LSU: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu
Whether you’re a novice or an expert, a trainee or trainer an intern or a vice president, there is always room for growth. I’ve decided to use my last blog post to offer some advice to the next batch of interns and new hires based on the lessons I’ve learned in the last three months.
- Always ask for help. Someone will come to your rescue.
- Everyone was the newbie once. They know what you’re going through and are always willing to make you feel at ease.
- Make yourself available. If someone in the agency needs help with anything, volunteer. Spontaneous trips to Brookings can make for a great change of pace.
- Food makes friends. If you keep candy on your desk, they will come. (Poor Field of Dreams reference).
- Be helpful. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself during a faux photo shoot, even if the whole staff will end up seeing it.
- Don’t get frustrated. If you’re writing a report, don’t worry if it feels like you’re spending all of your time formatting the document and not actually doing any reporting.
- A well-oiled machine. Maintenance of all machines in the building is essential. The binding machine does have to be emptied once in awhile, or you might think you caused its demise.
- Get ready. If you aren’t ready to work hard and stay focused, run the other way fast.
- Practice makes perfect. Rehearsing in front of a mirror before a big presentation DOES help.
- Be yourself: It’s the best piece of advice I have to offer. Remember, you were hired for a reason.
My time at L&S will draw to a close soon, and I will be off to my next adventure. I will never forget these three months, short as they may have been. I formed relationships that will last beyond my time here, developed as a professional and as a person and learned more than I could have hoped. I look forward to the future, and appreciate everything L&S has done to prepare me for it.
Over and out-
Whoa, We’re Halfway There!
Here is the second installment of my internship journey…
Well, it’s been 34 working days since the start of my L&S internship, and it feels like I’ve been here for about a week. After reviewing my first blog post, and preparing to write the second, I became cognizant of how much I have learned in such a short period of time.
Since my first update, the first thing I noticed was how much more comfortable I am with agency life. I remember the feeling of anxiety that would wash over me each morning before work. It was fear of the unknown. I wasn’t sure what I’d be doing each day, and I was having difficulty seeing how all the little things I was doing were fitting in to the big picture. I have finally started to settle into as much of a routine as an agency will allow. I am able to keep myself busy and ask fewer questions, much to the relief of my champion, I’m sure. Of course, there are still the random projects that will pop up. I might not know how to tackle them, but I’ve become much better at problem solving and trying to trudge through them on my own.
Overall, I would say the one thing I am most amazed by is my ability to follow along during meetings. I remember feeling absolutely lost during the first couple weeks of meetings I would attended. I have noticed how much jargon and ‘agency speak’ I have picked up on since then, which has helped me feel more comfortable and willing to participate during meetings and brainstorming sessions. I marvel at the rate of my transformation, though there is still great room for improvement. But more on that in another post.
Outside of my daily routine, I had the opportunity to participate in a commercial shoot a few weeks ago. I won’t be able to look at another television spot the same way again, now that I know how much work, time, energy and personnel go into the creation of a :30 commercial. The shoot was fun, and everyone involved had a good time. There was also a sense of camaraderie as the interns came together to keep things in order for the employees and everyone on set. It was such a refreshing change of pace, so I hope I’m fortunate enough to get to work on commercial shoots in the future!
I’ve also had a valuable learning experience that included everyone in the agency in the past 34 days. I attended training with a top advertiser who has worked with leading companies and agencies throughout his career. It was an opportunity to learn with fellow L&S’ers, and participate in a lot of re-tooling of prior campaigns. I could feel the anticipation and excitement to apply his wisdom to future client projects spread throughout the agency. This was especially exciting for the interns, as we have the opportunity to implement what we learned through a project at the end of our internship.
Words could never express how grateful I am for my experience at L&S. I have learned so much about agency life, what it means to be a professional and how to become a digital strategist, thanks to the wonderful staff around me. I am excited to see what the last few weeks of my L&S internship will bring, and I hope this experience will also have a positive impact on those around me.
Until next time, Meghann.
Follow My Internship Journey
Here was the first blog post I officially wrote as an L&S intern…
As a recent addition to the Zen Wizard team as a message delivery intern, I’ve had the opportunity to work with an impressive group of professional, driven individuals that have already taught me more in a few weeks than I thought I could learn in three months.
Not only has my experience at L&S already exceeded my expectations, it has dismantled all preconceived notions I had before I arrived.
What I expected:
A pop quiz. I was sure I had Lawrence & Schiller pegged before I arrived on May 24. I thought the agency was a conservative, cut-throat, do-or-die type agency. So I studied everything I could Google in the days leading up to my internship in preparation for the pop quiz that would probably determine if I lived to see another day. When I arrived, surprise! There was no pop quiz. Instead, a desk full of candy, supplies and a color-coded schedule awaited me. Any uneasiness I felt quickly melted away as I was welcomed to my team and the rest of the staff.
What I’ve learned so far:
I’ve already learned enough to fill up at least a couple blog posts. Outside of learning about our team’s many clients, Google Analytics, Pay Per Click, writing newsletters, reporting and keeping hundreds of passwords organized, I’ve learned something interesting about advertising agencies.
Agencies are more than a service for clients. Each agency has its own, distinct personality and has to hire similar personalities in order to maintain cohesiveness. After spending time in several agencies, and now working in one, I’ve discovered they are similar to bloodhounds. They sniff out the personalities that will add to the success and balance of the rest of the staff. Part of finding a job in advertising is finding your agency, the one that truly understands and values you.
Lawrence & Schiller is a stoic, professional and driven agency that takes its work and clients seriously, and the staff reflects it.
Other things I’ve learned:
1. Computers hate me.
2. I’m going to eat, sleep and breathe this job, literally. Within a week of starting my internship, dreams about the Taco John’s menu frequented my REM cycle.
3. Never assume you know anything.
What I hope to learn:
By the end of my 400-hour internship, I hope to walk away with a firm knowledge of agency life, media and digital strategizing and who I am as a person. I think it’s important to find a balance between learning the job, and also learning how to act professionally, carry yourself and be a relatable, fun person. By the end of August, I hope to have acquired all of the job and professional skills required to be successful in this industry, and I hope my team has felt like they helped mold an inexperienced college grad into a Media and Digital Strategist.
Neat Interactive Campaigns
This was an e-mail I sent out to fellow co-workers this morning for inspiration, but they are fun to play around with, so I posted them here too!
You may have seen some or most, but inspiration nonetheless?
Tipp-ex white out:
This is one of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis, and they have a QR code/youtube video campaign going; a few flaws, but overall pretty good.
Today marks the one-week anniversary of the District 8 National Student Advertising Competition, in which the SDSU Campaigns class, as well as six other schools, participated in. The experience was a humbling, yet uplifting one for all of us. Our class had never invested so much blood, sweat and tears into anything in our entire lives, (if I had to speculate) and here we were: putting our campaign, our baby, out in front of six other schools and five judges, terrified and excited for their reactions.
The outcome was more than any of us expected. But before I dive into all of that, I have to set the scene.
September 2010: half of what would eventually become the IMC Campaigns class sat through the beginnings of the campaign. the research phase. We spent tireless hours pouring over data, researching trends, reading about the competition, auditing social media and essentially learning anything and everything we could about retail shopping and women 25-34. At this point, most of us would have loved to never see anything about JCPenney ever again. But we also had yet to see what all of our hard work was going towards.
This brings us to second semester. January 2011. After a month-long break from jcp, we had a fresh outlook on the campaign. We were feeling confident in our ability to create an entirely new campaign for the retail outlet, and maybe even head to NSAC nationals in sunny San Diego. Turns out, that positive outlook we had didn’t last long. Throughout the semester we hit stark amounts of roadblocks. Everything we would do would be met with a press release from jcp, announcing the very same plans we had just come up with. We were beginning to suspect espionage. Surely, someone had tapped our classroom and was stealing our ideas. All was beginning to look hopeless. After our return from Spring Break, there was a guilty feel to the air. We knew we hadn’t worked as hard as we could have. We had three weeks to create our 36-page book, from A-Z, including an executive summary to a campaign evaluation and everything in between. Our advisor grimly informed us that we were rather far behind compared to classes from previous years. She gave us an ultimatum, essentially. Either we bust out a campaign, FAST, or we drop out. We only considered dropping out for a few seconds, before deciding to devote our lives for the next three weeks to this campaign. And when I say devote our lives, I mean we pretty much had lodging accommodations set up in Yeager Hall where we all gathered to work. Many 14-hour days/nights were put in on top of work and other classes. In the end, we created a beautiful campaign and book for JCPenney.
After all of our work, we were ready to write the presentation. Our wonderful presentation team spent the next two weeks together, writing and rehearsing their speech. The presentation was 20 minutes long and included a Keynote presentation. There were a couple of dress rehearsals, but the day of the actual presentation was THE best run-through they had ever had. And it paid off.
At the awards banquet, no one could really eat all of their meals (aside from the fact the chicken was almost cooked to the point of dust) due to nerves. At least I couldn’t. We could not bear the wait any longer. The speeches seemed to take far too long, but at last, it was time. The first awards were given out by Olson, the ad agency in Minneapolis. We won best creative strategy and best PR strategy. We followed those awards up with BEST female presenter (Erin Kennedy) and runner-up for best male presenter (Brandon DeBoer).
Then, it was the moment of truth. Placing.
4th place went to NDSU.
3rd place, St. Cloud Tech.
2nd place, SDSU.
1st place, MSUM.
We were ecstatic to win second place. Moorhead had an impressive, and very risky campaign. We were happy for them. And we were so happy to see all of our hard work actually pay off. None of us expected to do so well.
We later found out we lost by less than one point. It made us feel great knowing it was that hard for the judges to pick 1st and 2nd places. Our self-esteem soared after taking quite the beating during the semester! And the book that three of us girls worked so hard on, was the best book out of all the others at that competition.
After two semesters of researching and compiling a campaign as extensive as this one, I’ve come to realize, I love what I do. I love the long nights, the deadlines and the fast pace of this industry. I may hate everything at the time, but watching the outcome of the campaign, and seeing your hard work is absolutely a rewarding experience. Research and Campaigns were by far the most valuable classes I have ever taken. They have really shown all of us what we can do individually, as well as in a group. And as our semester winds to a close, I know all 21 of us will remember each other, the competition and the emotions from NSAC 2011. Go SDSU!
The Real Aaron Hohwieler
Even though Aaron Hohwieler is gone, he is still helping his friends become closer than they ever were.
“He was always concerned about how everyone around him was doing, making sure they were happy before he worried about himself,” said friend and fellow drummer Seth Bolks.
“It’s made me realize and value all the friendships I have,” Berkness said, “You never know when you’re going to lose that friendship. These are my best friends right here,” he said pointing to the group of friends gathered at the table, “It makes you realize how short life can actually be.”
It has been little more than three weeks since the body of 20-year-old, SDSU student was found dead in his dorm room after suffering from heart failure after complications arose. Aaron passed away during Hobo Day weekend, which stirred up rumors of alcohol poisoning and other drug related stories.
“It was difficult because a lot of people automatically assumed he died of alcohol poisoning,” fellow SuFuDu member Kevin Kurtz said, “That was frustrating, because I, along with everyone else that knew him, knew that that wasn’t the case and that that wasn’t the type of person he was.”
Aaron’s friends want the real memory of him to be preserved, rather than a memory of being a ‘Hobo Day victim.’
Friends have helped keep his memory alive by handing out green ribbons across campus in honor of him.
We made 250 ribbons for The Pride,” high school friend Andrea Christofferson said referring to SDSU’s marching band, “The idea started in Sioux Falls with our old band teacher, Mrs. Hawkinson. She made ribbons for her band class. We chose to use green ribbons because they’re SuFuDu’s colors, and he loved the Green Bay Packers. Then the idea spread to SDSU because of Alex,” she said in reference to Alex Berkness, another high school band mate and friend, “They have been very successful; we made about 600-700 ribbons. I don’t even go to school in Brookings, but every time I’m there, I see ribbons everywhere. We even bought out all the green ribbon in all the stores in the area.”
Aaron loved music, drums, specifically snare, especially. He had been playing since the fifth grade. Throughout high school he was involved in band at Washington High School with close friends Andrea Christofferson and Alex Berkness.
“Aaron was always cracking jokes during band,” Berkness and Christofferson agreed. “He liked to push the limits, but he always knew where they were. Our band teacher wouldn’t even get upset when Aaron would make jokes, because he would get embarrassed, and his bright red cheeks would get even brighter.”
Aaron furthered his passion for drumming as a member of SuFuDu.
“He was also a great leader, helping out with the snares and everyone in SuFuDu,” said fellow drummer Hailey Ellis, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone so dedicated to anything as he was about everything he was involved in.”
“SuFuDu family meant everything to Aaron, and he cherished every moment he had, not just in Drumline, but in life,” fellow SuFuDu member Blake Lamfers said.
Outside of SuFuDu and music, Aaron was passionate about his car and all things tech, and wanted to put his passion to use by pursuing a career as an electrical engineer.
“He had like 50 HDMI cords,” close friend Phil Fiala said. “He was always our go-to for car audio problems.”
Fiala later joked about having a broken Xbox that he wishes Aaron was around to help him fix.
Though the mood in the room was a somber one, his friends were able to joke and laugh at the memories they have about him, and they know Aaron will have a lasting effect on those who knew and loved him.
“We always say ‘be safe’,” Christofferson, Berkness and Fiala said, “Whenever we are with our friends, and we split off and go our separate ways, that’s the last thing we always say to each other.”
Though his friends will never forget the effect Aaron had on their lives, his friends know he is happy, wherever he is. After a near-death experience last March, Aaron had mentioned that he was no longer afraid of death, and did not want others to be sad when he died.
“He’s at peace,” Fiala said, “He died for three minutes last year when he had his pulmonary embolism. He said it was one of the most peaceful experiences he’s ever had. He wasn’t afraid of death anymore after that.”
The Wartime Kitchen
I really like that phrase, ‘The Wartime Kitchen.’ I recently saw it during a trip to New York with my Advertising Club.
Last spring, our Ad Club entered a contest for 5-hour energy, and we won. We had enough money to fund a week-long trip to New York for Advertising Week. The whole week was a fantastic experience, and made me reevaluate my career path after school.
The week was spent walking, mostly. A lot of walking. We walked all along Fifth Avenue, saw Central Park, The Daily Show, ate the biggest, most expensive sandwich of my life and made some best friends along the way.
Among attending seminars and doing the ‘touristy’ stuff, we had the opportunity to tour two fantastic New York agencies, Strawberry Frog and Alloy Media + Marketing. Strawberry Frog is definitely on the cutting edge as far as agencies go. They don’t create campaigns like other Ad Agencies, they create movements. They are also really small, so they can communicate with each other effectively, and don’t get lost in the crowd like so many larger agencies do. Their Nanhi Kali project was my personal favorite, providing education to girls in India, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.
Alloy Media actually made me consider going into the research aspect of advertising. New York really opened up my eyes to more aspects and opportunities in the advertising world. I am so lucky to have experienced Advertising Week with so many wonderful people. Graduation looms on the horizon. And while the thought used to make me cringe, I know I’m ready to get out into the world and create my own movement.
So this is some fun, interesting news for the advertising world.
After learning about these neat little matrix barcodes, I started doing some research on them.
To utilize this nifty little Quick Response code, all you need is a smart phone equipped with a barcode scanning application. Once you have the app open, the phone automatically picks up the code and directs you to the URL the QR code is associated with.
According to some sources (wikipedia), the QR code was invented in 1994 by a subsidiary of Toyota, Denso-Wave, with the intent of designing a quicker, more efficient way to scan vehicle parts. Eventually, the versatility and ease of the barcode made for its appearance in other ‘media,’ including marketing.
Marketers now have a new, innovative way to engage consumers! Okay, so it’s not that new, but as far as I know, not a lot of businesses or people are using them to their full potential. At least not around here. Marketers now have a way of reaching you all the time. No matter where you are. They can be used for events, promotions, increasing traffic, branding, tracking your ROI or used in a loyalty or rewards program. Some people substitute the codes as their business cards. Even Foursquare has started to get in on the action, using the codes as a quicker way for users to check in at venues.
It should be interesting to see what ideas people come up with in regards to the innovative ways the codes can be used. I know I have a few ideas up my sleeve…
Dinos on the Prairie
BROOKINGS – A dinosaur on the prairie.
That’s exactly what I came back to, when I returned to Brookings for school this year. For the first couple weeks, rumor had it that the 20-foot dino actually moved and roared so loud, you could hear it within a one-mile radius.
On September 12, the Children’s Museum of South Dakota opened its doors to the public and introduced ‘Mama,’ the T-Rex with maternal instincts. Mama will roar and move if kids get too close to her, just like a real T-Rex would. Her baby T-Rex stands a few yards away, nameless, waiting for the children to name it. It also has feathers, because the most recent studies show that premature T-Rexes had feathers.
Everything in the museum is meant to stimulate the imagination and senses.
“Everything is interactive. Children are encouraged to touch,” said executive director Suzanne Hegg. “There are thousands of loose parts here that children can use to solve problems and stimulate their imaginations. They can build, do nature studies, play in the water, learn about music; all through play. The entire time they’re playing, they’re learning.”
Children have the opportunity to find their own baby T-Rex with the museum’s Dino Dig. Children and parents can excavate bones and fossils just like a real paleontologist. After a long, hot day of digging, kids can cool off in the stream. Or if they’re hungry, head over to the ‘Mud Pie Kitchen.’ The outdoor prairie has a little bit of everything to stimulate a child’s (or adult’s, in my case) imagination. And when the snow and ice comes in just a couple weeks, the prairie will morph into a skating rink.
One particular exhibit I enjoyed was the Cloud Climber. I remember always being in awe of clouds as a little girl, thinking one could sit and walk around on clouds. Well, the Children’s Museum has finally allowed me to walk on a cloud. Not a real one, of course, but one that was engineered especially for this museum. Children also can learn about wind and its uses and affects on the environment around them.
Another large part of prairie life, and South Dakota’s livelihood, is centered around agriculture. The farming exhibit allows kids to milk a cow, plant and cultivate vegetables, and then bring them to the market next door.
The Market, Café, Post Office and Car Garage are all connected by telephone, where kids can actually call each other and order food and ask for special deliveries. Under the Hood actually lets kids change tires on a car, or put radiator fluid in it; just like a real mechanic.
The museum isn’t just for kids either. The vertical leap in the fitness room had records of up to ten feet. Those are either talented children, or maybe some dads are testing their skills.
“The adults are requesting a big kids’ night,” said Hegg. “The college kids come play, the high school kids come play, mommies and daddies and grandmas and grandpas all play.”
The Larson family of Brookings provided a generous donation for the capitol investment in the museum. Carmelle Larson Jackson had visited numerous museums across the nation with her children, and she wanted to bring a piece of that back to her hometown in Brookings. Once the decision was made to build a museum, the family brought together a board of directors, toured the nation looking at the best museums, brought back ideas and made them their own. The rest is history.
When I asked four-year-old Sami what her favorite part of the exhibit was, she pointed to the room she was standing in — a dressing room — and said, “this one.” She was in the process of taking off her princess costume after putting on a news broadcast in the production studio with her brother, Ethan. Ethan, 7, liked the post office. He had fun delivering cards and packages to all of the different businesses in the museum.
There is a special room for toddlers and infants, complete with frog and chicken costumes to play dress up with. The walls are painted with poems from local fourth graders. One of the poems was written by Isabella Kappenman, and is entitled “South Dakota?”
It is the wind in your hair
And the snow in your face.
It is the howl of the wolves
As they leap with grace.
It is you by the fire
All cozy and warm
And the wind outside
In the midst of a storm.
Admission to the Children’s Museum of South Dakota is $6 for everyone age one and up. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.