This summer I landed an internship at Barkley in downtown Kansas City. I courted these guys for months and somehow didn't manage to piss off Jen Karns to the point of telling me to get lost. Go ahead and endorse me for "tightrope-walking-the-fine-line-between-getting-yourself-hired-and-stalking-your-way-into-being-unemployed." It was finally time to tell Maryville I'd be taking a break to hang out with some new faces for a little bit.
Nonetheless, the gig rolls on. I wanted to share some of my experiences (despite already being nearly halfway through my internship) before I have to strap on my nostalgia goggles to do so.
On day one I was given a company laptop thin enough to pick my teeth with. I quickly learned where I could get coffee. Beer is on floors 2 and 4, but don't bust out the brews before 4 pm. Especially if you're an intern. You know, the basics.
Basics aside, Barkley throws interns right in the thick of it. In my first week, I had been a fly on the wall of meetings for 5 different clients. I've since created and scheduled a month's worth of client-approved content for a brand which I'm now community managing. But before I get ahead of myself... Back to week one.
Toward the end of the week, the entire agency was in for a treat-- the company-wide annual partner meeting at Union Station was promised to rock our socks off. Without getting into too many details, I was surprised by a roaring drumline performance, breakdancing astronauts, a speech by a a guy younger than myself who is no-doubt going to cure cancer someday, and the echoey result of a DJ and liquor-fueled happy hour right in Union Station. See diagram from a moment of said event below.
1. Penny Hardman, AKA the person who hired me, OWNING the dancefloor. This went on for some time.
2. Jason Elm gets his own bubble simply because he's a badass.
3. Fellow media intern, Sarah Arnoldi, dancing in my frame once she saw I was snapping a picture.
4. Jen Karns silently judging and/or 'mirin Sarah's footwork from afar.
Not long after the excitement of the annual partner meeting, I went to a Sprint Accelerator event which hosted demonstrations by some of the best innovators KC had to offer. The whole thing ended with a presentation by Sprint CEO, Marcelo Claure. That dude set the "most humble CEO" bar VERY high. Really cool event, which was followed by another night of drinks and karaoke with some more Barkley partners over at the soon-to-be-closed bar, the Bulldog.
Social media interns rock the hardest. We stayed at the Bulldog long enough to hear more than a few of our fellow social media partners sing karaoke with the help of a little (or possibly lots) of liquid courage. Gotta love this industry.
More photos. Less text.
This Friday, I attended the 2015 Gas Can Creative Conference at the Sporting KC arena. It was chalk full of great presentations on what it means to truly be creative, collaborate with other humans, and to just be rad. During this conference I also participated in a choreographed air guitar flash mob instructed by the 2013 Air Guitar Champion. Can't make this shit up. Looking for video evidence to post here, but until then, here are some photos from the event.
Ahh, and here we see some familiar NWMSU faces. We all got to attend this event because of the trust that AAFKC puts in future advertising talent in the form of their Foundation Scholarship. They provide free admission to its Foundation scholars as well as a lifetime mentor in the industry. We're currently awaiting which mentors we are assigned and couldn't be more excited to find out.
Okay so this is kind of a MASSIVE post, but it feels so good to get caught up. I can only expect more exciting experiences to come from Barkley this summer. We've got a bomb-ass group of talented young interns who will all accomplish great things over at 1740 Main Street in KCMO. Trust me when I say what I have outlined here so far is only scratching the surface.
So I find a to-do list from four weeks ago today that reads, "Blog post." About a week after I originally wrote that, I entered a note in my phone that read, "Blog post title: 'Spring it on.'"
Well, here I am a month late. Since this spring semester has hit, I've never been more busy in my life.
Christ. I've never had more titles in my life! Well, let's get into it.
First and foremost, I've gotta keep those A's flowing in. I'm taking all upper-divisional classes this semester. Spring it on.
Perhaps the most challenging of my classes this spring is Communication Law and Ethics. As I type this, I am awaiting the return of our first test. There's just no way around knowing the stuff. It's mind-numbing memorization and hours of studying laws and the US judicial system. I even took this test a day earlier than the class so I could attend my ad club's Off-Broadway Tour.
In the fall, I was a Designer for the Northwest Missourian. I thought it was kinda funny; I got hired as a designer without even having taken the Media Design class required for the position. That's not a humblebrag, either. I was so clueless when I started at the Missourian. This spring, I'm editor. Funny how that works. Especially considering I originally applied for an Advertising Designer position in the first place. When they said I got the job, I didn't care which job that was. There are no mistakes, only happy little accidents. In my case, this happy little accident has me living in the newsroom. There are some days that this commuter is on-campus for twelve hours at a time. The latest issue we designed is perhaps the best yet. Check it out.
Social Media Manager
Following my involvement in AdInk in the fall, I intend to take our club's social discussion to the next level. I just completed a campaign to build hype for a keynote speaker at an event my ad club hosts every year called Off-Broadway. Joe Cox is head of social media at an advertising agency that I dream of working at, Barkley. His network is massive. A few tags in some funny posts got a lot of people seeing AdInk pop in their feeds, just as I had planned. Here are some of the posts I ran to hype this guy up.
Starting in January, I took up a remote internship for a Portland-based startup called Workfrom. It's this cool new tool that takes the guesswork out of finding a nice place to get down to business for nomadic workers all around the world. The work-from-anywhere world is closer than ever before. Take it from the intern five states away. I'll be assisting in public relations endeavors and focusing on boosting existing traction channels to make sure we spread the word to everyone Workfrom.co is a perfect fit for.
Knacktive is my university's flavor of a student-ran advertising agency. In the past, group projects in my classes usually ended up meaning I had to do everything. Not Knacktive. I'm digging it. It's still early, but everyone on my team of eight is swimming in seemingly endless amounts of information and research for our client. We're doing real work in this class. I think it's kind of funny, I'm paying tuition to do work. The best part is, that's work that will get me a job that really pays. I can't wait.
Just when I think my hands are full with all of the other hats I have to wear, I've got summer internship deadlines looming overhead at the same time. I'm so goddamn determined to get out of this town this summer! It's Kansas City or bust, baby. I've got my eyes set on some great agencies in KC, and a couple of couches already lined up to surf on. 'till then, I've got some applications to swim through.
Grown-up mode: engage. I've got a lot more responsibilities all of a sudden. I must apologize if it sounds like I'm complaining. It's not until I have nothing to do until I realize that I actually enjoy being busy. I'm not trying to brown-nose my university or my program, but I genuinely am loving my classes and the people I'm seeing every day. All of the opportunities I have to get established experience before I even graduate here is something I'd have scoffed at back in high school. Now, I wouldn't waste a second of it. I've got to make sure I'm getting my tuition's worth.
So, sure. There's a lot on my plate. Spring it on, ya bish.
Some of my fellow students at NWMSU may recall seeing mistletoe hung all around campus during the last few weeks of this fall 2014 semester. Well hey, I'm Jake. Guilty as charged. Believe it or not, this whole shebang all started with a post I saw on the popular anonymous message board app, YikYak.
This "yak" gave me an idea right off the bat, so I immediately took a screenshot to remember. By the end of the day, this post had over one hundred upvotes, so I brought my idea to AdInk's president. We met the day before Thanksgiving break to discuss the possibility of creating branded mistletoe and holiday decorations to hang around campus. It wasn't long after that mistletoe was ordered on Amazon Prime and we discovered a way to access the campus buildings to hang these decorations before everyone returned from Thanksgiving break. Planning phase complete. Perfect. I had recently ordered a 100-pack of X-Acto blades that were just thirsty for some crafting, so my work was cut out for me (hehehe).
So, why do all this? Well...Why not? I would love nothing more than for this kind of thing to become an AdInk tradition. The winter holidays are some of the most advertising message-soaked times of the year. Consumer spending is through the roof, and everyone is fighting to be the talk of the season. Why not make my student organization soak up all that limelight? Talk about brand association: the warm and tingly feelings of holiday spirit and smooches from the ones you love under an AdInk branded mistletoe. However, let me be clear when I say that this was absolutely a test run. With just a weekend of planning and execution, I am thrilled with the turnout. It was difficult to get the word out about this little guerrilla campaign's contest angle. The original plan was for students to take selfies under the mistletoe kissing whatever means the most to them, (boyfriend/girlfriend/Starbucks/headphones/whatever) and tweet them at @NW_AdInk for a chance to win gift cards or prizes. The plan to take this campaign's discussion to social media outlets was less prominent on Twitter, but moreso on the platform from which the idea was born in the first place, YikYak. Here are just some of the responses our little stunt got out of the anonymous student population.
With any luck, next year's guerrilla campaign will be bigger, better, and on the shoulders of more than just myself and another during just one weekend. The best part is, I have a whole year to come up with ideas to make sure 2015 is the year AdInk blows up over this on Twitter or elsewhere, but this year's conversation wasn't so bad either.
I couldn't think of a better way to end 2014 with AdInk. I really felt like everyone in the club was blown away by this little secret campaign that Carlton and I whipped up seemingly overnight. I felt pretty damn jolly at our club's last meeting of the year. Everyone clapped for me! As much as I tried to shrug it off, let me be real. Getting a round of applause from your peers that isn't solicited by some mandatory in-class power point or half-assed group presentation felt really good for once.
It's been real, AdCats. The year 2014 was great, but how about a cheers to 2015?