Introducing Gravitas: Meeting Recap

For our second meeting of the semester, we decided to introduce the Ad Team (GRAVITAS), and what it was all about. We began by introducing the current officers:

Brian Anthone – President

Kelley Smith – VP, Strategy/ Planning

Daniel Valdez – VP, Media

Our own president, Mazhar, then began to give a rundown as to what being on Ad team is really about. He said that about 48 people applied for position last year, but only 19 people actually managed to get in. Here are some of the positions that people can apply for:

  •       Project Management
  •       Production Assistant (Media Arts)
  •       Operations/Logistics
  •       Creative Director
  •       Art Director
  •       Copy Writer
  •       Promotions
  •       Strategy
  •       Brand Strategist
  •       Brand Strategist (Specializing in Media Strategy)
  •       Merchandising/E-Commerce/ROI
  •    Media Planning
  •    Media Planner (Traditional)
  •    Media Planner (Digital)
  •    Media Buyer

But what exactly is the National Student Advertising Competition?

Each year the AAF partners with a major corporate client to challenge over 200 college chapters across the country to develop an integrated marketing campaign for a specific product, service or brand.

The corporate sponsor provides a case study outlining the company’s campaign objective, the history of its product, and its current advertising situation.

Students must research the product and its competition, identify potential problem areas, and collaborate to devise a completely integrated marketing campaign for the client.

Not only does this opportunity offer all of this experience, but it actually is a class as well:

Counts as the Campaigns class credit (if you haven’t done it yet.

If you have already taken campaigns – it’ll still count as an elective.

Weekly Team Meetings will be held.

There will be meetings during Spring Break.

It’s a huge commitment, but definitely worth it.

The Ad Club designer Kevin spoke about his own experience being a part of Ad Team. He claimed that it is like a real agency experience, and can give some guidance to people who may not know what they want to do. He said that each individual group in Ad team does their own thing a lot of the times, so a lot of creativity self-management is key.

After that, Dr. Broyles excitedly got up to give her own introduction to Ad Team. She said that when employers see that you’ve done Ad Team, they’ll generally place your resume in a separate stack. That’s just how intense and how good of experience it can be. She then went on to reveal the client for the 2017-2018 team: Ocean Spray.

“If you don’t play, you don’t win,” Dr. B said, before giving a short Q and A about some other information about Ad Team.

  1. Does everyone around the country do the same assignment?
  2. Yes, everyone around the country will be woring on the exact same thing.
  1. How do you apply?
  2. Applications are generally given online at the beginning of the fall semester.
  1. What are you looking for in an applicant?
  2. We want a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
  1. Are applications open to the whole university?
  2. Yes, anybody can apply, regardless of your major. Though it does help to have some experience in what you’re applying for.

*Unfortunately, the time to apply for the 2017-2018 Ad Team has passes, however, this information can still be helpful for those who may want to apply next year!*

After the questions died down, it was time to prepare for the main event of the night: Calling UNT alumni and current Project Manager at Wieden+Kennedy, Ashlea Ramirez. Before the call, Dr. B gave a brief summary of Ashlea:

  • She came to UNT as a transfer student, starting as a sophomore
  • She did basically everything the Mayborn School had to offer, except the London trip
  • The Mayborn in New York trip is what allowed her to move to New York, the shadowing experience helped forge connections she could call on later
  • While the classwork stuff helps, it was a lot of what she did outside of the classroom that got her where she is now

And finally, with a rousing applause, Ashlea came on screen, FaceTiming us all the way from her office in New York. She began by saying how Ad Team helped give her a lot of experience as to what she would be doing in her career. She talked about how project management skills she learned in SWOOP, etc, helped give her a step up for her actual job.

On the topic of her job, she then described her role as a Project Manager for Wieden+Kennedy. Her initial thought was to liken it to babysitting, but in a good way. She elaborated, saying that her main job is to check in on all the people around the agency, making sure everyone is on task and work is getting out in a timely manner.

Ashea then told the group about MAIP, the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program:

  • Applies to both People of Color and LGBTQIA+
  • Application process is actually pretty brutal
  • Once you get in, you’re assigned an internship based on your own interests.
  • At the end of the internship, the program hosts a career fair to help more immerse you in the advertising scene
  • The people/other students you meet from this program will most likely become great friends and contacts
  • A really nice living place, with pay for the internship depending on if you’re undergrad, grad or even financial situations
  • They also allow for payments plans for the things that have to be paid for out of pocket (like plane tickets)

Ashlea said she would be willing to help anyone trying to apply, as she wants more people to apply from UNT!

After her rundown of her own experiences in MAIp and what the program entails, we opened the floor for questions.

Q: Did you start a Wieden+Kennedy, or what else happened in between graduating and starting there?

A: I worked at Digitas, for 6 months, but I didn’t really like it there. Eventually Wieden+Kennedy reached out to me about a job opening, because of how I kept up my relationship with the agency.

Q: What experience do you have in shoots?

A: I haven’t really been to any shoots, though I do help prepare for them.

Q: For people who want to get out of Texas, what should they do?

A: Joining Ad Club is a good first step. What you really need to do is find the right mentors, network and get experience. Eventually a job opportunity will happen where you need it.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be in advertising?

A: No, I actually wanted to be a doctor at first—though this may have just been pressure from my family. But when I first transferred to UNT, I started as PR. But after the Foundations of Ad/PR class, I pretty much immediately switched to Advertising.

Q: How would you make it better the second time around?

A: Well, that’s a tough question. I pretty much did everything I could. But, maybe, I would have liked to have learned about MAIP as a junior instead.

Q: What was the best career advice you’ve had and how did you apply it

A: I know it’s a little cheesy, but a lot of the advice I’ve gotten has centered on just being yourself. Don’t go into advertising if you’re doing it just for a job, people will be able to sense that. As weird it sounds, they really want to get to know the quirkiest parts of you.

Q: I heard that Wieden+Kennedy gives you a statue when you start?

A: It’s true! Each office of Wieden+Kennedy has a different way to distinguish themselves, and the New York office put up a figurine of new hires on a wall. If you ever leave—though, why would you?—you would take it with you, to remind you of your time there.

Q: What about the Delta-Tinder wall? What was it like working on that?

A: We actually got a lot of positive feedback, and a lot of attention was given to the campaign. It was exciting because Delta has generally been very conservative in their advertising, so this was definitely out of their comfort zone. For those of you who might not know exactly what it was, we basically set up a partnership between Delta airlines and Tinder, where we made a wall with large scenes from around the world painted on it. What we wanted was for people to be able to take the pictures as if they were visiting those place, and upload them as their Tinder profiles. The idea was that Delta would help make those pictures become reality.

Q: Have you done any copywriting?

A: I did the 3050 class, but decided that that it wasn’t for me. The same thing with the visual strategy and media strategy classes.

Q: What are your hours like?

A: The latest I’ve ever had to stay was about 2AM at a client’s location, but besides that it’s pretty normal. It’s mainly when campaigns are coming up—that’s when the long hours come in.

Q: Tell us about the perks of working for Wieden+Kennedy.

A: Yeah! There’s a lot of perks. I suppose the most important one is that since Bud Lite is a client of ours, we always have some beer on tap. Also, dogs are allowed to be brought up to work, so you’ll often see a few roaming the hallways. Other than that, sabbaticals are also offered, if you’ve been at Wieden+Kennedy for more than 7 years. It’s pretty cool, you can go on a 4 week paid trip to anywhere you want.

Q: How did you start fostering relationships with other people?

A: I just tried to be myself. Though with Wieden+Kennedy, I really took my time. That’s actually some advice I’ll give: with the  people you want a good relationship with, you’ll need to take your time and get to know them on a deeper level. What I would do was really find any excuse to email them, usually for holidays. It was a nice and easy way to drop an email, let them know I’m still there. It’s those little things that help you stay in an agency’s mind.

Q: Can you do freelance work?

A: Depends on the work you’re trying to do and who you’re doing it for. You really need to ask those questions at an interview if that’s what you want to do.

Q: But only creatives do freelance, right?

A: Nope, anyone can freelance—from Project Managers to Strategists.

Q: How did you balance all of this and school?

A: Short answer: no sleep. But seriously, talking to professors really helped, as did getting support from other people. I also made a schedule for myself to stay on top of everything.

Q: What is your day-to-day like?

A: Every day is really done, with some days she has a lot of things to do, other days she doesn’t have as much to do.

Q: What other places did you network at?

A: AAF and Ad2 gatherings. Agency visits were a major thing when it came to networking.

Q: Can you tell us about Ad2?

A: It’s separate but similar to AAF, mainly for those who are under 32 and in college. It basically does the same thing in giving you access to a variety of events and mixers.

Unfortunately, our time with Ashlea had to come to an end. As a last remark she said that UNT is a great place with awesome professors. Everyone here has a lot of potential, and she is more than willing to help anybody who might need it. And as our conversation with Ashlea came to end, so did the second meeting of Ad Club.

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