This summer I am the fortunate college student lucky enough to land an internship with the city’s largest full-service advertising agency. Halfway through the speeding summer it’s time to ask myself, what have I learned about the industry since working here? Did my professors instill an accurate depiction of what a “real agency” would be like? Walking in bright-eyed and eager, here is what I have observed at a glance:
Sweet Tooth. Ad agents love their sweets. Nothing brings everyone out of their offices like free cupcakes, hot donuts or homemade cookies. (A lighthearted start, but an accurate description nonetheless)
Team Work. Nothing goes out the door without having been bounced around through everyone’s noggin. You may have a job title, but it doesn’t stop you from being involved in any and every part of the creation process.
Quiet Chaos. I watch people walk into work in the morning (or mid-afternoon) with a quiet, slow day ahead of them and before they can get their coffee, the tempo has changed and it’s time to run. The atmosphere can jump from calm to calamity in seconds. Okay, maybe it’s not that out of control but the industry will always keep you on your toes.
Tough Love. It’s a tough industry to break into and possibly an even tougher industry to stay with. As a young (and untainted) advertising major I’ve learned that there is no certainty of where I will end up or how I will get there. Hopefully determination will keep me company in these next few years as graduation speeds toward me and the real world’s unforgiving voice beckons.
6th Year Senior. After vocalizing #4, the next logical step would be to call my school counselor and request to change my major. Quickly. But logic is overrated.
Unique. Every agency has its own way of doing things but there is no doubt each is very unique in comparison to other industries. Who wouldn’t love to work somewhere that encourages you to bring your dog to work on Four-Legged Fridays? Or gives you money to decorate your workspace however you possibly want to? The creative juices are flowing and there’s no stopping it.
Friendly Faces. Despite just being the intern, I was immediately greeted by smiling faces and welcoming hearts. It could be because they smell fresh meat, but for the sake of my self-esteem, I’ll assume all advertisers are just a friendly, loving breed.
Just Do It. No matter how high the expectations, regardless of lofty goals, to survive in the advertising agency, you got to just go for it. Whatever the client wants, I’ve watched Balcom Agency’s B’s give it their all to get it done.
What? You never know what you are going to need to learn, to do what you need to do. Understanding personal medical supplies, western wear, paper quality, geological formations, ophthalmology, financial institutions, and any random entity is all in a day’s work at an agency. I would assume most people here would have a decent shot on Jeopardy. Maybe no Ken Jennings, but come on, that guy is insane.
Giggles. Let’s be real, working at an ad agency can be downright hilarious. The work is funny, the people are funny, even the atmosphere is funny. Laughter is not short on supply in this industry.
So there is a quick ten on what I have picked up so far at the agency. More reports to come as I observe advertisers in their natural habitat…