Our summer intern series keeps on rolling. This latest entry comes to us from Bradley Girson, a senior at Tulane University studying entrepreneurship and marketing. He is currently working at MEC in the New York office as a media planning intern. Here, he discusses meeting a senior digital planner at the agency. Take it away, sir.
Usually, the mornings fly by. I’m in the agency at 8:15am; reading MEC case studies, drinking coffee, and eating breakfast until about 8:30am. Before my day even begins to take shape, our client’s daily status meeting carries me straight up to lunch time. If we are lucky, my fellow interns and I are treated to the always exciting lunch and learn. During these sessions, various MEC directors spend two hours teaching us about their specific sector of the industry. I try to approach a lunch and learn meeting as if I’m David Frost sitting across from Richard Nixon. I ask meaningful questions that are occasionally more than the director bargained for. Sorry, but it’s what interns do.
Like the lunch and learns, I look forward to vendor presentations, an integral part of our industry. To dive deeper, one Monday, an invitation arrived in my inbox from my team’s senior digital planner. Not coincidentally, this planner had recently dangled the digital carrot in front of my face. And much to my traditional team’s disappointment, I chomped at the bit.(1)
Wednesday morning arrived quickly, and while I drank my coffee and studied our client’s 2012 media recommendation, the donuts remained untouched. Knowing I would be devoting a big portion of the afternoon to digital, I spent the morning applying my recently acquired media math skills to various flow charts and creative rotation analyses. While I love the traditional competitive and budgetary work I do daily with my mentors, Raxi,(2) I confess that I was thrilled by the irony that my upcoming vendor wine and dine was with the digital sales team of one of the nation’s oldest newspapers.
Time for lunch. After shaking hands with the saleswomen, we sat down at an outside table and I immediately started answering questions.
After fielding the barrage of inquiries by discussing Tulane, my upcoming 22nd birthday, and how I co-founded a clothing line called ERTH,(3) I could not have asked for a more comfortable, enjoyable lunch. We talked about the City, food, sports, religion, and marriage (and some awkward hybrid of the two). Just before it was over, I couldn’t help but look around, take in the very thick New York City air, and acknowledge the situation. I was an intern, but on that day, at that moment, I was a media planner.
(1) Considering the emergence of digital media, gaining fundamental knowledge of the digital world was an important objective of mine this summer. Further, I hope that when I return to the industry after graduating in May, a good CTR rate is still considered .07.
(2) I gained the trust of Chevron’s two traditional media planners in the first week. As a result, they consistently assigned me challenging work. They instilled in me a traditional foundation of advertising and allowed me to contribute insights and implications to client facing work. Whether it was competitive executive summaries, more granular competitive analyses, or budget related activities, they insisted I call them Raxi. I refused.
(3) The digital planner mentioned earlier also helped me harness ideas for my digitally-focused ERTH media plan for my final presentation, which we present at the end of our internship program. In the plan, using a hypothetical budget, my goal is to integrate a single paid sponsorship with a few owned channels to generate viral earned media and actively engage our target.