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 opponent 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 incorporating 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 really had an idea of where we wanted to go with the campaign causing us to look around more than we strategize. 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 type of company we are dealing with, every decision made will be from a statistical standpoint.

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 great 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 subideas. 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 understanding 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 imperative 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 created reached the people they needed 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 all were 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 communication with a minor in sociology. I’m 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 for those campaigns through a Content Calendar.    My first day at HLK was pretty interesting and I was able to bond with my teammates very quickly. The dress code (or lack thereof) surprised me as it did the rest of my team. This though was not the most surprising aspect of the day. I was taken back by how much HLK thrives off of 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 of course 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 whenever I get the chance.

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 communication with a minor in sociology. I’m 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 for those campaigns through a Content Calendar.

My first day at HLK was pretty interesting and I was able to bond with my teammates very quickly. The dress code (or lack thereof) surprised me as it did the rest of my team. This though was not the most surprising aspect of the day. I was taken back by how much HLK thrives off of 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 of course 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 whenever I get the chance.

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.

IMG_4089.JPG

  

   

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!

EPIC HLK SHOWDOWN: Practice Pitch Vs. Final Pitch

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

kitten we got this.jpg

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

aaliyah quote.jpg

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

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

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

cat nothing to fear.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

OMG! Let Me Tell You About These Experiences!


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

 The Commercial Shoots

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

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

A Lunch That Gives You Insider Information

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

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

 

Photoshoots Which Bring Concepts To Life

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

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

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

When The Animal Shelter Visits?

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

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

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

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You said it baby!

 

Making the Band: Infinite Velocity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Dauntless Farewell

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

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

 

I gave each intern the prompt:

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

Here are our responses:

Courtney (Art Director):

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

 

Meagan R (Strategist):

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

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

 

Caroline (Media) :

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

 

Jenna (Copywriter):

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

 

Meghan G (Account Manager):

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

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

 

George (Research/Analytics):

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

 

Lauren-Me (Content Manager):

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

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

 

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

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

--Lauren

 

Improv and Public Speaking- A Beautiful Pair

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

-Eminem

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

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

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

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

Some of his tips:

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

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

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


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

Interns Go Hard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Midway Check-In

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

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

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

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

We came into this internship thinking:

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

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

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

 

 

Terms of the Trade

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

1. Impressions.

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

2. KPI

Blahg an acronym you’ll never remember, right?

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

 

 

3. Deliverables

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

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