!

Caroline

Going into the practice pitch I was a little overwhelmed but very excited to present to our mentors and to get their feedback. Overall, I think the practice pitch went decently well. We received a lot of great feedback and now have a clearer vision moving forward for our final pitch. I’m eager to get working on the pitch again and to use their feedback to improve and strengthen our pitch.

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Introducing The Interns

Planet X is thrilled to announce Season One of The Interns, which will be premiering this summer. This season is anticipated to be full of hard work and friendship. We look forward to sharing our Launchpad journey with our viewers.

Tune in July 19th for more...

  Jessica Randall - Account Manager   Hi! My name is Jessica Randall and I am the account manager for Planet X.  I was born and raised in St. Louis, but I now go to Indiana University-Bloomington majoring in marketing.  My role here is to set the schedule for the group and makes sure our project has everything it needs before presenting it to the client.  In my free time I love shopping, binge watching Friends and New Girl, and traveling. My favorite place I’ve ever been to has been Iceland! I definitely recommend going.  I’m really excited to be learning a lot at HLK this summer!

Jessica Randall - Account Manager

Hi! My name is Jessica Randall and I am the account manager for Planet X.  I was born and raised in St. Louis, but I now go to Indiana University-Bloomington majoring in marketing.  My role here is to set the schedule for the group and makes sure our project has everything it needs before presenting it to the client.  In my free time I love shopping, binge watching Friends and New Girl, and traveling. My favorite place I’ve ever been to has been Iceland! I definitely recommend going.  I’m really excited to be learning a lot at HLK this summer!

  Wes Abeln - Account Strategist   Howdy team! My name is Wes Abeln and I am the strategist for Planet X. I hail from the great city of Saint Louis Missouri and will be a junior at Samford University in Birmingham Alabama this Fall. I am a double major in marketing and management with a concentration in professional sales. I am beyond stoked to be here at HLK and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and do work with some of the best in the industry!  This first week has been a whirlwind and I have learned so much. This place is different in all the best ways. For starters, dogs and coffee are in abundance here, but on a deeper level, everyone is united and humble to reach the end goal.  In my free time I enjoy running, mountain biking and journaling with a good cup of joe close by. I also love to travel.

Wes Abeln - Account Strategist

Howdy team! My name is Wes Abeln and I am the strategist for Planet X. I hail from the great city of Saint Louis Missouri and will be a junior at Samford University in Birmingham Alabama this Fall. I am a double major in marketing and management with a concentration in professional sales. I am beyond stoked to be here at HLK and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and do work with some of the best in the industry!

This first week has been a whirlwind and I have learned so much. This place is different in all the best ways. For starters, dogs and coffee are in abundance here, but on a deeper level, everyone is united and humble to reach the end goal.

In my free time I enjoy running, mountain biking and journaling with a good cup of joe close by. I also love to travel.

  Megan Estopare - Content Manager   Hi everyone! My name is Megan Estopare and I am the content manager for Planet X. This upcoming fall, I will be beginning my senior year at the University of Missouri, where I will graduate in Spring 2019. I've always loved traveling and trying new things (when I can afford it). I also enjoy participating in recreational sports with my friends. Over the summer, I like to attend baseball games and cheer for the Cardinals! This week I have enjoyed getting to know the other interns and their unique personalities. I can't wait to see how our diverse group will collaborate over the next few weeks to work on our upcoming tasks. I am looking forward to meeting more people and seeing all of the office dogs over the duration of my internship.

Megan Estopare - Content Manager

Hi everyone! My name is Megan Estopare and I am the content manager for Planet X. This upcoming fall, I will be beginning my senior year at the University of Missouri, where I will graduate in Spring 2019. I've always loved traveling and trying new things (when I can afford it). I also enjoy participating in recreational sports with my friends. Over the summer, I like to attend baseball games and cheer for the Cardinals! This week I have enjoyed getting to know the other interns and their unique personalities. I can't wait to see how our diverse group will collaborate over the next few weeks to work on our upcoming tasks. I am looking forward to meeting more people and seeing all of the office dogs over the duration of my internship.

  Tony Peck - Copywriter   Hello, my name is Tony Peck and I am the copywriter for Planet X. I grew up in Pleasant Hill, IL. and I am a rising senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I major in advertising and minor in history. As a copywriter, my role is to collaborate with the team on creative concepts and to write meaningful and effective communication that speaks to audiences across different platforms. I am grateful to be a part of the Launchpad internship program and excited to get to work on projects with my fellow interns while learning more about my role and the advertising industry. In my free time, I enjoy following St. Louis Cardinals baseball, playing video games, looking at dog-related internet memes, and binge-watching television shows. The positive energy and wonderful people here at HLK are so inspiring to be around, I am excited every day when I walk through the door.

Tony Peck - Copywriter

Hello, my name is Tony Peck and I am the copywriter for Planet X. I grew up in Pleasant Hill, IL. and I am a rising senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I major in advertising and minor in history. As a copywriter, my role is to collaborate with the team on creative concepts and to write meaningful and effective communication that speaks to audiences across different platforms. I am grateful to be a part of the Launchpad internship program and excited to get to work on projects with my fellow interns while learning more about my role and the advertising industry. In my free time, I enjoy following St. Louis Cardinals baseball, playing video games, looking at dog-related internet memes, and binge-watching television shows. The positive energy and wonderful people here at HLK are so inspiring to be around, I am excited every day when I walk through the door.

  Paige Shymanski - Art Director   Hi! My name is Paige Shymanski and I am the art director for Planet X. I was born and raised here in St. Louis and graduated from Maryville University this past May with a BFA in graphic design. As a newly graduate, I am ready to enter the working world and I fully believe this opportunity with HLK is the best way to jump start my career. I am excited to use my creative skills alongside my talented fellow interns and work in such an inspiring environment. Even outside of my work space, I enjoy being creative in anyway possible, be it drawing and sketching, designing, painting, or writing. If you don’t see me with a cup of coffee in my hand, feel free to bring me one because chances are I need it!

Paige Shymanski - Art Director

Hi! My name is Paige Shymanski and I am the art director for Planet X. I was born and raised here in St. Louis and graduated from Maryville University this past May with a BFA in graphic design. As a newly graduate, I am ready to enter the working world and I fully believe this opportunity with HLK is the best way to jump start my career. I am excited to use my creative skills alongside my talented fellow interns and work in such an inspiring environment. Even outside of my work space, I enjoy being creative in anyway possible, be it drawing and sketching, designing, painting, or writing. If you don’t see me with a cup of coffee in my hand, feel free to bring me one because chances are I need it!

  Caroline Lowery - Media Strategist   Hi my name is Caroline Lowery! I’m from Belleville, Illinois, and I am going to be a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I am studying Advertising and Communications. My role as the Media Strategist includes conducting research on different media platforms in order to develop a media strategy to most effectively reach target audiences and to optimize campaign results. In my free time I enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, and traveling. I am very excited to be interning at HLK this summer, and cannot wait to see what the summer has in store!

Caroline Lowery - Media Strategist

Hi my name is Caroline Lowery! I’m from Belleville, Illinois, and I am going to be a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I am studying Advertising and Communications. My role as the Media Strategist includes conducting research on different media platforms in order to develop a media strategy to most effectively reach target audiences and to optimize campaign results. In my free time I enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, and traveling. I am very excited to be interning at HLK this summer, and cannot wait to see what the summer has in store!

Victory Lap


  Our Final Pitch turned out extremely well! After our early struggles, we were able to buckle down and deliver an awesome pitch full of many innovative ideas. Our mentors were proud as well as the other HLK staff that sat in on the presentation. On behalf of Interngalactic I would like to thank our mentors and everyone at HLK for making these past six weeks successful and enjoyable.


And to my teammates:  The work we put in during these six short weeks was extremely valuable. You all are incredible and we fulfilled the objectives that we were given. I thank you all for this and I look forward to seeing you out there in the world.


Nick: Copywriter

Launchpad was an incredible opportunity to be creative and learn as I'm entering the world of advertising. I had a great time collaborating with our team and getting to know the amazing people at HLK over the past six weeks. Our assignments were exciting, challenging and true to life; not every part of the process was fun or easy, but the most difficult places were where I learned the most.

My advice: don't be afraid to be pushed out of your comfort zone; if you embrace the challenges put in front of you, you'll get the most out of your six weeks. (Also, be nice to Katie and she might make you a cake.

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Elodie: Media Strategist

Although I find it hard to summarize my experience at HLK the past six weeks in a few sentences, I can truly say that it was transformative. Before Launchpad, I imagined my future sitting in an office doing work that I wasn't sure that I would be passionate about, but through this internship, I realized that that does not have to be the case. Launchpad allows you to deal with real clients and real briefs. You are thrown into agency life and are given the opportunity to collaborate with so many people to come up with ideas that can potentially be presented to the client by the agency. 

If I had one piece of advice for the future interns, it would be to communicate well with other interns as well as your mentor. It is so important to keep the lines of communication open because everyone is there to help you be the best you can. This internship is short, but there are so many opportunities for growth. Try your hardest and push yourself to do the best that you can in every aspect of the internship.

Haley: Account Strategist

My experience with Launchpad has been exciting and inspiring.  Being a marketing major, before this internship I had some exposure to advertising, but mainly the marketing research and analysis of ads rather than the creative process.  Personally I feel as though Launchpad is the perfect balance of employing content I have learned in school while gaining new skill sets through hands on experiences.  Launchpad has opened my eyes to this fascinating and compelling industry, assuring me that I have a passion for the work it entails and an admiration for the accomplishments of mentors and employees I had the pleasure of meeting during this experience.  I also loved getting to work with my fellow members of Interngalactic and drew inspiration from their passions and skills throughout our time working together.  The team aspect of Launchpad was so beneficial and motivating that not only did I learn about strategy and the advertising industry overall, I also picked up some tips on how to better my LinkedIn presence from Elodie,  learned a thing or two about design from Julia and was educated on the oxford comma by Nick.  I gained so much from this internship and I will treasure the lessons, experiences and relationships forever!  

A piece of advice I would offer to future Launchpaders is to get to know your mentor.  These individuals are some of the most kind and helpful people ever and I don't know where I would have been without the help of my mentor!  Ask them any questions you have and learn from their wealth of knowledge, they're professionals and will always have advice to offer no matter what questions you have!  

Julia Heumann: Art Director

This experience was more than I expected in many ways. I learned so much about each part of the agency, as well as my own job. Being the art direction intern allowed me to see behind the scenes of the creative process. It taught me so much about myself and pushed me to create more intentionally. I loved getting to cater my skills and all that school has taught me to a real life company. I admire my mentor and all that he taught me these past six weeks. I also admire all of the other mentors for teaching me so much about the agency and their specific roles. I loved how comfortable the office felt almost immediately. I am excited to continue to pursue art direction! This internship taught me that relationships are important, strong teamwork is vital and to always think bigger and bigger.

Bo: Account Manager

My time at HLK was awesome. From the very first day to the very end, it was fun. Some days were more fun than others but that is just life. The intern team was very talented and I am extremely grateful to have been able to work with each one of them. We worked well as a team and challenged each other to do our best which was phenomenal. I am glad to have experienced this internship. It made me grow professionally and personally, gave me opportunities I could have never imagined, and the entire agency was very welcoming and always very helpful. 

If I had to give one piece of advice to an upcoming lauchpader I would say to almost over communicate. If you and your team are not on the same page then things will get frustrating and difficult. Even though sometimes it may seem that you are repeating or stating the obvious, it is much better to be overly clear than to be left in the dark. Communication is key in life and it is important to be abundantly clear in what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish.

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Josh: Content Manager

Working in Launchpad was an incredible experience that surpassed my expectations. Going into my senior year at Mizzou, I am at a very important time in my life as I attempt to settle into my career path. HLK not only taught me countless strategies but also opened my eyes to the advertising industry. The drive for innovation at HLK is very high and that atmosphere is where I thrive the most. The workplace was comfortable and I was able to do my job without worrying about outside factors.  Working with real-life clients was a definite bonus in the program as I got to apply my experience and knowledge to each campaign. Our final pitch turned out very well as we all were satisfied with our efforts. It’s hard to summarize this experience so I just want to highlight how much I was able to grow within the Launchpad program.


My advice to future Launchpaders is to be yourself and be ready to work as a team. Your team needs your skills and your insight so you need to move confidently when you’re in the building. Your ideas are good enough, and you are smart enough, so move confidently and you will succeed. And finally, strive outside of your comfort zone because then you will learn the most.

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Make Or Break


Our On-The-Run assignment included an extra level of complexity. This assignment challenged us to create messaging that speaks to a specific intersecting group of people. These groups of people are unique and very specific in what appeals to them. Appealing to this targeted demographic is much more difficult compared to our previous Build-a-Bear assignment. There were many requirements creatively and strategically our team had to satisfy in this project as we were tested like never before. This week was a week of learning. Every day at HLK our team is learning, however, this past week was different. The On-The-Run assignment demands much more from our team than what we expected. Our team had to remain on the same page if we were going to complete this assignment to the best of our abilities. 

Our ability to stick together proves to be our biggest asset as we move forward completing this project…


Haley: Account Strategist

We felt good on Monday working out our ideas and diving a bit more in depth in preparation for the practice pitch. The deck fell together well, we all agreed on the concepts included and their placement, so the day felt really productive. Tuesday we had the practice pitch, which was a bit of a challenge.  We started to question our ideas before we presented, which caused our confidence to waver a bit, but after talking it out with our mentors we were ready to get back to work. Wednesday looked like refining our ideas and reassessing the structure of our presentation. Lastly, Thursday was researching more support for our ideas. Overall it was a productive week that included a lot of refinement of our ideas and attention to details.

Working through this campaign I think we’ve learned a lot about each of our abilities in our roles.  With the ambiguity in this project, we are all able to dive a little deeper in our individual responsibilities, while also dabbling in other opportunities to make our project better.  I personally have really loved getting to see how much we all have grown overall and in our positions through this campaign.

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Julia: Art Director

Our team works well together, especially while presenting. We really gel. It’s fun to bounce our ideas, research & content off of each other. This practice pitch came more naturally than the first, but I am super thankful we have a lot more time to revise before the final pitch than with our previous brief! On Monday we got our first look at the brief and we were pretty excited to start brainstorming. Tuesday we had to redirect our thinking as our brief was modified. Wednesday everyone recollected and clarified the message of our campaign. Thursday we were finally able to hit the ground running!

This process was very very helpful, and I believe it is going to make our final presentation so great! I’ve learned so much about the creative process, and in general the process of taking on a new campaign.

Elodie: Media Strategist

On Monday our task as a group was just to finish everything up and make sure that we had our presentation ready to go for Tuesday morning. We had a practice presentation before the practice pitch, and we figured out who was going to speak when, and whether we were communicating everything that we wanted to effectively. Tuesday morning was our practice pitch and our group did not enter the room very confidently, which resulted in a less successful practice pitch than the first one. While we received good, constructive criticism, we realized that we needed to change our approach to the brief and our positions as a whole. So after this, for the rest of the week, we cracked down and got to work. On Wednesday, most of us met with our mentors and got some advice. Thursday was much of the same with meetings and working. What we decided would be the most helpful would be to split off and work solo on our own parts so that we could truly own our positions and not focus too much on collaborative efforts in the beginning. At the end of Thursday though, we got back together as a group and checked in, while also deciding what we needed to work on moving forward. Overall it was a good and work-filled week!

Throughout this campaign, we have learned that it is important for us as individuals to do work on our own before we worked as a group. It was so much more effective for each of us to work on our own and truly crack down on our positions and duties. While we definitely need to work as a group to have a good end result, but our work was a lot more meaningful and good when we owned our own positions and did not let other opinions halt progression.

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Josh: Content Manager

On Monday our team felt pretty good heading into our practice pitch. After we received an updated brief we finally found the direction we wanted this campaign to go. We rehearsed our pitch Monday in preparation for Tuesday.  Tuesday arrived and we felt confident in our presentation until about 15 minutes prior to presenting. This was a fabulous teaching moment and is something I will never forget. It was incredible; our entire team was in complete agreement that we weren't proud of what we were about to present. I have never been in a group where everyone felt that way minutes before the actual presentation. Our ideas were not completely detailed as we lacked creative elements for many of them. What I take pride in most is that we all knew what we were capable of as a team. We obviously couldn’t scrap our plan minutes before we presented, but we all agreed once we got back to the conference room it was time to start brainstorming. Wednesday our team struggled to find a creative direction and experienced our first “challenging” day as a group. This project is complex and was brought to us with existing struggles. With extreme persistence, we finally found a worthy creative direction on Thursday! With everyone on the same page, we began to move forward through this assignment.  Don’t tell my group members but I’m glad we struggled. Our ideas and creative direction flowed so effortlessly on the first project that it almost seemed too easy. Going through adversity with our On-The-Run campaign tested how talented we are and equally tested our ability to work as a team. Observing the way we felt about everything Wednesday compared to how we feel now, I’m confident in saying that there isn’t an assignment that our team can’t handle.

Nick: Copywriter

Initially, I was excited because we had finally found our big idea and tagline, and were starting to move forward with some understanding of the task at hand for the first time. However, I was also frustrated because we were struggling to break further ground creatively. On Tuesday I felt discouraged heading into our practice pitch with only half-baked ideas and no creative executions what so ever. Once we pitched our mentors reassured us we were heading in a solid direction and guided us to keep pushing forward.  On Wednesday it really began to feel like we were going in circles creatively, Julia and I really struggled to find the perfect visual style for this campaign. Our assignment and target market are very tricky and we ran into the same holdups we'd had conceptually as we moved deeper into creative. We tried a ton of different things and received some much-needed guidance from Caroline and Troy throughout the day, but in the end, it felt like we were no further than when we came in that morning. On Thursday we finally reached a break through! Julia finally hit her creative stride and found the solution to an incredibly difficult problem. Hitting on all cylinders, we pushed forward and executed some killer ads. I've learned more in the past few days than I had in the first few weeks of my internship. Running into so many roadblocks on the way to solving an incredibly difficult, yet entirely realistic problem has taught me so much about this industry as a whole and my role within it. I've learned clients often don't know what they want and can present you with mandatory tactics in total contrast with their own described goals. I've also learned complaining will get you nowhere, and the only solution is to roll up your sleeves and flex your creative muscles. Often, the most creatively strenuous campaigns aren't the awe-inspiring, award-winning passion pieces, but the seemingly mundane solutions to deeply complicated and confusing problems.

Bo: Account Manager

This week was filled with a lot of learning. After struggling initially last week with the project we finally had something we could present on. However, when we went to do our internal review with our mentors we as a team were not the most thrilled with what we had. We knew we could do better but we didn't necessarily know how to move forward with it. However, after the pitch, we all consulted our mentors looking for direction. As a team we needed to take a step back and think through the big idea of our project. We have taken these last few days to do that and we are now on a good path, and honestly excited to go forward with the project.

I would say the biggest learning experience has been to take a step back. We were so focused on getting something on paper that we were caught up in the small details instead of creating something big and cool and working through the details that way.

 

Playmakers


Our team felt invincible following our first pitch. The performance we put on surprised our mentors but not each other. We all knew how hard we worked to make that first pitch what it was. We felt as if we knew what it took to succeed; what we didn't know was how complex our next assignment would be...

After a few days of studying our next client assignment we became playmakers. 


Elodie: Media Strategist

Upon first glance, I thought that this brief would be a little more challenging, but at the same time would allow more possibilities to be creative and utilize paid media. The On the Run brief is different than the Build-a-Bear brief because there is a lot less structure. This is nice because we are allowed to be more creative and essentially define the campaign, rather than being confined to something that was already set up within the brand. While Build-a-Bear gave us more direction and stricter guidelines to follow allowing for an easier process, this brief is really testing our abilities to think outside of the box and provide the client with creative solutions on a broader spectrum. Visiting the On the Run store allowed our team to truly visualize what the displays and advertising in store looked like. It also sparked a lot of creativity and gave us wonderful ideas for our pitch. TIn order to surpass our last effort with Build a Bear, our team needs to take into account the challenges of this brief and make sure that we are providing a solution for everything in a concise and well-rounded way.

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Bo: Account Manger

When we first got the brief I felt really good about it. I thought it was decently straightforward, it gave us a lot more freedom compared to the Build-A-Bear campaign, but it seemed straightforward. However when we really got into trying to work the brief out and understand the direction we were going with it, we realized this was more complicated than originally thought. This campaign is different because there is a lot more freedom to it. The Build-A-Bear project was very laid out and they knew exactly what they wanted. The On The Run project has less direction to it. This has been a little more difficult but it has been really cool because I think it allows us to really show off our individual talents and bring some cool concepts to life. Actually going to On The Run was a little disappointing from a creative perspective. We walked into On The Run thinking that some sort of inspiration would hit us but really we walked away from it feeling less than inspired. However, I think that was a good thing because it got us to think differently about the challenge we were trying to tackle.

Even with the setbacks, the key to this is understanding what our client wants and delivering that to them. We did well with Build-A-Bear because we were able to deliver what they wanted and we thought outside the box. As long as we can continue to do that and learn from mistakes and setbacks in Build-A-Bear we will be able to deliver something really cool.

Haley: Account Strategist

Upon first glance I felt excited looking at the brief; all of the ambiguity left up to our team was an exhilarating concept and I couldn't wait to see how we responded to this challenge.  I liked the idea of creating our own campaign and felt ready to hit the ground running. That being said, this campaign is different than the last because with more ambiguity, there's more opportunities for creativity for our team, but also the new challenge of considering more elements than before.  So brainstorming for this campaign has looked a lot different, as will the finished product, but it's cool to get to create a campaign that completely reflects the research we conducted and the tactics we believe will be effective for the audience.  

In order to understand our audience and the store better, I think going to On The Run helped put our assignment into perspective.  When we discussed what we thought this campaign looked like inside of On The Run before we actually went to one, we realized we were somewhat off base seeing as how the interior wasn't what we had imagined.  After going, we were able to draw inspiration from the layout and opportunities for advertising both inside and outside the store. These insights that we gained from this trip to On The Run will help us to surpass our presentation with Build-A-Bear.  To do that, we will present more outside the box thinking like we did with Build-A-Bear.  To show growth since our previous presentation, we will have to show more research we conducted and also suggest new concepts that provide key insights on the target audience and how to appeal more to their needs.   

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Julia: Art Director

Because of my previous internship with a sporting team, I was excited about the partnership with the Blues, but was slightly intimidated. I wasn’t sure how I would be able to be creative with On The Run. This campaign was different regarding the creative direction by a landslide. The general direction I am going to take on this one is so much more uniform than our previous campaign. Honestly, it was very helpful yet slightly discouraging. There isn’t much inspiration going on in On The Run. BUT it was super helpful as far as strategic direction, and seeing where / what we could start working with!

Josh: Content Manager

I was excited upon initially viewing our second brief. I’m very familiar with the Blues and thought it would be interesting to incorporate sports into our next campaign. I am also a frequent visitor of On The Run so I was lucky enough to be familiar with the Brands involved in this campaign. The difference in the On the Run campaign from the Build-a-Bear campaign as far as content goes is pretty substantial. One campaign relies heavily on the use of social media; the other relies heavily on physical promotion and activating one's impulse. Our team took a visit to On the Run pretty early in our process of formulating a campaign. Some of us were more familiar with On The Run than others so I think the trip was pretty useful. We visited On The Run before we had an idea of where we wanted to go with the campaign causing us to look around the facility more than to strategize. In order to surpass our last effort with Build-a-Bear, our team will have to rely more on research. Build-a-Bear was a project that thrived on creativity. On the Run will be creatively centered as well, but with their specific audience and with the unique type of company they are, every decision made will be from a statistical standpoint based on data.

Nick: Copywriter

I was excited to be working with two iconic local brands. I was nervous about the lack of ideas coming to me immediately. I was confused by the disconnect of hockey with our target of millennial women. It's a far more open ended assignment than what we had with Build-A-Bear, which makes it both more exciting and more difficult. As a creative, I am thrilled we were given the task of creating our own "Big Idea" for this campaign; however, it took us nearly four days to come up with one we all believed in. The added layer of connecting the Blues, food and millennial women makes this a complicated problem in need of a brilliantly creative solution. I think our visit was a bit premature. We went prior to having a solid direction for our campaign and became more frustrated when the store didn't give us the inspiration we were looking for. Ultimately, it made us come back and push harder creatively to get where we needed to be.This brand has a much more complicated problem than what we faced with Build-A-Bear. Thus, we need to find a much more creative solution. Right now we're on the right track, and if we keep pushing I believe we can get On The Run where they need to be.

Bad News Bears


Here we are, gametime. Let's see what our team had to say about the first pitch....


Bo: Account Manager

I think the pitch went great. I was impressed with how well everyone handled themselves, the preparation that was taken and the professionalism that was displayed. I think we effectively communicated the things we wanted to and honestly were able to present some really cool ideas. Everyone did their part and they did it well. It was also great to know that we had listened to the client and they wanted to use a lot of our ideas. When they asked for our deck at the end of the presentation I knew we had done our job and done it well!

The team had to put in a lot of work to succeed on our pitch. The week leading up to the pitch was a lot of long hours, a lot of people putting in their content, challenging ideas, really pushing everyone to think beyond just the initial concept of the pitch. The team did phenomenal when people were asked to stay later to work on something they did. No one sat there only working on their job description, everyone worked to make sure the pitch was 100% ready, and what we wanted it to be. 

I personally spent a lot of time understanding what everyone's role in the presentation was going to be, understanding the ideas that were brought forth, and seeing how they all fit into the story we were trying to tell with this pitch. I also spent a lot of time making sure the deck and what we were saying was what we wanted to communicate to the client. The night before I ran through the pitch probably more times than I could count, and wrote speaker notes so I wasn't trying to remember everything in my head and getting jumbled up in the presentation because I was afraid I forgot to hit on a key point.
I would say these few things can be universally applied no matter what pitch you are presenting:

  • Know your stuff and be confident that you know it
  • Tell the story of your project. Show how it lives and breathes as an entity. Show off the heart and meaning of your project.
  • Listen to the client and make sure you are delivering to them what they want. 
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Make sure your team and you are all on the same page.
  • Have fun. These are your ideas that you think can really make a difference and help your client out. If you don't think they are fun and cool, the client won't think so either
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Elodie: Media Strategist

I believe that the first pitch went really well! We received extremely positive feedback as well as some great tips for the future. In order to become pitch-ready, our team practiced A LOT. We were all making sure we mastered our parts, as well as making sure that we could deliver it in a smooth way all together. We worked hard to get rid of any mistakes, and focused on how our ideas were being translated to our audience. Personally, I had to practice on my own and master my part as well as the rest of the parts of the presentation. I think the key to giving a great pitch or presentation is feeling confident in what you are delivering to your audience. If you know your stuff, then the presentation will go smoothly. 

I think that a thing to remember in order to deliver a successful pitch would be to be confident. While I was really nervous to give the presentation to anyone in the agency that wanted to come, I was confident in my research, and I was confident in our ideas as a whole, so I was mostly excited to finally get to present on them. 

Haley: Account Strategist

I think the pitch for our first project went really well.  We practiced a lot and put substantial thought into our tactics, so when we were presented with questions at the end we had answers prepared for most everything that was asked.  I feel like the whole process of developing the campaign helped us to be pitch ready.  Every conversation we had discussing tactics to their completion and brainstorming images to represent the ideas all served the purpose of preparing us for the final pitch.  Additionally, I think when we sat down and discussed the slide deck and then practiced the completed pitch before the presentation in front of the whole agency, it helped us a lot to know what everyone was responsible for speaking about and what the flow of the pitch looked like.  Personally, to feel pitch-ready I sat down and wrote out what I wanted to say on each slide I was speaking on.  Then, I practiced presenting this information by speaking through these ideas with their corresponding slide by myself until I could look at the content of the slide and automatically recall the key points I wanted to communicate.

To give a successful pitch, make sure to think through all of the ideas to the point where you have a strong understanding and can answer questions on the subject comfortably.  Additionally, discuss who is responsible for presenting what content ahead of time to make sure there's no awkward pauses or confusion during the presentation.  Lastly, practice until you're comfortable with the flow of the presentation with your teammates and ask them to listen for any crutch words you use or distracting mannerisms

Nick: Copywriter

I'm really happy with our work and how well we presented it. I couldn't be more proud of what we achieved on the merry mission campaign. We did a good deal of practicing in the days leading up to the pitch, but the most important preparation came throughout the entire process. We worked really hard every day to understand the essence of our campaign why we were executing it the way we did.

To personally prepare for the pitch I woke up early, ate a good breakfast and came in like it was any other day. I really try not to psych myself out in these situations so I can feel as natural as possible while presenting. When delivering a successful pitch stay calm and believe in what you are pitching.

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Josh Richter: Content Manager

I’m extremely happy with how our pitch turned out! My teammates delivered their parts extremely well and I feel like everyone fully explained their point to the client.  Our transitions were smooth and we all were able to fill in any information that may have been skipped over. I think we attacked each objective precisely and ended up having a great first pitch.

Our team did a good job preparing ahead of time for the pitch as everyone knew the ins and outs of what they were presenting. We spent days running through the presentation before presenting in front of the client. Personally, to get ready for the pitch, I made sure I knew my material and any information that surrounded the topics I would be discussing. I woke up early, made myself a big breakfast, and rehearsed thoroughly before I walked out of the door.  When I got to HLK I took a deep breath and remembered to relax. I knew the information, I knew my teammates would help me if I started to fall; I knew that everything was going to be fine. Keeping things relaxed and simply having a conversation with the client was the perfect mindset to have in order to succeed.

An important point to remember when delivering a pitch is that everyone in the entire room wants you to win. No one is rooting against you so relax, get in there, and do what you came to do!

Julia: Art Director

The pitch went well in my eyes because of a few key things. We have chemistry and work well together, we are all on the same team. Everyone was so encouraging leading up to the pitch, it really helped ease the nerves. We had great concepts & content, so I really think we rocked it. The practice pitch helped redirect us a ton to better our final pitch. In order to get pitch ready, we practiced the day before multiple times. That was incredibly helpful.  I THOUGHT I was going to make a good breakfast and get to work early the morning of, but things don’t always go as planned. But I did meet with my mentor leading up to the pitch, his insight was very pivotal. Tips to remember to give a successful pitch: You are all on the same team! No one is rooting against you. What you have created is your work, so be proud! Own whatever is on that screen and speak confidently about it. 

One Down 5 To Go..


From the moment we sat down in our "Briefing" we all knew that playtime was over. It was time for everyone to show their stuff and work together to complete our mission. We had our assignment, we had our client and we had no time to waste! After taking a few hours of brainstorming and acclimating ourselves to our clients' needs, we began conquering our challenge ahead. 


Julia: Art Director

The biggest challenge for our team was thinking too specifically, we had to expand our ideas into larger concepts rather than small intricate details. My artistry and creative vision were challenged on this first project. Since our project is primarily based on social media, there are endless social media mockups and advertisements that need to be created and conceptualized. The general mood for the campaign was a huge part of my role. As Art Director it is my job to really push the creative direction, and make sure that is communicated with the rest of the team.

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Haley: Account Strategist

I felt that our biggest obstacle in regards to our first assignment consisted of the timing before our practice pitch.  We had two days to pull together a social media campaign and we pulled it off, we just needed to delve a lot deeper into details about what each of our ideas looked like.  Although we only had two days before our practice pitch, I think we did a good job of describing the key points we wanted to implement and it was really cool to get to work with a quick deadline that happens frequently in the industry.  I think by having a short deadline placed upon us, it made us work harder and allowed us all to sharpen our communication and teamwork skills.  

For my position, I feel as though I bring a lot of organizational, analytical and communication skills to this project.  For our first campaign, I worked a lot on researching the demographics and providing insights and reasoning on why our tactics would be effective.  I also worked a lot on effectively communicating our campaign to the client by making sure concepts were clearly explained and ideas were well developed.  Then Bo, the account manager, and I were in charge of organizing the slide deck in a way that showcased the campaign well and made the concept into a story that intrigued the client.

Initially I was not aware that my role consisted of organizing the slide deck with the account manager, but once I learned of this responsibility I happily accepted the challenge.  I was warned that this process is more difficult than it seems, and it certainly was, but it is also really rewarding to be responsible for showcasing the work of my teammates.  I love puzzles, and making the slide deck tell a story felt like making all of the pieces fit together until you have a beautiful picture in front of you.

My role is necessary for making sure that all of our tactics fulfill the marketing objectives that the client is looking for the campaign to deliver on.  My role is also necessary for making sure that a lot of our ideas within the campaign are well developed and explained.  Lastly, as I mentioned, I work to research the reasoning behind our tactics and ensure that they align with our target audiences.

Nick: Copywriter

The most challenging aspect of our first project was compiling our wide range of ideas into a single, cohesive campaign. I played an intricate role shaping our creative direction in our earliest brainstorming stages and have been able to follow through and execute these ideas as we've gone further downhill with this project. This campaign, and HLK's work as a whole, is far more social media focused than anything I have worked on before. It's been enlightening learning the nuances of writing for these various platforms. As Copywriter I'm the wordsmith: I give the proper voice to every piece of communication between the client and their audience in this campaign.

Josh: Content Manager

Regarding the first project, I think our biggest challenge was coming up with an umbrella of overarching ideas to organize our sub ideas. All of us had very specific tactics we wanted to explore in this campaign. Finding themes or categories to structure those tactics was originally difficult. Once we learned how to efficiently organize and convey our ideas, creativity began to flow and we ended up with an awesome first pitch. I felt I brought a great deal of insight to my position on this project. Understanding our clients' target audience and the explanation behind their habits helped me come up with relatable content ideas and impactful ways to execute them.  I helped contribute many innovative ideas to each area of our campaign. As a daily user of social media and a strict observer of its' trends, I was able to use my personal insight along with data when creating and strategically placing relevant and useful content throughout the campaign. Originally I was caught off guard by how social media heavy this campaign was. I am aware of how important social media has become in the advertising world but the extent to which it was used in this campaign surprised me a bit. I also was previously unaware of how useful analytical data can be to ensure the messages my team and I create reach the people they need to reach.  There are many inferences and conclusions that can be drawn from statistics that the analytics and research teams hold. There are virtually no boundaries that data can't reach. Content Manager is undeniably necessary as it is their job to create and organize the methods in which our content will be displayed. 

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Bo: Account Manager

Probably the biggest obstacle was trying to go from big picture to smaller picture. We would have all these great ideas but we would get caught up in a lot of the smaller details instead of figuring out what the full vision of the idea would be. Luckily as we have started to work through this project more we have been able to really develop our ideas and make them into a really cool project.

I worked at SCL Health before I came to HLK, so I was able to observe the client side of the agency-client relationship. This helps me to understand what the client is looking to get. Every client is different but there is also a lot of similarities between the overarching needs of the client and being able to communicate to those needs is highly important. 

As our project progressed I understood how important it is to almost over-communicate things. As the Account Manager I have to manage the team and make sure all of us are on the same page so we can effectively do our jobs. It is almost necessary to over-communicate because then you are making sure you have everyone working towards the same goal.

My role helps make sure things are done on time and done to the client's satisfaction. My role is also to communicate what the client wants to do to the rest of the team so that way we are all on the same page. It is a lot of deadlines and making sure things happen when they are supposed to happen. It is not always the most creative job, but it is a lot of fun.

Elodie: Media Strategist

I think that our team's biggest obstacle for the first assignment was just getting into the swing of things. At the beginning, we were trying to get used to our positions, while also trying to understand how to effectively portray our ideas to the client. After getting feedback from the first practice pitch though, we really got the ball rolling and were able to work together to deliver a final pitch that we were really proud of. This project from a media strategy standpoint was relatively challenging. While I was able to do research and present on best practices for posting organically on social media platforms, I struggled to figure out how to suggest paid tactics to a client that is averse to spending money on advertising. But after many meetings with my mentor and other individuals in the office, I was able to present some budget-friendly options to help support their organic posts. I believe that I was able to bring a lot to this position on this particular project. I was able to not only work hard to find solutions and not get defeated, but I also was able to aid others in segments that were more prominent.

Overall, there are a lot of aspects that go into media strategy. Going into the internship I was not extremely knowledgable about what a media strategy truly did, so I sat down and watched a bunch of webinars and had very frequent meetings with my mentor in order to try to wrap my mind around what goes into the position. One example that I learned after sitting down and having a conversation with the head of the department, is that when it comes to this position, it is important to face it not from a outside perspective, but to truly delve into the mindset of the audience you are trying to reach and try to understand what types of media and advertisements would appeal to them and successfully reach them. This was a transformative idea, because I was focusing purely on research and numbers, rather than looking at it from the perspective of the individual I was trying to reach. The role of the media strategist is necessary because it is important to understand what the relevant platforms are to connect with existing and new customers. Rather than wasting time and energy to create advertisements that just add to the noise of the internet, it is important to develop a strategy that can help build engagement and  target the audience that the client wants to reach most.

This is a Story All About How..

To start the story off correctly we must revisit the sunny early morning in May that brought us all together.

Fresh faced, stress free, with a deer in headlights mentality, we had no clue of what was going on.

Walking into HLK the first day we were all intimidated. Not by the atmosphere or vibe of the firm (which totally contradicted our fears) but because we realized this place we're in, if only for six weeks, may be one of the most important and cutting-edge firms we will enter in our professional careers.


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On the first day our first task was to come up with a nickname for our super team of interns. We settled on Interngalactic pretty quickly marking the early signs of our seamless level of collaboration. Our team views this photo as the "Baby Picture" of our entire advertising careers. 


  Hi my name is Haley Rost and I am the Account Strategist for Interngalactic! I am from St. Louis, MO, and I’m a Business Marketing major going into my senior year at Mizzou. My role in Launchpad as the account strategist, means that I am responsible for researching   our clients and their target audiences, determining the purpose and overarching goals of the campaigns we create, as well as calculating metrics to decide what success looks like at the conclusion of the campaign. Additionally, I make sure that all of our tactics in our projects fulfill the marketing objectives of the brands we are working with and that the information is presented in the most effective and eloquent way possible to the client.   My first day at HLK began with meeting the other interns in the lobby and all bonding over how overdressed we felt and excited that we were finally here. I was immediately blown away by the office and was thrilled that I would get to work here for the next couple weeks with all of the cool people I had met. I am really excited to work closely with Interngalactic to create digital marketing solutions for real world clients and to get to know mentors and people around the office better.  Everyone is so cool, welcoming and eager to help with any questions we may have on our projects!     I was nervous initially about navigating the space and learning my responsibilities in my role, but after printing out the seating charts and meeting with my mentor, both of these concerns were put at ease.  My mentor has been such an amazing source of inspiration, so encouraging and I love getting to hear her professional opinion on our campaign ideas. In my spare time outside of the office I like to read, swim, journal, listen to music and spend time with friends

Hi my name is Haley Rost and I am the Account Strategist for Interngalactic! I am from St. Louis, MO, and I’m a Business Marketing major going into my senior year at Mizzou. My role in Launchpad as the account strategist, means that I am responsible for researching   our clients and their target audiences, determining the purpose and overarching goals of the campaigns we create, as well as calculating metrics to decide what success looks like at the conclusion of the campaign. Additionally, I make sure that all of our tactics in our projects fulfill the marketing objectives of the brands we are working with and that the information is presented in the most effective and eloquent way possible to the client.   My first day at HLK began with meeting the other interns in the lobby and all bonding over how overdressed we felt and excited that we were finally here. I was immediately blown away by the office and was thrilled that I would get to work here for the next couple weeks with all of the cool people I had met. I am really excited to work closely with Interngalactic to create digital marketing solutions for real world clients and to get to know mentors and people around the office better.  Everyone is so cool, welcoming and eager to help with any questions we may have on our projects!

I was nervous initially about navigating the space and learning my responsibilities in my role, but after printing out the seating charts and meeting with my mentor, both of these concerns were put at ease.  My mentor has been such an amazing source of inspiration, so encouraging and I love getting to hear her professional opinion on our campaign ideas. In my spare time outside of the office I like to read, swim, journal, listen to music and spend time with friends

  Hey my name is Nick Hulsey I am the Copywriter for Interngalactic! I am from St. Louis Missouri and I just recently graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Journalism. My role as Launchpad Copy writer is to give brands a unique, attention-grabbing voice that can be conveyed over multiple media platforms. My first day at HLK was very interesting. My team and I were on the fourth floor all day getting acquainted with one other and our mentors. We also filled out paperwork, went over a few position descriptions, and ate M&Ms at 9 in the morning! After completing my first week I am very excited to learn more about the company and start getting to work on our first project pitch! When I’m not in the office I enjoy listening and reading about new music. I also frequently blow out my car speakers when I’m jamming to Kanye West.

Hey my name is Nick Hulsey I am the Copywriter for Interngalactic! I am from St. Louis Missouri and I just recently graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Journalism. My role as Launchpad Copy writer is to give brands a unique, attention-grabbing voice that can be conveyed over multiple media platforms. My first day at HLK was very interesting. My team and I were on the fourth floor all day getting acquainted with one other and our mentors. We also filled out paperwork, went over a few position descriptions, and ate M&Ms at 9 in the morning! After completing my first week I am very excited to learn more about the company and start getting to work on our first project pitch! When I’m not in the office I enjoy listening and reading about new music. I also frequently blow out my car speakers when I’m jamming to Kanye West.

  My name is Elodie Hromockyj. I’m from St. Louis Missouri, and I just graduated from Truman State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Business Administration. My role in Launchpad as the Media Strategist includes conducting research on which media platforms can help most effectively and successfully reach target audiences, and how to leverage them. It is a wonderful role because it allows me to delve into the mindset of the target audience, as well as find and evaluate data on how each platform is used in their daily lives and how clients can, in turn, more effectively place advertising content to capture their attention and improve overall conversion rate. Alongside these main tasks, I am able to contribute to the creative aspect of the projects because we work as a team to come up with main campaign ideas. My first day was pretty nerve-racking. Luckily, I walked in with my fellow intern Bo, but as a typical first day goes, we were not sure how to get around. Confused, we tried every single door before coming to the front and finally getting buzzed in. While this may not have been the best way to start off the day, the environment in the office was enough to make us extremely excited the second we walked in. Our group hit it off very quickly, especially because we all showed up pretty overdressed, and everyone made us feel welcome. After my first week, I was extremely excited to get to know my mentor and my fellow interns even better. I was excited to learn more about my position and what it entailed and really get into the meat and potatoes of the first project. In my spare time I like to cuddle my cat, binge watch YouTube makeup tutorials, and workout. I also enjoy cooking and spending time with my family and friends. I am interested in fashion, beauty, and makeup. I will admit that I have a little bit of a shopping problem... I also am a huge animal lover, and the other interns can attest to my obsession with the office dogs. I even considered adopting a dog just so that I could bring it to work everyday.

My name is Elodie Hromockyj. I’m from St. Louis Missouri, and I just graduated from Truman State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Business Administration. My role in Launchpad as the Media Strategist includes conducting research on which media platforms can help most effectively and successfully reach target audiences, and how to leverage them. It is a wonderful role because it allows me to delve into the mindset of the target audience, as well as find and evaluate data on how each platform is used in their daily lives and how clients can, in turn, more effectively place advertising content to capture their attention and improve overall conversion rate. Alongside these main tasks, I am able to contribute to the creative aspect of the projects because we work as a team to come up with main campaign ideas. My first day was pretty nerve-racking. Luckily, I walked in with my fellow intern Bo, but as a typical first day goes, we were not sure how to get around. Confused, we tried every single door before coming to the front and finally getting buzzed in. While this may not have been the best way to start off the day, the environment in the office was enough to make us extremely excited the second we walked in. Our group hit it off very quickly, especially because we all showed up pretty overdressed, and everyone made us feel welcome. After my first week, I was extremely excited to get to know my mentor and my fellow interns even better. I was excited to learn more about my position and what it entailed and really get into the meat and potatoes of the first project. In my spare time I like to cuddle my cat, binge watch YouTube makeup tutorials, and workout. I also enjoy cooking and spending time with my family and friends. I am interested in fashion, beauty, and makeup. I will admit that I have a little bit of a shopping problem... I also am a huge animal lover, and the other interns can attest to my obsession with the office dogs. I even considered adopting a dog just so that I could bring it to work everyday.

  Hi my name is Julia Heumann! I’m from St. Louis Missouri, and I am studying Graphic Design at the University of Missouri. My role as the Art director grants me responsibility for the creative direction behind the campaign.  I am not only creating, I am also leading and communicating that creative vision. It's a pretty awesome gig! My first day at HLK was pretty interesting. Because of the multiple entries, I was confused from the start. Which door do I go in? Am I going to walk into a meeting? How do I know where to go? And then I saw a fellow peer who looked just as confused, and we walked in together. Once we got inside it was smooth sailing. Everyone was super friendly, and the environment was so great. I mean, it's the coolest office space I’ve ever stepped foot in. All of us interns clicked immediately, and we got to feast with our mentors. I’m terrible with names, so it took me a few days to grasp who everyone actually was. When we got to the intern office, things got real. I was so excited to start this journey with these people. After completing the first week I was so excited to start brainstorming with the other interns. After meeting them and picking up on their personalities, I knew we would have some cool times of collaboration. I was excited to grow alongside them! I was nervous with impressing my mentor, but our relationship quickly grew and he was / is super encouraging and a great teacher. After work I usually meet my mom for yoga, and an occasional happy hour. I’ve recently picked up a great book that I try to read any second I get a break. I love creating pretty much anything. But currently I am planning my wedding in August so that pretty much takes up all my time. I am creating a lot of the decor and paper goods for the big day, so I guess you could say wedding planning has become quite the hobby.

Hi my name is Julia Heumann! I’m from St. Louis Missouri, and I am studying Graphic Design at the University of Missouri. My role as the Art director grants me responsibility for the creative direction behind the campaign.  I am not only creating, I am also leading and communicating that creative vision. It's a pretty awesome gig! My first day at HLK was pretty interesting. Because of the multiple entries, I was confused from the start. Which door do I go in? Am I going to walk into a meeting? How do I know where to go? And then I saw a fellow peer who looked just as confused, and we walked in together. Once we got inside it was smooth sailing. Everyone was super friendly, and the environment was so great. I mean, it's the coolest office space I’ve ever stepped foot in. All of us interns clicked immediately, and we got to feast with our mentors. I’m terrible with names, so it took me a few days to grasp who everyone actually was. When we got to the intern office, things got real. I was so excited to start this journey with these people. After completing the first week I was so excited to start brainstorming with the other interns. After meeting them and picking up on their personalities, I knew we would have some cool times of collaboration. I was excited to grow alongside them! I was nervous with impressing my mentor, but our relationship quickly grew and he was / is super encouraging and a great teacher. After work I usually meet my mom for yoga, and an occasional happy hour. I’ve recently picked up a great book that I try to read any second I get a break. I love creating pretty much anything. But currently I am planning my wedding in August so that pretty much takes up all my time. I am creating a lot of the decor and paper goods for the big day, so I guess you could say wedding planning has become quite the hobby.

  Hey my name is Bo Mello and I’m from Grand Junction Colorado. I’m going into my senior year studying Marketing with a minor in Public Relations at Baylor University. I am the Launchpad Account Manager.The Account Manager is a lot like the parent on the project. They are the one who makes sure deadlines are met, the deck is put together correctly, makes sure what is being presented is what the client wants and needs, and just generally works to make sure everyone is working together in a good environment.  My situation is a little different than the rest of my team because I am the only one not from St. Louis. Not only was this a brand new company but I am also in a brand new city. Those factors coupled together definitely made for some nerves, but overall I was excited to take this new opportunity on. When I first walked into HLK I was nervous but the laid back atmosphere definitely put me at ease. My team is awesome and it has definitely been a great time really getting into the project.  I enjoy rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, and really spending time outside. I also really enjoy exploring St. Louis! Going to baseball games, trying new places to eat, and just acclimating myself with this city has been unbelievable.    

Hey my name is Bo Mello and I’m from Grand Junction Colorado. I’m going into my senior year studying Marketing with a minor in Public Relations at Baylor University. I am the Launchpad Account Manager.The Account Manager is a lot like the parent on the project. They are the one who makes sure deadlines are met, the deck is put together correctly, makes sure what is being presented is what the client wants and needs, and just generally works to make sure everyone is working together in a good environment.  My situation is a little different than the rest of my team because I am the only one not from St. Louis. Not only was this a brand new company but I am also in a brand new city. Those factors coupled together definitely made for some nerves, but overall I was excited to take this new opportunity on. When I first walked into HLK I was nervous but the laid back atmosphere definitely put me at ease. My team is awesome and it has definitely been a great time really getting into the project.I enjoy rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, and really spending time outside. I also really enjoy exploring St. Louis! Going to baseball games, trying new places to eat, and just acclimating myself with this city has been unbelievable.

 

  Hi, I’m Josh Richter and I’m from St. Louis Missouri. I’m going into my senior year at Mizzou and I'm studying   C  ommunication  s   with   an emphasis on Mass Media and   a minor in   S  ociology. I   am   the Content Manager for Interngalactic. As Content Manager, my role is to create strategic, data-driven, and thought-provoking content for various digital mediums. I also work on conceptualizing social media campaigns and coordinate post  s   for those campaigns through a Content Calendar.    My first day at HLK was   very   interesting and I was able to bond with my teammates quickly. The dress code (or lack thereof) surprised me as it did the rest of my team.    Although   this  was not the most surprising aspect of the day. I was taken back by how much HLK thrives   on   personality and authenticity when working on projects. The stereotypical stiff nature of a corporation was nowhere to be found as the slogan Be Curious, Be Thoughtful, Be Brave, is illustrated throughout the entire office.  Everyone I met the first day was very friendly and welcoming which made things easier. I’m very excited to work with my teammates these next six weeks.  I’m interested to see what we come up with; I’m fortunate to be paired with a bunch of creative, confident, and knowledgeable teammates. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, watching movies, going to sports games, and listening to music.

Hi, I’m Josh Richter and I’m from St. Louis Missouri. I’m going into my senior year at Mizzou and I'm studying Communications with an emphasis on Mass Media and a minor in Sociology. I am the Content Manager for Interngalactic. As Content Manager, my role is to create strategic, data-driven, and thought-provoking content for various digital mediums. I also work on conceptualizing social media campaigns and coordinate posts for those campaigns through a Content Calendar.

My first day at HLK was very interesting and I was able to bond with my teammates quickly. The dress code (or lack thereof) surprised me as it did the rest of my team.  Although this  was not the most surprising aspect of the day. I was taken back by how much HLK thrives on personality and authenticity when working on projects. The stereotypical stiff nature of a corporation was nowhere to be found as the slogan Be Curious, Be Thoughtful, Be Brave, is illustrated throughout the entire office.  Everyone I met the first day was very friendly and welcoming which made things easier. I’m very excited to work with my teammates these next six weeks.  I’m interested to see what we come up with; I’m fortunate to be paired with a bunch of creative, confident, and knowledgeable teammates. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, watching movies, going to sports games, and listening to music.

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

August 15, 2017

Please enjoy this final InternStellar Production:

When you’re a kid, you grow up hearing adults say, “Time sure does fly!” As a kid, I did not understand this. “What do you mean time flies?” It felt like an eternity in between each Christmas and each birthday. I did grasp the fact that time did pass more quickly when you were having fun. Spending 30 minutes on homework felt eternal, whereas playing with a friend for 30 minutes came and went in a blink of an eye. However, I could not have been more wrong. Time does fly by as you get older, which left me wondering: if the feeling of “time flying by” comes naturally with age, what does that mean when we’re old AND having fun? Will we blink and all of the sudden be 65 and telling our grandkids, “Life is too short”?

The reason I am bringing up this philosophical topic is because we have just wrapped up our fifth week and are in the middle of our last week here at HLK. Meredith was right when she said, “These six weeks will fly by!” It is a bittersweet moment because we, as a team, have become very close. We look forward to coming to work every day because who doesn’t want to spend all day with their friends working on a campaign? We have learned a lot over the last five weeks and we are here to tell you about our time at HLK and give advice to future Launchpad interns.

I asked my team to answer the following questions:

  1. What was your favorite part about the internship? AND What is your favorite part about HLK?

  2. What were some fascinating thing(s) you learned at HLK? AND/OR What has HLK taught you that can be applied later in your career?

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

  4. What advice/tips do you have for future interns in your role?

Jeff - Media Strategist

My favorite part about the internship this summer was the new perspective I gained. I cannot look at a commercial, Facebook ad, or billboard the same way. My favorite part about HLK was the incredible atmosphere. Every day, walking into the building, you don’t feel like you are going to work. Everybody is approachable and has nuggets of gold to share with you (not literally, though that would be nice). I learned to work as part of a team that gets business done. It became abundantly clear that without proper communication, the entire team’s work would falter. You are only as strong as your weakest link. HLK taught me that work can and should be enjoyable. You should not spend your life doing something that you dread waking up for. If I could have any other positions I would become the Strategist so that I could dive even deeper into research. I’d love to study corporate and consumer behavior. Aaron did an excellent job, so I’d love to use the knowledge I learned by observing his work, and try to build off of it.

Tips for future interns:

Do not be scared to ask questions when you have no clue what you should be doing. Literally everyone around you is in a position where they have experience and knowledge to help you, and almost everybody would love to help you and see you improve. Also, make sure to keep your fellow interns in the loop on what you are doing. Solid communication will produce solid results. Lastly, make a list every day when you are about to leave work of what you want to accomplish the next day.

Aaron - Strategist

My favorite part about the internship is how truly hands-on the experience was. As the Strategist intern, I'm not an intern for the strategists; rather, I directly work with a team of five other interns on our own projects for our own clients, and the only coffee I fetch is my own. Thanks to this internship, I've learned about the ins and outs of working at a "full-service digital agency," and hope to apply my newfound knowledge at similar positions in the future. If I could choose a different internship position that wasn't my own, I'd enjoy being a part of creative — be it Art Director, Content Manager, or Copywriter. Watching their workflow was utterly mesmerizing, from animating strawberries on Photoshop to creating Facebook canvas ad mockups. I'd love the chance to practice my own creative production skills, which the team totally let me do by allowing me to create an intern hype video! I couldn't imagine my summer without HLK and all the memories (and, not to mention, the amazing work) us interns made as a team. I'm looking forward to presenting our final pitch this Thursday, although it'll certainly be a bittersweet end to a wonderful six weeks.

Tips for future interns:

Future interns: Get to know and trust your teammates — take the time to ask about their work, and use this internship as an opportunity to learn about each aspect of working for a client, from account managing to art directing. Attend additional meetings, and ask your mentor about everything (including where to find the best drinks in St. Louis!). For incoming Strategists/Researchers, I recommend implementing strategies upfront so as to maintain a clear focus throughout the project, integrating your research while presenting the creative in order to explain the campaign's effectiveness, and ingesting the coffee from the second floor instead of the third.

Laura - Content Manager

My favorite part about this internship was the overall feeling of being a part of a real agency. We were given real projects having to do with real clients. We had a control over the project creatively which allowed us to go outside the box with our ideas. My favorite part about HLK is the atmosphere. On my first day, I witnessed just how close everyone is to each other. Everyone was joking around yet everyone is very professional. It is the perfect mix of work and play, not to mention the fact that HLK is dog-friendly. Nothing brightens your day more than seeing a cute lil’ pup walking around your desk.

HLK has taught me more than I ever expected to learn thus far and that was within a five-week period I understand how to come up with a campaign from start to finish and how to present that campaign effectively. The feedback and guidance from our mentors was extremely helpful throughout every step of this internship. This internship also taught me how important it is to work as a team. You cannot get through this internship on your own, and I luckily had a wonderful team who became my friends within a day of meeting. This helped us deliver a campaign that we can be proud of. Every little detail that I learned and witnessed will help me in my future career. If I could have any other position, I think I would chose Art Director. That position allows for a lot of creative freedom which is amazing. Coming up with the overall look for a campaign is a stressful job but also a fun and rewarding one.

Tips for future interns:

  1. Ask questions! If you have any questions, big or small, ask your mentor. That is what they are here for and their advice is always helpful.

  2. Be confident! I can’t stress this enough. Be proud of your work. You’ve spent endless hours working on this project and it’s important that you show that in your delivery.

  3. Don’t procrastinate! It is important to get your work done early so you can have it reviewed by your mentor. This way, they can help you make tweaks before the presentation.

  4. Have fun! You have many responsibilities and tasks in this internship but that does not mean it is all work and no play. Go out to lunch with your team — it allows you to de-stress as well as bond with your team members.

Shelby - Account Manager

My favorite part about this internship was the free range we had creatively. It was nice to be given a project and being told to run with it and the only thing that could limit us was our imaginations. My favorite part about HLK itself was easily the people. Everyone was polite and willing to help us out. I never felt that I couldn’t go and ask someone for assistance. Everyone made me feel very comfortable at work, and there was never a morning where I wasn’t excited to wake up and go to my internship! Loving what you do and where you work makes a world of difference. I think the biggest thing HLK has taught me is how the advertising industry works as a whole. There is so much more to it than the finished creative product that the public sees. It takes a whole team to create an advertising campaign and without everyone, it wouldn’t run smoothly! If I had to choose a different position, I would probably try the Content Manager position. I found what Laura did — mocking up social media pages — really neat. Also, being able to pretty much change a client's look by revamping their social media pages was fascinating to me!  

Tips for future interns:

Trust yourself. You were selected to serve in this role for a reason. Get close with your teammates because you will spend nearly every day with them for the next six weeks. As for the future Account Manager, there is so much to learn, so never be afraid to ask your mentor for clarification or advice. Also, you do really become like “the mom” of the group. Sometimes you have to be your team’s parent before you can be their friend, because at the end of the day, you only have three weeks to work on a project so sticking to a timeline is crucial!

Irina - Art Director

Probably the most important thing that I have learned at HLK is the value of the idea. As a communication design major, I focus a lot on the making; it is nice to see things come to life, digitally or in print. And at HLK, I learned that it is not as important to be able to produce all the pieces of the campaign (which in fact is not even feasible) as it is to set in motion the best idea possible — the one that will keep expanding and will have the potential to take the creative team to the unexpected new levels.

So don’t stress about the getting part of the work done and just make sure to show up on time and in the right place. I feel that almost everything you will read about the internship goes out of the window with the adrenalin rush of the first Monday, but just in case, here are some select rules that can help you survive the first few days at HLK Land:

Tips for future interns:

First of all, congratulations! HLK is a great place to spend your summer, meet new friends, learn a lot about the industry and even make some money!! Working on two projects, with definite start and finish dates, will make the six weeks fly by. If you are like me, you will certainly have the nauseating feeling the first couple of days, afraid that you don’t have what it takes. You do! The timeframes are totally manageable and you have your mentor if you need help. Having a specific person who is responsible for your success in the program is probably my most favorite part about the internship. It is a very trusting and nurturing relationship that basically takes care of all the uncertainties or fears. It is also a great way to learn about the industry and help you determine your first career steps. I was very lucky to have senior art director Chad Stierwalt as my mentor. No matter how busy he was, I could always count on his help and input. It was fascinating to learn that not only is your mentor "on your side" but also the rest of the HLK team is and they are rooting for your success." I was possibly the most nervous out of my team members during our first pitch, but then one of the designers told me that everyone in the audience was there to see us succeed. This really changed my perspective and I no longer felt afraid to fail. This is very different compared to the school environment that can get competitive at times — and is my favorite part about the feel of the team here.

RULE #1 CARDIO

HLK is a big place with a lot of stairs to climb. Stay in shape.

RULE #17 DON’T BE A HERO

It’s a team effort. During our school career we are so used to doing it all, but here your team is by your side. You might be surprised that your Strategist is actually very clever with puns and your Account Manager is a hand model…

RULE #22 WHEN IN DOUBT KNOW YOUR WAY OUT (TO WHERE YOUR MENTOR IS)

We would be totally lost without the help of our mentors. Don’t forget to ask your mentor about assets and images you might need. And beyond! There is so much talent around you to help you figure out any program or help you with pretty much any task.

RULE #32 ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS

… and I don’t just mean the puppies! From fantastic downtown views and relaxed dress code to free fruit and comfy couches, there are many little things to miss after the internship is over. Enjoy it! Responsibly. :)

Rachel - Copywriter

My favorite part about HLK is the strong bonds of teamwork and the awesome, interesting staff with their dogs and stories. And the learning part that can be applied to life is the improv session we had. It helped strengthen adaptation and creative skills while boosting confidence.

Tips for future interns:

Congrats on being the new intern team's Copywriter. Make sure to "use your words" since the others will rely on you for said words and that's basically your job for the next few weeks. Don't fret none though fellow wordsmith — you will have a ton of fun while learning the ways of the industry. I enjoyed our campaigns, my team, getting to be the writer of copy, the staff at HLK, the overall atmosphere and experience of the short session immensely. My teammates went from strangers to friends before a week was up and now HLK feels like a second home to me. I'm sure you will experience similar things and yet have your own adventure. Good luck and have fun!

Behind The Scenes of InternStellar

August 10th, 2017

The duration of our internship is six weeks. During those six weeks, we have two presentation days. Meaning, we have a lot of days that we are not presenting but are creating the campaign for those presentation days. So what goes on during those days? Well, I’m about to show you.

Save-A-Lot

We take our projects very seriously and our last campaign was no exception. We were told to come up with a campaign for Save-A-Lot, so we piled into Rachel’s minivan (aka “the bus”) to scout out the store. We felt a little strange as a group of six people walking into a grocery store, going down every aisle, and then not buying anything. So, Irina bought a jug of Aloe juice (which, believe it or not, contains pulp…) and grapes. Trips in the bus were never short of entertaining (and sometimes it was really hot when Rachel would forget to turn on the A/C for the folks in the very back); nevertheless, the bus always got us where we needed to go!

2.) Tasty Videos

One of our projects was to create a stop-motion video for Save-A-Lot and I can’t explain to you how much time this takes. We spent the whole day shooting these strawberries that were made to look like Santas. One wrong move had the potential to throw the entire video off. We almost had a major catastrophe. As Shelby was piping the icing onto one of the strawberries, the piping bag full of icing had a blowout, but it was caught in time and no Santas were harmed. We decided to purchase graham crackers at the store to dip them in the leftover icing. It was a group consensus that by doing this, we recreated the popular '90s snack, Dunkaroos. Needless to say, while we were hard at work filming we were also hard at work consuming all of the props.

3.) Improvisation

You want to say no? Too bad, because the #1 rule in improv is to always say yes (while doing improv). You want to keep the conversation flowing, and if you say no, the conversation stops. At HLK they started making all of the intern teams take an improv workshop lunch with Jason (Jason is an HLK employee who is very involved in the improv community). A few of us were nervous to do improv, but it didn’t take long for all of us to warm up and get comfortable with each other. It was a great way to let loose and learn to lean on each other for support. Between the laughing, the acting, and the eating our hour and a half improv session flew by.

These experiences have not only brought us closer as a team but also as friends. This internship has taught us many valuable lessons that we can apply throughout our future careers. But more importantly, this internship taught us how to work as a team in an agency. Luckily, I had a pretty stellar team.

Say What?

By: Shelby Carey & Laura Grayson

Let’s go back to the first week we were here. The six of us didn't know each other, we were all nervous, and one of our biggest fears was that we wouldn’t get along. Fast forward to week five. We get along fantastic, we’re constantly laughing, and we’re great friends both inside and outside of the office. We have become really close as a team — the closeness I imagine only professional sports teams dream of having. When you spend nearly every day, all day, with the same people, you are pretty much destined to be close. Over our time at HLK, we have come to figure out each other's trademark sayings. There isn’t a day that goes by where one of us doesn't say our respective saying, so let’s take a look at each team member's trademark phrase.

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Well if it isn’t Queen Boujee herself (that’s what the team calls Shelby anyways). Not because she herself is boujee, but because it’s her favorite adjective. Shelby is our Account Manager or as we call her, “Account Momager.” Shelby is always on top of things and is constantly guiding us; however, that does not mean she doesn’t have a sassy side. Shelby will find a way to use “boujee” in any and all scenarios. The topic could be politics or how the Cold War affected America and Shelby will find a way to use “boujee” in the conversation. Oddly enough, it almost always fits perfectly with the conversation.

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Irina, our Art Director, never fails to amaze us. Her mind is constantly running, and it’s nothing for her to come up with a killer campaign idea in a matter of minutes...and then another and another and another. Just when you think Irina has settled on an idea, another one is brought into play. The constant flow of ideas helps us make sure our campaigns are the best they can be.

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Standing at a stout 6’6” our Media Strategist’s favorite thing to say is, “I’m hungry.” Jeff and the Jimmy John’s guy are on a first-name basis now and Bogart’s appreciates his business. We can’t blame him though because he is constantly working up an appetite scrolling through every research website known to man looking for the statistics to back up our campaign. (Also, it’s just pure luck and coincidence that the resemblance between Jeff and Linguini, from Ratatouille, is uncanny.)  

                     

    

“What is even happening?” We hear this from Laura more often than not. The desks are arranged in a zigged-zagged line where Laura’s desk is at the end. Because of this, Laura often can’t clearly hear what we are discussing, and once Laura gets in her zone she is fully immersed in her content manager duties. The combination of the two often leads Laura to look up and see the rest of the team engaging in some kind of shenanigans; therefore, we leave her no choice but to ask, “What is even happening?” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

   

Our Strategist, Aaron, doesn't have an actual trademark phrase, rather he has various noises he makes depending on what he has found in his research. When he finds something extraordinary it’s more of an “eep”...when he thought he hit the motherload of research, but really didn’t, it's more of a “mehh” whine. Nonetheless, Aaron always pulls through and presents us with solid research that digs deeper than we could have ever imagined. Squeak away, Aaron!

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Having a bad day? Feeling blue? Just need to see a friendly face? Well time to turn to Rachel, our Copywriter. Not a day goes by where Rachel doesn’t say “good morning” or “hello” to each and every one of her teammates. She always has a friendly smile to offer and if that isn’t enough to get you smiling, her writing for our campaigns will be sure to leave you with a smile.

“All My Friends Are Models”

August 4th, 2017

“Would you guys like to be models for a photo shoot for On the Run?” – Zack Stovall. Those words would later be regretted… probably around the time we asked for a limo to take us to set.

Us interns take our job at HLK very seriously and modeling was no exception. We’re professionals, OK. We did our research, we watched a lot of America’s Next Top Model, and read many issues of Vogue. So when the day came, we were ready. In fact, we were more than ready. We were born for this.

We arrived on set in the Grove with a sharpie and some headshots (in case passersby wanted an autograph) ready to take on this role. We had asked for an assistant and a director’s chair for each of us but apparently “that’s not in the budget.” We began by taking a few pictures of us casually walking down the street with empty On the Run cups while smiling candidly. I know what you’re thinking, and yes our job is very tough. Which is why I did not think it was too much for me to ask for a Diet Slice and some pita chips but evidently it was too much to ask.

After the Grove, We moved on to our next location, which was a park next to the Fox Theater. We took some pictures of us as a whole group and some with us in groups of twos or threes just to keep things mixed up. Not to mention the fact that we changed shirts after each location. I know most of you are not models so you don’t know this information, but we changed shirts to make it appear as if it was a different day. Crazy, I know!

While we were shooting at the park, a large family walked by and watched us for a while. (This happens all the time in the modeling world.) We remained professionals and continued on with the shoot until it was time to go to our final location. We drove to City Garden so we could have some nice shots of the Arch in the background. Within 15 minutes of us being there, we were asked to leave by security. Nothing makes you feel cooler than being a model, but then we were banned models. City Garden was the last stop so while it was the end of the photo shoot, it was also the start of our modeling career. This may seem like a simple photo shoot for a local convenient store, but I hear that’s how Cindy Crawford got her start. Besides, it’s not about where you start but where you finish.

Strauss Park

  

Citygarden

Strauss Park

  

HLK

*not a part of the photoshoot but we don't have the heart to tell Shelby*

*All jokes aside, we had such a great time participating in this experience. We have all seen the pictures used for the On the Run Social media accounts, and now we understand how those pictures are created. We are very thankful for this opportunity and we are especially grateful for Zack and Justin for putting up with us.

Glass Half Empty or Glass Half Full?

July 28th, 2017

We have just wrapped up our third week at HLK, which means we are halfway through with the internship program. Many interns may see this halfway point as sign of relief because that means no more grunt work or going on coffee runs. However, that is not the case with HLK. As interns, we are treated like all other employees and we are given real assignments that have to do with real clients. We spend our weeks researching, creating content, and pitching projects. So while other interns may see this halfway point as a glass half empty, Team InternStellar sees it as a glass half full.

Weeks 1 and 2 seemed to fly by. That being said, week 3 did not. Our team had a very busy third week. On Monday we had a practice pitch for our first assignment. We spent many hours in our intern sweatbox* writing our ideas on the whiteboard and executing these ideas into a slideshow. So when it was time for us to pitch our campaign to our mentors, we were more than nervous. When we finished our pitch, we stood in front of the team of mentors just terrified that they were going to say they did not like the campaign. But, to our relief, they loved it. We were given feedback on some minor changes to make for the final pitch that would be later in the week. The following two days were a blur. We had less than 48 hours to make our project the best it could be. I remembered being in a dark room with Irina for what felt like hours and we worked on the images, videos, and social media posts for the campaign. All of the stress that we felt went away instantly after we ran into the cutest HLK employee..

Pilot

·A Shiba Inu

·Awarded "Fluffiest Office Distraction"

·A real "ladies' man"

·The topic of most conversations

·Employee of the Month

I stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning and woke up at 6 a.m. the next day to continue working on the project and double check that everything looked exactly like it should. Our team arrived to work at 8 a.m. to start practicing for the final pitch. We were nervous to say the least. But as Shelby would say, “Nerves are what motivate me.” Workers from all over the office were coming in the room one by one, filling up all of the seats. This was it. It was time for us to pitch our campaign. 30 minutes later and we completed our pitch. (Side note for future interns: you have one hour to give this pitch, a fact we so carelessly did not know, use that time!) We stood awkwardly and nervously awaiting feedback. The first person to speak started off by saying, “This was amazing!” As soon as those words left her mouth, we knew we were going to be just fine. We were given some very helpful feedback for future projects along with some positive remarks on the overall project. While the pitch was terrifying, in a good way, it was one of the best projects I have ever been a part of. I could not ask for a better team to have done this with. It is very important that you get along with your team and it is safe to say we get along.

Pitch Feedback/Tips:

  • Use all of the allowed time to pitch the project.
  • Explain the creative content more.
  • Dig deeper into your targeted audience and explain why they are the target audience.
  • The budget should be the last slide!
  • Finally, have an explantantion for why you chose what you chose. For example: Why you chose yellow for a font or why you chose certain images to represent the campaign. 

*Intern sweatbox – The intern meeting spot, which is a tiny room on the third floor that has little airflow when the door is shut

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!