Don’t Make an Intern Mistake

27 Mar

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As some of you know, I’m handling hiring interns at the agency I work for, and I must say, I’ve seen some of the weirdest emails asking for employment of all time. This in no way is calling out specific people or our agency alone. In fact, this has been an awesome learning experience for me and those who helped in the process here. We’ve had tons of great applicants, but at the end of the day, only a few were chosen. My friends from all over the country in similar positions and I have compiled these basic rules:

 

 

1. We Do Not Teach Advertising 101

We are in a way, teachers and mentors for each and every person that walks through our doors. But we can’t, and won’t help you put on the advertising training wheels and then push you along. That means, “I’ve been wanting to work in advertising my whole life, so teach me.” Our best advice is join a club, read books, practice/mock-up work on your own, do research, don’t just sit there and put the pressure on us. There are endless other people out there that didn’t go to school for specifically for advertising (or the position they work in), but took it upon themselves to learn… In fact, one is interning here soon. My advice moving forward is to read this: amzn.to/LS7OkG. Who knows, you may not like advertising after all!

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2. Creative or Strategic: Pick One

If you send any agency an email for an internship and your answer to the above question is “I don’t know,” our answer is “I don’t know either.” Although we are all under the same roof, know which side you want to pursue. If you want to try starting in copywriting, and move from there, do it. Just showing up and sitting there, really isn’t that fun. If this is something you went to school for and you still don’t know by senior year, it’s time to start somewhere!

3. We Know When You’re Going Down a List

No “Dear, Hiring Manager” – Especially, when you direct the email to my personal account! My name is Hank, its on my email, it’s on the internship application, and I’m not hard to find online. Oh let’s not forget, “I’m very interested in your (blank) company, and I’m interested in an internship in public relations, communications, advertising, or marketing.” What? Can you not even write our name in there? (yes, someone really forgot to fill in the blank…)

4. Do Your Research

Know what you’re applying for. Seriously though. If you google our agency name and then “internship,” everything you need to know is there. Everything. Even tips on how to impress us! Or…how weird us out. Pick your poison. Our clients, our awards, our names, our office – everything is online. There is no better way to impress us than to cite our work!

5. FOLLOW UP

I can’t stress this enough. If you want the job, let us know beyond just your interview. We have to know you want us. And most of the time, we get calls/emails way later down the line just wondering how the process is going. You’re too late. However, if you’re ‘perfect for the job,’ we won’t hesitate to contact you ASAP (congrats Intern #2). But it’s always best to double check!

 

With all that, we love interns. I was an intern here and at many places all over the country. We know how difficult it is to find work and how frustrating it can be. We’re here to help and reward those who go the extra mile. Pro Tip: we love, love, love anything orange (company colors).

More ‘Likes,’ More Problems

25 Mar

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I wrote this piece originally for my agency, however as the vicious cycle of Facebook continues to distract brands and businesses online, I feel like an update may be necessary. I work on Facebook all day, so don’t get me wrong, but I can say that 75% of “pages” on the platform are worthless. Most businesses lack their hours of operation, website, etc. while brands are failing to connect with those who follow them. Then why is it that so many stores, websites, restaurants want us to ‘Like’ their page? It’s simple: they think the have to.

It’s become to norm to direct people to your Facebook page over your traditional webpage. With that, the creativity of a unique designed website for your business is never seen. Well, that, or it’s not having to regularly update your site. Let’s face it, Facebook is 100% easier to update than a webpage. But, like I’ve touched on before with, what is each ‘Like’ really worth? With a traditional webpage, you can track the number of views and a wide variety of other things through Google Analytics, and that’s all you really need. Facebook offers analytics, but unless you are regularly monitoring and using them, they don’t matter. Adding the element of Facebook to your brand brings the new challenge of measuring engagement and targeting your key demographic. 

One of the issues does lie in the idea that a higher number of likes = a better page. False, false, false. A page with 20,000 fans, but with no engagement is worthless. Your messages/posts may be seen, but if no one does anything with it, then who cares? This is where one of the major issues occurs. You now must pay-to-play. As Adage reported a few months ago, Facebook will prioritize brands who pay for ads on Facebook, over those who don’t. It makes perfect sense, why do something for free if someone is willing to pay the big bucks? This brings in another question you must ask yourself, is how far do you want to take you page? Is it a message board? Advertising medium? Product Showroom? And what’s it worth for you to tell one person about what you just posted? The answer may shock you, but that’s for another post for a different day. In conclusion, treat your Facebook page like any other advertising or marketing medium; the smarter you spend your money, the more people will see AND engage with you. And if you aren’t willing to pay/put in the effort, and think people will just flock to your vacant page out of the blue, you’re in the wrong market.

Colorado’s Still Good For Something

3 Feb
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A meme I created for our client, specifically for the “Big Game”

I’m back! For now. How was everyone’s last month or so? Great? Perfect. As you most likely witnessed, the Super Bowl was a major let down. Since moving from Colorado, it was awesome that my team made it to the “Big Game”, but well, you know. The commercials were overall also a big let-down, which didn’t lighten the mood to such a bummer of a game. Maserati overcoming adversity, Kia being luxurious, and many other forgettable spots. The exception was probably Radio Shack, which I thought were all condemned 5 years ago. They hit the sweet spot perfectly. Perfect delivery and positioned themselves back into our minds. Plus they showed the store stocked with products other than random hobby specific electronics and RC vehicles.

What made the night exciting for me was the social media conversations. All of my friends and followers were active as an ant hill. Tweets sending out left and right, talking to eachother and contributing to the national event. International friends of mine were even chiming in, wondering what was happening to the  extremely hyped US sporting event. It was easily my most active night of the year and it brought some joy back to the game. However, one tweet in particular brought the spirit of Colorado back. I’m a huge craft beer advocate(?), fanatic(?), I don’t know the proper title, but as previous posts have pointed out, I love craft beers, the culture and the brands behind them. And since Colorado is quickly becoming the Mecca for craft brews, they had the chance to highlight themselves and cash in on the Broncos in the Big Game. Sadly, they didn’t, and much of the hype was lost until one tweet changed the mood 180 degrees for me and my favorite beer brand, Upslope.

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Short, sweet, and to the point. It had the marketing potential to be an ad on its own. Hell, any Colorado beer brand could snag that. To me, it strikes up the perfect execution of Oreo’s Super Bowl Blackout tweet last year. Now’s your time to rise from the ashes Colorado! And yes, I did celebrate the end of the game with a nice cold beer.

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Here’s Adweek’s list of the 10 Best Ads from last night. The downside to a near blow-out is that brands paid to be aired in the second half, and people were uninterested and tuned out. Oh well. As the above screen shot shows, even the Twitter community jumped on its chance to make fun of the event by creating an account that monitored the Broncos lack of points, which quickly gained about 6,000 followers within minutes of being created.

 Til next time!

Glühwein: The Best Holiday Drink You’ve Probably Never Had

10 Dec

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Woah, fancy words in another language. Well not too far off. My continuing obsession with German goods and foods were perpetuated to an all new level these past few weeks. The German version of Mulled Wine has completely rocked my life. I already love Christmas time more than any other holiday/season, but this drink just changed the game completely. What does this have to do with advertising? Nothing. Oh, oh what about branding? Nothing. Actually, I’ve been writing more regularly on my agency’s blog than here, so maybe check that out for your fix. This post is however more closely related to my previous post – booze. On a serious note, its more of an update on me than anything. After countless recipes and trial and error, here is my recipe for Glühwein. Enjoy. (You’re probably going to want to pick up a bunch of red wine… just a heads up)

Part One

In a medium saucepan, combine all on a medium heat.

3/4 Cup of Water

1/4 Cup of White Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar

2 sticks of Cinnamon

1 PK of Vanilla Sugar (optional)

A dash of fresh ground Nutmeg (optional, but recommended)

Part Two

After a few minutes, combine the items below and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes. Then add about 1/4 cup of red white.

1 Large Orange, peeled and juiced (add juice to mixture)

1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

10-15 whole Cloves (I poked them into the orange peel)

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Part 3

Hopefully by now everything kinda resembles a hot, molten syrup that looks like it would burn like hell if you touched it. If not, take the lid off the pot and increase the heat. Once you’ve got that squared away, reduced the heat and add the rest of the bottle of red wine, (and just to be safe, probably another half a bottle as well). Now if you’re feeling really adventurous, or have a craving to push your Glühwein to the limit, go ahead and add 1/2 a cup (or more) of Rum to the mixture.

Cover the pot and let the wine heat up to a temperature you would normally enjoy hot tea at. After a few minutes, check the heat and serve in mugs. Awesome, now you got yourself some Glühwein. Hope you enjoy!

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Happy Holidays, Let’s Celebrate With Pumpkin Beer!

31 Oct

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Happy, merry, spooky Halloween! Very much off topic, but like I’ve said before – sometimes you just gotta work with me. The seasons are changing, leaves are falling on the ground and Starbucks has been rolling out their seasonal drinks. Its actually a magical time of the year, because lets face it, its the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, all strategically one month after another – its awesome. These ‘gaps’ make it culturally acceptable to start celebrating each holiday right after the previous one happens. So since Halloween is the first one up, that means Pumpkin stuff is filling the shelves, but to our dismay, they were starting to clear off about a week before Halloween even happened.

Beer Line Up

Above is our arsenal as of a week ago of all the pumpkin style beers we have tasted – crazy, once you line them up, (the updated count is 35). If you’re like me your first indication was to look in the grocery store… in the beer section. But not this time. Wine stores, random shops, even some liquor stores in Colorado, all together created our collection. Damn, it seemed like we had a real hobby for a bit. Now this is where I don’t really know where to take this post. I don’t know how to describe a beer to you – I’m no expert. All I can say is that I love craft beers, I love seasonal stuff, and I love making lists, so lets try this out. Here’s five pumpkin beers that really stand out among the endless list of breweries and brews!

Elysian – Pumpkin Patch

I had never had an Elysian beer until this little collection began. My girlfriend, Suzy, and I bought a 4-pack of their Pumpkin Beers, and they were all different and all great. So take whatever you can get from this brand, thats why I’m counting them all as one. Let me be the first to warn you, the Ginger Pumpkin was alittle odd but, hey, at least I remembered it!

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Weyerbacher – Imperial Pumpkin

Weyerbacher (the second clip in the top picture) is an awesome beer, consistent, yet kinda expensive for just a 4-pack of 12oz bottles. Lots of distinct flavors, and even with the very cartoonish and child-like label, it continues to deliver a solid and consistent tasting experience. They actually had a booth for this beer at this Living Social Beer Fest we went to, which was a slight drunken madhouse, so they really saved the day on that one.

New Belgium – Pumpkick

Colorado beers will always hold a special place in my heart. New Belgium faced branding gap where everyone thought the whole thing was called ‘Fat Tire.’ MADE in Boulder has done a few campaigns and mobile apps that try to better expose the New Belgium name. Hell, I’ve even heard ‘Pumpkick’ tossed around as the brewery. Anyways, I love cinnamon… and beer, so this was an obvious choice

Upslope – Pumpkin

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Ahh Upslope. So many awesome memories of hanging with friends, finishing semester long projects and rushing over to the edge of Boulder to try a new batch they have on tap. If beer was all about branding, Upslope would take the cake everytime for me. Their craft cans stick out on the shelves, and their simplistic design always puts the focus on the beer, not the label. My friends and I follow them like hawks each season for their special batches. Above is our Colorado classics and seasonal beers that don’t fit in the fridge shelf. Oops! (Note: The ‘Craft Lager’ is Jalapeño infused)

Southern Tier – Pumking

Oddly enough, this brew started our collection off. The guy at a craft beer store near my office suggested it so a purchase was made. Hell, where’s the fun in one beer though? The 22oz wasn’t gonna last long enough for a scary movie, or even a meal. So I grabbed five more various pumpkin beers to make it a solid, slightly lopsided, six-pack!

Drink for America

11 Oct

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If you haven’t noticed the government shutdown continues. Its a rainy friday here in Washington DC, and despite people being out of work, I haven’t noticed that much of a noticeable change in traffic or commotion to the naked eye. As “non-essential” workers continue to deal with their lives without pay, the public opinion towards Congress as a whole is sinking lower and lower, especially against the Republicans. There is some humor to all of this though – with all this drama, I doubt voters will get rid of their representatives, even if they were the ones who caused some of the issues. Whatever. Nothing new I guess. Thoughts aside, I ran across something funny today while reading advertising articles. Revolution Messaging, a political based mobile agency, used their free time to hopefully make a change… with a humorous twist.

Drunk Dial Congress not only encourages people to call random numbers from Congress, but to get drunk while doing so! Maybe now more than just old people will try to get ahold of their congressman/woman for once… hopefully they’ll be incoherent and disruptive too. It’s brilliance doesn’t stop there though, the site actually provides you with material on issues to complain about – my favorite being the panda cam shutdown.

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Who knows, maybe getting people to take action and express their opinions towards Congress may actually encourage some members to cooperate with each other. But after that doesn’t work, we can continue to try out the drink recipes the website gives us on top of everything else! I know I’ll be calling some lucky numbers this weekend… even if they will be just my friends and my mom!

Come Together With Starbucks

9 Oct

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This morning Starbucks announced that they will be offering a free tall drink to anyone in the US who buys someone else in line a drink. This shows their kind heart and ‘come together’ feeling towards the Government Shutdown – plus the idea that even if you can’t pay your bills, you still have the money for a $5 non-alcoholic drink. Don’t get me wrong – I love Starbucks. Love it. Back when Foursquare was actually somewhat cool, I held the mayorship for two Starbucks locations in Boulder.

Starbuck’s CEO, Howard Schultz, wants everyone to play nice and be decent human beings, even when our nation’s leaders aren’t. Stories like this transcend the political meaning behind it as it seems like everywhere we turn we’re hearing horror stories of people who are furloughed just trying to get by. Then just to rub it in even harder, they get labelled ‘non-essential.’ Seriously, I thought sleeping through my alarm was shitty.

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Oddly enough, I got Starbucks for the first time today in a long time, as I can’t resist pumpkin spiced coffee…or beer…or desserts. While I was there I did encounter one of the rudest stereotypes among their customer base, which goes along with the whole “be nice” thing their campaign hopes to accomplish. This is the person (a woman today) who is in such a hurry that everyone else can go screw themselves. You know, like leaving their car running in the handicap spot, then trying to cut the line because she’s in a rush. It was my fault that I didn’t realize that the luxury of having a barista make a drink for her was essential to her day, even as it disrupts over people.

That aside. Be kind and make someone else’s day a bit more enjoyable. Its a great way to make a friend, break the ice with someone, or just make someone smile. Oh, and let’s not forget to track your experience with the hashtag, #payitforward!

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