Up, Up, and Away

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

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

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

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

Dear Future Content Intern

Dear Future Content Intern,

    Now that the Launchpad internship is drawing to a close, I can officially say I kind of know what I’m doing. It took a little bit of trial and error to get the hang of it. So let me save you the trouble and share my seasoned expertise with you.

    You are not simply creating social media content for projects assigned to you, but you are also responsible for the Launchpad Blog. You assign, write, edit, and manage the content for the blog. More importantly you must understand and write according to the voice of the blog. This was probably the most difficult part for me, not simply because I had to find it myself, but because I also had to also communicate that to my fellow interns. To help explain, I’ve attached past blog posts that illustrate each point I’m making.

  1. Be imaginative - As interns of a full-service digital agency, our primary objective is to be imaginative in everything we do. And that includes our work for the blog. Take ordinary office topics and reimagine them in a way that hasn’t been done before. Maybe you found a conversation with your mentor particularly inspiring and want to share. Or maybe taking  selfies in different locations in the office seemed like a great idea and you wanted to write about it. Find your inspiration. Be creative. And write to your heart’s content. 

  2. Cater to the audience - We aren’t writing for the folks that run Fortune 500 companies. We are writing for ourselves and for our peers. I bet that as you were scrambling to get ready the night before your first day on the job, you were scrolling through the Launchpad blog. Remember yourself then and think about what you would have wanted to read. Would you want to read about the last dip in the stock market or why playing volleyball with your co-workers is awesome? Yea, I thought so.

  3. Be casual and conversational - Since we are targeting our peers, we need to write as if we were talking to them. This rule not only applies to your writing style, but also the format through which you want to tell your story. This is where your personal brand can come to life. Save the “thou” and “whilst” for another time and express yourself through memes and GIFs if it feels right. You already got the position, so let there’s no need to continue to impress with formalities. Instead dazzle with your unique perspective. 

  4. Tell a story - Perhaps the most difficult part of the blog is remembering to engage the audience through storytelling. You need to reign in your creativity and construct it, not only imaginatively, but also coherently. Tell your story from beginning to end, always asking why? Within an agency there are so many stories to tell, whether that’s the transition from intern life to agency life, the first week of Launchpad to the last week, or the concepting process from brainstorming ideas to giving the presentation. Find your story, ask yourself why you are interested in writing it, and WRITE.

  5. Tie it back to HLK - While this may be the most obvious, it still needs to be said. This blog celebrates your creativity, but there must be some connection back to HLK. You can’t simply write about your last Chipotle burrito because it tasted good. Maybe you discovered that a Chipotle burrito is really a metaphor for the diverse talent in the office (the Creative team is the guac that’s bursting with flavor while Account Management is the tortilla keeping everything together). Whatever you decide to write about, make sure it somehow reflects the culture at HLK as well as your personal experience and the lessons learned. 

    You are a reflection of the agency and are given an opportunity to have direct contact with others to express your personal experience as an intern of HLK. This is your chance to teach, tell a story, and exercise your creative abilities in anyway you choose.

May the creative force be with you.


Current Content Intern


Let's Talk About Coffee

As an out of town intern, there's tons of ways to explore the city whether that's through their speciality shops, markets, and parks or variety of bars. But I spent most of my time trying all the different coffee shops St. Louis has to offer. Since I came to St. Louis to do work, I often brought my work to the coffee shops when I needed a break from the office (or that one time when the AC broke and the office felt like a hot yoga studio…) I discovered that each of the different coffee shops catered to a different step in the creative process.


Kayak’s Coffee - Brainstorming

Located near Wash U’s campus and Forest Park, Kayak’s Coffee is rustic and homey, inviting customers to relax and unwind. Perfect for daydreaming and getting lost in thought, I found myself cozying up in the corner of the cafe brainstorming ideas for our campaigns. Between the aroma of freshly ground coffee, the inviting nature of the cabin interior, and the refreshing bite of the ginger tea I tried, my brain became a fountain of ideas.


Park Avenue Coffee - Creative

But every fountain of ideas must have a filter. And for that, I found myself digging into work at Park Avenue Coffee. Tucked away near Lafayette Square, this cozy coffee shop is the perfect spot for small gatherings or some peaceful time alone. Not only am I a huge fan of their iced coffees, but they are also home to the Food Network featured Gooey Butter Cake. A little sugar rush might be exactly what you need to get those creative juices flowing.


Blueprint Coffee - Execution

When it’s time to execute on those crazy good ideas, there’s no better place to go than a cafe that serves coffee in science beakers. Located on the Loop, Blueprint Coffee is just a step away from lots of other shops and restaurants. The cafes interior, which celebrates minimalistic design and lots of natural light, encourages the young professional or student or HLK intern to focus on the task at hand with a piping hot cup of science coffee.


Goshen Coffee - Crunch Time

Just a parking lot away from HLK, Goshen Coffee is the perfect place to get out of the office, by barely leaving the office. And when it’s crunch time, a parking lot length walk may be all you have time for. Don’t be deceived by their small setup next to 4 Hands Brewing Co., the staff is highly knowledgeable about the coffee they brew, giving you that caffeine fix to push through those final creative meetings or into the wee hours of the night.


The HLK Kitchen - Final Touches

It’s presentation day. Everyone is scrambling to implement last minute changes into the powerpoint, to straighten their ties, and to take a quick breath before presenting weeks worth of work. One last cup of coffee might be just what you need. Luckily HLK’s very own kitchen is always stocked with coffee, accompanied by an assortment of creamers, hot chocolate packets, and endless jars of goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth. It may not be fancy, but it does the job.

To Infinity and Beyond

Months after finding out we were accepted into the HLK Launchpad program, July 6th couldn’t come soon enough. Together, the eight of us were chosen out of hundreds of applicants.  We couldn’t believe that we were given this opportunity.

We came from all over the U.S., each bringing our own knowledge, experiences and backgrounds. At first, we were nervous. We didn’t know each other, but somehow became comfortable within one day of meeting. Some groups just click. Luckily, we’re one of them.

Our first assignment was to name our team. We brainstormed, and brainstormed, and one thing stood out: we loved the space theme. So, after lots of options ranging from Sirius to Comet, we finally landed on “Ad Infinitum.”

Not only was the name appropriately space themed, but it also spoke to us as individuals. Its literal definition is “continue forever, without limit.” As college students or recent grads, we’re just launching our professional careers. But, as our group name suggests, our adventure has only just begun.

We’ll continue forever, without limit; that’s the idea. So with this concept in mind, the eight of us came together and formed a team with a focus on our future. While we work toward our goals and focus on our dreams, we’ll always remember to do it without limits by going above and beyond. 

Our logo reflects this concept. During our creative process, we loved the idea of combining a spaceship with a circular shape, representing a journey that never comes to an end.


Months from now, we’ll find out just how limitless we are.

We hope you enjoy reading about these next six weeks as much as we enjoy informing you about our highs, lows, and everything in-between. It’ll be a wild ride, but that’s why you’ll enjoy reading about it. So stay tuned, because you never know what’ll happen next.

An In Depth Look at Your 2015 Scallywags

Here are your 2015 Cycle 1 Launchpad Interns, otherwise known as the Scallywags. Why Scallywag you ask? Because we are a band of misfit creative thinkers, that’s why.

Click on our pictures to learn more about us!

Hey! My name is Becca and I’m a 20-something recent college grad trying to join the big people workforce. I love anything gold, all types of coffee, and one white wine.

Hi, my name is Laura and I’m constantly resisting adulthood. When I’m a grown-up, I want to be a writer/strategist/publisher/professor/researcher/therapist/lawyer. You can tell I have it all figured out.

Hi, my name is Sean. I'm 23 years old, a St. Louis native, and currently finishing my Bachelor's degree in Advertising with an emphasis in writing. Nature, art, good friends, and an Android device are all I really need to get by. 

Hi, my name is Michelle! I love animals, Christmas, and Modern Family. I tend to online shop more than I should and have a soft spot for anything in the pasta family.

Greetings, my name is Timothy Hykes and I am a native of St. Louis, Missouri. I love typography. You may call me a lettering nerd because I do enjoy the art of drawing and letters.

Hey! My name is Ben and I love sports, I love the outdoors, and I love going to new places. I was raised in STL so I naturally have an affinity for my hometown. I like advertising because I love coming up with new ideas and hearing other people’s.

Our Team Name Was Almost "Turbopump"

One of our first tasks on the job as Launchpad interns was to develop a team name. After deciding to stick with the celestial theme developed by Nebula in Cycle 1, the brainstorming started. Highlights included: 

  • Googling “space words”
  • Desperately trying to comprehend the meaning of these “space words”    
  • Struggling to pronounce these “space words” correctly
  • Briefly considering the name “Turbopump”
  • ...and finally, settling on our name for the next six weeks:

Quasar [kwey-zahr, -zer, -sahr, -ser]

After watching most of the reboot of Cosmos from the DVR at my parents house and clicking through some Wikipedia pages, I feel like I’m at least a little bit qualified to explain what a quasar is. 


They’re unique. Existing somewhere in the realm of celestial bodies between a star and a galaxy, quasars have become their own type of celestial body: they’re quasi-stellar. 

They’re bright. Even though quasars exist millions of light years away from us, here on puny old Earth, they’re still some of the brightest objects in the night sky. 

They’re strong. Nestled into the center of galaxies, quasars typically surround supermassive black holes. But even in the company of objects with incredible gravitational pull, quasars still manage to shine bright. 

They’re young and active. Quasars are usually found around young and active galaxies. Sure, they’re still probably billions of years old, but compared to the rest of the universe, they aren’t a day over 23. 


If you haven’t already noticed the obvious comparison I’ve tried to outline, us interns can be described in the same way. We’re unique. We’re bright. We’re strong. And we’re definitely young and active. Just as quasars found their own place in the expansive universe, we’re in the process of finding ours. And HLK is a good place to start. 


P.S. - Rumor has it we might have picked Quasar as the team name strictly because it’s kind of a cool word. We’ll neither confirm nor deny that rumor.

All Systems Go

After getting cleared for takeoff, Launchpad’s second cycle is off the ground! Although the first week consisted mostly of meetings and copious amounts of coffee, Team Quasar is off to a strong start. We were able to learn a bit about the dynamics of each department here at HLK, pick the brains of our mentors and view some past work before being assigned our first client brief. We learned about everything from time management to industry lingo, as well as a bit about our mentors themselves.

The great thing about the Launchpad Internship is that our mentors are different each session, demonstrating the depth of knowledge and skills that each employee exhibits here at HLK.

Since last cycle has already acquainted you with the dogs of the office, we thought it was time we introduced you to their owners. You know, a few of the people that actually make things happen around here.

Without further ado, we present you with this session’s Mission Control.

Cecilia, Account Management Mentor for Stephanie

• With 14+ years of marketing & advertising experience, Cecilia is proof that positions are earned through dedication to client relationships and long hours, not just something your entitled to upon graduation.

• As a liaison between client and agency, it is important to be able to defend the agency’s work. Have a rationale. Have answers for the client.

• A "retainer" is a word that refers to a client that pays on a regular basis rather than a project basis.

Ross, Art Direction Mentor for Justin


• When told that ‘your brief is showing’ it means that your creative execution is literally a repetition of your strategy: this is a big no-no.

• As an Associate Creative Director, he claims that the most rewarding aspect of his job is being pleasantly surprised by creative ideas from his team even more than seeing his own work come alive.

• Ross is actually his middle name. He walks exceptionally fast. He's a Webster University alumnus and also has experience with the Webster University account.

Jamie, Content Development Mentor for Lauren

• If you ask her a question, don't expect an answer because she will probably answer by asking you a question.

• She believes the content team could benefit from organization similar to the workings of a newsroom.

• She’s done almost everything. Before taking a content role, she worked in account management. She also has experience with strategy, media planning and buying, research, analytics… the list goes on.

Patrick, Strategy Mentor for Jenny

• Patrick seems to know when he has shifted too far off-topic and will stop mid-sentence and say “..but that's a story for another time..”

• The most important consideration for a strategist? Stay objective.

• Claims the 80/20 rule inspired by Pareto's Principle is a great time management philosophy, but that's a story for another time.

Andrea, Research & Analytics Mentor for Emily

• Targeting philosophy is to find the BEST people at the CHEAPEST cost.

• The transparency that an analytics dashboard provides is often scary to the client.

• She stresses the importance of the ability to work with a wide variety of personalities, not taking anything too personally and listening well, all of which are vital for success in this business.


Jill, Media Buying & Placement Mentor for all

• She's very sad that HLK does not currently have a media intern, but she gets all of us instead!

• Media people really do get to meet cool people sometimes (Jimmy Fallon, for example.)

• Claims the job has truly strengthened her negotiating skills in her personal life.


Maeve, Copywriting Mentor for Nick

Sadly, we did not get to have a one-on-one meet with Maeve, but here are some things we’ve gathered:

• Maeve is a master of voice, both the literary and literal kinds. When she read the HLK philosophy aloud during orientation, all of the interns were moved.

• She’s a part of the HLK volleyball team that plays on Monday nights at Trueman’s.

• Her dog, Murphy, is the only one that has had the courage to approach the Launchpad Intern Room, which is perhaps the official approval we needed.

If there’s one thing that we have learned from our orientation at HLK, it’s that everyone here is incredibly welcoming and more than willing to give each of the interns the best learning experience possible.

Besides a job, what more could one ask for?