TDH internship in sum
Keeping up a TDH tradition, here's a post from one of our summer interns, Leon C., weighing in on his internship experience.
As I’m sure every intern has done before me, on the "L" ride to my first day at work I thought to myself, “I’m going to be different. I’m not just going to be another summer intern. I’m going to make an impact.” What I didn’t think about was the impact the internship would have on me.
Eight weeks of working at TDH have completely reshaped my perspective on the advertising industry. There are so many aspects and practices of an ad agency that can’t be learned through textbooks or Mad Men marathons. For these, experience is the only teacher. Here are the top four skills I’ve developed from my internship at TDH:
Attention To Detail
In every department and with every project, the employees of TDH are excruciatingly thorough. When I was writing the recent “Crafting for Cresco” blog post, Creative Partner David Yang told me about the countless hours he spent with the Cresco Labs team, measuring the angles on typefaces down to a degree, and rummaging through thousands of color palettes to find the one that would exactly match the brand strategy. He said it himself: attention to detail is the most important aspect of advertising, and not just for the creative team. Account Services have details down to a science — I noticed that for client meetings, what the client sees, hears, even smells and eats, is carefully considered beforehand.
Research & Analytics
Research is a grueling, but necessary, part of creative strategy. Over the last half of my internship at TDH, I conducted research on the competitive landscape of Ferrara’s Black Forest Organic brand. In that time, I scoured databases and learned more about the confectionary industry than I ever thought there was to learn. But more importantly, I learned how to put together an effective research summary and analysis, how to distinguish between important and unimportant information, and how to recognize recurring trends in seemingly variable data. Research is the foundation upon which creative direction is discovered; so to any prospective interns of TDH, this is the place to get that skillset.
Multitasking & Prioritizing
The great thing about working at a smaller agency is the breathing room. Officially, I was hired as an Account Services intern, but my role expanded further than to just one department. I had the opportunity to work with Production, Creative, and Strategy. After all, the real purpose of the internship was to give me a deep, complete understanding of an advertising agency. With this privilege came responsibility – involvement in multiple departments required some time balancing from me. Working on multiple projects at once was a trying, rewarding process that taught me how to correctly portion my work time. When it’s crunch time at an ad agency, every second from 9am to 5pm is precious and must be used efficiently. Deadlines loom around every corner.
At TDH, there is vastly more internal communication than there is external. With brand strategy and creative protocol, the entire agency must be on the same page, or it risks a standstill in productivity. Constant communication is the oil that keeps the gears of an agency working smoothly; one gear can halt the whole operation if left unoiled. The necessity of communication requires ad people to be as eloquent and concise interpersonally as they are in the ads that they create. It’s a dilemma between saving time and getting the point across. This isn’t as simple as knowing agency vernacular. It requires acculturation into the agency’s atmosphere. For instance, at the beginning, I found myself always asking questions like, “Is this important enough for an email right now, or should I mention it in passing?” and “Can this idea be easily expressed over the phone, or would it be better presented in a meeting?” But as I became accustomed to the agency’s MO, communicating with my fellow TDHers became second nature.
An internship is a two-way street. Interns are supposed to demonstrate their abilities and bring a fresh perspective to the table. In exchange, employers should provide interns with projects that develop existing skills and cultivate new ones.
I’m going to miss working with the wonderful people of TDH. Eight weeks have flown by and classes are starting too soon. But I leave with experiences that I can look back on proudly, and a better knowledge of the industry. And to my officemates, don’t worry, I’ll come and visit. Specifically after NFL Week 16 when I come to collect on my fantasy football championship.
08.15.16 The Biz