Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Portfolio Advice

Coming straight from my mentor for this summer, Liggett’s Senior Art Director, I have some tips and tactics for graphic designers to help boost interview results, and to customize your career to meet your goals.

Before interviewing, a good idea might be to research your company of course, and figure out specifically which positions they are looking for in a creative. For example, if you want to come in as an entry-level designer, then your portfolio might be more style oriented and comprise an extensive collection of die cuts, paper selections and popular visual trends for logos and various single pieces, then a couple business systems and campaigns representing the conformity of your styles. However, if you were to apply for a job as a junior or associate art director, an employer might rather see a lot of visual solutions for an idea or metaphor; or how you came about branding your ideas. You will still have a lot of logos and single pieces, but more campaigns, less variety, bigger ideas. Maybe you could go down to a local business and see if they will let you brand the fliers and invitations for their next event. It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.

But the idea that you are tailoring your portfolio to the position you are applying for lets the employer know that you understand the business. My mentor told me a story of a concepting class he took based on spec projects, in which another student spent an entire three months doing nothing but watching TV and redoing commercial spots that he saw – and created the portfolio that got him from Carmichael Lynch, Mullen, and a few other well known firms.

Pat B.
Creative Intern

Monday, July 30, 2007

"That's a Wrap!"

One of the perks of being a graphic design intern here at Liggett has been the opportunity to tag along on photo shoots. Several days ago, my mentor invited Pat and I to observe a client photo shoot. We headed out bright and early to the location and we're greeted by a Liggett art director, a client rep, the photographer and his three assistants. We were mainly there to watch and understand how Liggett’s art directors were involved in the production of advertisements.

Behind the scenes...

There were months of preparation and planning before the day of the shoot. Concepts and designs needed to be approved by the client. The location was scouted and a carpenter built the sets from the sketches he was given. It was necessary for every detail to be perfected, since the photos would eventually be turned into magazine print ads. The art director worked very closely with the photographer, making sure he captured the right angles and shots. The photo shoot was outdoors, so the weather played a key role in determining whether the photos would turn out well. Luckily, the weather cooperated, but the photographer did have to wait a few minutes between shots for the clouds to pass by.

As for Pat and I, most of the day was spent watching and learning, but we also helped set up and take down props. I picked up on a few things that I would most likely never learn at UD: transforming a pitcher of water into iced tea (coffee is the perfect substitute), grouting tiles without grout and even some floral arranging and scaffold building. It took the whole crew to make things run smoothly. Overall, it was a great experience to see the “behind the scenes” production of print advertisements.

Linda F.
Creative Intern

It's a Small World After All

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that the business world is all about connections, especially in this industry. And despite how large the industry is, when you submerge yourself in it, it seems to get smaller and smaller every day. Everyone knows everyone. Last week, this idea reinforced itself to me yet again.

A few weeks ago, I was assigned to pitch this intern blog to a PR Week writer who has been covering stories about communication technology trends. After flipping through recent PR Week publications to research the hot new topics, I decided to look at Advertising Age as well. I asked a coworker for the July 16 issue. To my surprise, a girl I know and have worked with at the Daily Kent Stater at Kent State was on the front page in an article titled “Where have all the Girls Gone?”

The article was a discussion about how more young girls are shifting to online magazine Web sites instead of subscribing to the print versions. In fact, the article states that the percentage of girls who read magazines has fallen from 85.6 percent to 79.9 percent in the past five years.

Personally, I still enjoy reading magazines in print form. With all the things I do on a computer, I like to have a physical publication I can flip through. My favorite magazines, similar to most women my age, include Glamour, People and now, after reading quite a few interesting articles during my internship, PR Week and Advertising Age.

What do you think?

Olivia M.
Program Management Intern

Friday, July 27, 2007

This wasn't in my job description...

We got one of the best pieces of career advice this week during one of our executive lunches. While talking about his career and how he got to where is he now, LS’s COO told the eight interns to always be open minded to learning new things while you’re on the job, because you never know what opportunities can come from that experience. Even though this seems like a simple thought, it can easily be overlooked.

Throughout the course of this internship, I have done many of the advertising and PR tasks that I expected I would be doing: target market research, drafting press releases (and revising them about 10 different times by 3 or 4 different people), sending out media kits, making copies, running errands…the list goes on. However, I’m sure that every LS intern would agree, that there are things we would have never imagined we would do during our nine-week experience. One of our biggest highlights would surely be having our blog mentioned in yesterday’s New York Times.

The biggest thing, though, is that what you get out of an internship is directly related to what you put into it. By accepting as many projects as you can handle from as many different people as possible, by staying late to help finish a project for the next day, by challenging yourself to take one more step outside of your comfort zone and by doing the things you never knew were part of the job, you will become more experienced and better prepared for the future that awaits after college.

Jessica M.
Program Management

Friday, July 20, 2007

That Just Made My Summer

“Okay so that just made my summer!”
My friend and fellow intern Olivia isn’t talking about a concert or a vacation, but the latest Liggett Intern field trip.

Yesterday the group took a trip to one of Cleveland’s local news stations. We were given a tour of the entire station – everything from the news pit to the editing booths and the production room. In my opinion, the news industry is the New York City of the communication world… it never sleeps. There is always someone in the news station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. While working under a fast-paced, every second counts environment, it is important to keep focus and not loose yourself by becoming overwhelmed. I thought this was a great lesson to take away from the journalists and editors. Becoming overwhelmed at the situation will not help you do your work and will only hinder productivity. Instead, it is best to focus on the task at hand, delivering the best work possible while being time conscious.

One of the most exciting parts of the field trip was watching the noon news. We were able to sit in the studio while journalists presented the news to a live broadcast audience. It was awesome to watch the broadcast journalists read the news, and to see all the “behind the scenes” work that is involved with producing a news segment.

I am thankful to have the opportunity to learn about something as cool as this. Being able to experience a news station first-hand, while drawing the connection between news stations and advertising agencies is a one time opportunity. I love that the interns are able to go on all of these field trips and learn about other outlets of communication. It’s cool to see the relationships between advertising agencies and broadcast media – we both need each other.

Being an intern at Liggett and given the opportunity to broaden horizons, learn new things and experience the Cleveland communication world first had has definitely “made my summer.”

Crista S.
Program Management Intern

Taking a Bite out of Manhattan

A couple of weeks ago, Jessica M., a fellow intern, suggested I subscribe to the Ad Age daily e-mail newsletter. So, as I start each day here at Liggett, I try to read a few Ad Age articles online if I have time. Right now, I’m really interested in the media planning and buying side of the industry, so I usually go straight to Ad Age’s “Mediaworks” microsite to get the latest news on media trends.

Yesterday, I saw an article about Discovery Channel’s upcoming Shark Week. Even as a person who could care less about sharks, I am intrigued by their tactics used to create hype about a big event.

The 20th anniversary of Discovery Channel’s shark week is coming up on July 29th, and as a promotion for the big milestone, this year, Discovery Channel and it’s media agency, Omnicom Group’s PHD, will showcase a mobile projection of a shark fin on the skyscrapers of NYC after dusk July 26th through July 28th.

Shark week is not solely being promoted using outdoor media, but the promotion has taken on a big interactive element as well. If you visit the Discovery Channel website you will enter a fun, interactive Shark lover’s world filled with video galleries, shark quizzes, a podcast, and much more. Go to the website to learn more at:


I thought I’d share this not only for all the shark lovers out there, but because this is just one example of the trends we are going to see develop over the next several years in advertising. The Media component of promotion and advertising is absolutely fascinating because it is growing and changing day by day. Text Messaging, viral marketing, and non-traditional forms of media such as the promotion illustrated here for the Discovery Channel have the potential to get people who wouldn’t think twice about sharks to think twice. Advertising and communications are changing to accommodate our on-the-go, mobile lifestyle. Not to mention the Internet, DVR and TIVO have really thrown a monkey wrench into traditional advertising campaigns.

So, if you’re planning a trip to New York City in the next week or so, watch out because those Sharks are taking a bite out of Manhattan.

Marie D.
Program Management Intern

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Middle of the Road

After an executive lunch with the CEO, I have learned a great deal about how the agency has branded itself, and how I can relay these techniques into my own identity as a young professional.

Many semi-large advertising agencies find themselves “in the middle of the road,” in terms of what their brand identity is, and how it relates to the services that they offer to potential clients. Which can also be confusing for the client who is buying the agency’s services.

In the advertising world, every agency wants every client’s business, no matter what that client is looking for, whether it is print advertising, TV and radio broadcasting, interactive support, or public relations – the agency will try to sell them the whole goat, when all the client needs is a fresh squeeze. But that’s where the buyer is confronted with a problem – the agency is selling them any and every service that they have to offer, which in the buyer’s perspective dilutes the quality of the services they will get. So in turn, the client will go find a small interactive or pr shop that seems to do a better job at a specific task, because they specialize in it.

Picking a ‘side of the road’ can be an agency’s way of convincing these clients that they are on call for all of that client’s needs. Even if an agency doesn’t want to specialize in one line of advertising, maybe they can specialize in one line of clients, for example, in Liggett Stashower’s case: mostly building products. This technique helps the agency to distinguish itself from all others when all a client is looking for is a little clarity.

Similarly to this, a person trying to market himself or herself may come across this problem as well. For example, celebrities have to carry an identity every day, because they are constantly making an impression on people. Consequentially, so do young professionals. Upon graduation, many students will be entering the job market, and as all markets go, they will be selling something. There are so many students all over the world that have nearly the same credentials, so they will be trying to differentiate themselves from all others and create a unique persona that a prospective employer will remember.
So as a young professional, no matter what field you’re in, or what field you’re trying to get into, branding yourself with an identity can be a great strategy to elevate yourself from the mass of other students, who are stuck in the middle of the road.

Pat B.
Creative Intern

Trevor, Intern for the World

Every intern experience is different. Here at Liggett, I've been given real client projects to work on. Other companies may have their interns going on coffee runs or basic office duties. For others, it may mean taking orders from complete strangers and having a live webcam record almost every minute of their day. That has become the life of one intern, Trevor "The Mentos Intern". Trevor's tasks are not given to him from his boss, but from people who visit his website and plan out his daily schedule. He cannot leave his office since his entire day is broadcast live on the internet. You can call, instant message or email him asking to do ridiculously entertaining things such as "interview the cat," "ask my boss for a raise," or "belly dancing lessons with the mail lady." As you can see, Trevor is no ordinary intern. He is the star of this viral marketing campaign put on by Mentos. Relying on viral marketing to get your message across can either be very successful or a flop. In this case, I think Mentos did a great job using technology and clever thinking to create this concept. I'm still wondering if Trevor knew what he was getting himself into when he applied for that intern position. Maybe I'll call him to find out.

Check out this site
Leave your comments about Trevor and the Mentos viral marketing campaign.

Linda F.
Creative Intern

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Live like the Simpsons.....

The Simpsons is by far one of my favorite shows on TV. The humor and the ever-changing story keep me coming back for more. You can’t find another show with such a diverse set of characters. The Simpsons has withstood the test of time, too. Today a good show lasts 5 years, the Simpsons has lasted over 18 years. So why not release a movie? If you ask me this was a long time coming.

Going into my 6th week here at Liggett, there are many things that I have learned about the advertising world. One of the main things I will take with me is how important PR (by putting together many press kits) and event planning (by assisting with event mailings…Crista) can be for a marketing campaign. A flashy commercial helps gain brand awareness, but you really need consumers to interact with your brand. I saw this new level of interaction with the Kwik-E-Mart promotion for the Simpsons movie.

One of the biggest players in the success of a movie is building buzz before it is released. We all know that movie promo commercials are beginning to become less successful due to people tuning out at commercial breaks. Every movie promo on television is the same. There are some clips of the movie with the same deep-voiced man telling us how great the movie is going to be. Pretty boring, huh? So what production companies need to start doing is have a marketing campaign that isn’t solely reliant on media.

Welcome to Qwik-E-Mart, please come again. In anticipation of the July 27th release of The Simpson’s Movie, 7-Eleven converted 12 of their shops into Qwik-E-Marts. These Qwik-E-Marts are full of actual Simpson merchandise found in the show and cardboard cutouts of the main characters. Now Simpsons’ fans can actually feel what it would be like if they lived in Springfield. Brilliant. Imagine an advertising campaign where people will wait in lines for hours to be exposed to it. Where people come to your message, not turn away from it. This is the advertising strategy of the future.

So pass me the popcorn and Buzz cola and let the credits roll.

Adam F.
Program Management Intern

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Summer Family

It is week six at Liggett and the time is flying by. I keep thinking to myself that I have plenty of time to get things done and to hang out with the other interns, but in all reality that time is coming to an end very quickly. It seems that we are all being trusted with more and more work because we understand more and more about the business. But, more than just understanding and getting what goes on in the agency, we are understanding and getting each other. We know what pushes each other’s buttons, we know what each other is good at, and we know how passionate each other is about the work that we do.
We have joked before about being like the Brady Bunch and our intern coordinators being like Carol and Mike Brady. As goofy as it sounds, its true! We are a little family. Sometimes I see these seven people more than my own family. This is why I refer to them as my “summer family”. I knew coming into this that I was going to meet seven other interns. I did not know that these people were going to become part of my life. I thought that I would come to work, see them, and then go home. Yet, they are really fun and funny people who I like to be around. I look forward to “intern outings” after work and lunch on Star Plaza with them.
I am going to come out of Liggett with two things: a great experience and seven new friends.

Kelly M.
Finance Intern

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just Do It...

As a “student of advertising,” it’s almost become a habit for me to watch TV or flip through magazines and start analyzing the ads that I see and wonder, what is the brand trying to achieve with this ad? And more importantly, is it done effectively?

I’ve always liked Nike ads because they do more than just try to sell clothes or shoes. Over the years, they have developed a cohesive brand that is recognized by almost anyone in the world. By using top athletes, the brand’s personality and identity has become synonymous with athletic excellence, superior performance and product innovation. This can be seen in one of the latest ads that ran during the Wimbledon tennis tournament with tennis ace, Roger Federer (2007 Men’s Wimbledon winner) and Tiger Woods. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AcbjxqWhrM)

Additionally, Nike ads are typically humorous and attention getting, but not so over the top that the viewer forgets what brand the ad is for. Like this new ad “welcoming” the number one NBA draft pick, Greg Oden, to the Portland Trailblazers.

By developing a consistent brand image and by effectively using light humor, Nike continues to set an example in the advertising and sport industries.

Jessica M.
Program Management Intern

It's not the coffee that keeps us going.

A few weeks ago, all of the interns had lunch with one of the members of upper-management. We asked him about his career and what it takes to be successful in the advertising industry. He said that it takes passion, persistence and attention to detail.

From the past five weeks, I’ve really learned that being passionate, persistent and paying attention to detail, even if it makes you appear overly meticulous to your co-workers, is necessary for success in this industry.

In my last blog, I mentioned that at LS, you never know what you’re gonna get, and that has certainly been true for me this week. Yesterday, I strolled into the office with my coffee around 8:15am, checked my LS email, and got myself organized for the day. Then about 10 minutes later, I was asked to help prepare for a new client pitch that would be taking place that afternoon. Soon enough, I was helping to edit PowerPoint slides, following my mentor, who walks ten times faster than I do, around the office, printing presentation materials, and binding the materials together into some pretty snazzy looking presentation books. I had to finish putting together all of the necessary materials so the client pitch team could get out the door. I needed to work quickly to help meet the team’s deadline, but make sure not to make any mistakes. I didn’t even take a lunch break; my adrenaline just kept me going. But hey, I’m not complaining because I thrive on seemingly stressful situations.

So, the lesson learned here is that in this especially creative industry, you need to be passionate and detail-oriented to be successful, no matter if you’re working on the account side, creative side, or just helping out all around the agency as an intern. This isn’t the type of job where you let things go. It’s intense. We’re not crazy, and we’re not all wired on coffee here; we’re just wired on passion.

Marie D.
Program Management Intern

Life's too serious to take seriously

"Don't take yourself too seriously. And don't be too serious about not taking
yourself too seriously." - Howard Ogden
A big problem in the business world is that people tend to take themselves way too seriously. I know some people who don’t have any fun at their jobs, and I think it shows in the work they put out. This is not the case at Liggett. To succeed in this creative industry, you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – at all. Especially as an intern.

As a Program Management Intern at LS, most of my assignments are pretty much what I expected them to be: Writing news releases, building media lists, putting together press kits and doing group intern projects. And of course I get some work no one has fun doing: Making copies, typing up spreadsheets, etc. But I’ve also gotten some assignments I never in a million years expected to do.

A couple weeks ago I was sent out to roam around the city during lunchtime to interview people about their snacking habits (preliminary research for a client). Now, I’m an outgoing person, but I’ve never had the urge to approach complete strangers and talk about potato chips. I was nervous, but I grabbed my video camera and clipboard and went to work.

What I thought was going to be a socially scarring experience ended up being an assignment I will never forget. I learned a couple things from that afternoon:

1. If you have a video camera, people are going to want to be on it.
2. If you tell them you’re an intern, they’ll have sympathy.
3. And most importantly, when assigned to walk around downtown for two hours, wear comfortable shoes.

After those two hours, I felt like I could do anything. I get that feeling a lot working here. And I would actually be excited if I got asked to do it again. Who knew?

So sometimes the wacky jobs end up being the memorable ones. You have to take a leap of faith, because usually you underestimate your capabilities. When looking for an internship or job, just remember the famous quote: Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.

Olivia M.
Program Management Intern

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Building a theme

One of my favorite things about working at LS is the internship program itself. As you probably know from reading our blog, Liggett hired eight interns for the summer. Aside from working with the amazing LS staff, it’s a lot of fun to work with so many people my own age. All of the interns bring something original and valuable to the team.

Currently, the interns are working on our internship project. The project consists of designing a t-shirt, along with any other memorable work that we would like to create. LS has an Intern Wall of Fame, where a t-shirt, picture and poster of the previous summer intern classes are displayed.

The brainstorming meetings for this project have been a blast. It’s awesome when you get to interact with others and feed off of one another’s creativity. Everyone has something to contribute to our meetings. I am confident that we are on our way to developing a unique, creative, memorable theme for our project.

What’s the theme you ask? You’ll just have to wait… I’ll let another intern disclose that information later. All I have to say is that building up the suspense is worth the wait!

Crista S.
Program Management Intern

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Since starting at Liggett I think that I can achieve just about anything if I work hard enough. If I had to give this internship a theme, it would be motivation. Everyone I have met is so motivated and excited to do their work and they do it well. Through getting to know everyone around the office, I see the different backgrounds, schools, majors, and personalities that come together to make this place as great as it is.

Like Adam said in his earlier post, we met with Rick Squire from American Advertising Federation- Cleveland last week and he explained the importance of professional associations. After meeting with him, I felt motivated to go beyond my school organizations and meet people in the professional world. I felt that I could meet the right people and eventually make enough connections to possibly get exactly where I want to go someday. I am not even sure where that is yet, but its nice knowing that there are so many organizations out there to help and guide you.

Also, I promised in my earlier post to get more creative for you guys. Well I was looking at some ads online and I was especially interested in billboards. There are so many cool and creative billboards out today. To see an advertisement go from this to this is just incredible. Both of those advertisements are creative for their time. I know that technology plays a part in all of this, but without the motivation and creativity from the minds designing these things, they would never be possible.

“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.”- Mark Twain
This is how I feel after my first four weeks at Liggett. After my experience at Liggett is over, I cannot wait to see what else I can achieve through the things I have learned and the people I have learned from.

Kelly M.
Finance Intern

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Lesson of the Week: Get Involved

It’s easy to get involved in college with so many clubs and volunteering opportunities to choose from. For instance, check out all the organizations Ohio University offers to the students. On top of the organizations there are so many volunteer opportunities as well. Joining organizations and volunteering is not only fun, but it’s a great way to be more successful in life.

This week at Liggett we had Rick Squire, executive director of the American Advertising Federation – Cleveland, tell us of the importance of getting involved after college. To tell you the truth I never considered joining organizations once I got a job after college. I figured well hey if I get the job, all I need to do is work hard in the office and I will be able to move up the corporate ladder. Man, I was wrong. Getting involved is where it’s at.

There are many organizations for professionals out there. You can find an organization for any career, just google it. For instance, here in Cleveland there is the AAF – Cleveland, PRSA, AMA, SME and many others.

Now let me guess, some of you people reading this might be thinking, “I don’t know if I want to join a professional organization right after college.” That’s cool, you can join a bowling league, a golf league, a chess club, a nature walk club, a boxing club, a fitness center, an ice cream club or {insert here} club/league/association. Volunteering your time is another great way to get involved in your community. It’s hard to put in words the satisfaction you get when you become a volunteer.

On top of all the fun you will be having, you also create a great networking opportunity. Anyone in the business world today will tell you the importance of networking. You need to know people, who know people, who are married to people, who know Bob. So lets all go out there and get involved, if you don’t I guarantee somebody else will.

Adam F.
Program Management Intern

The Social-Spun Web: It's All About Connections

When I first told my mom I was going to study public relations, she told me that in the business world, it’s all about connections. At first, I thought that sounded a little like cheating; does that mean that people who grow up with socialites as parents are going to get to the top faster and with more ease? That’s unfair. But after observing this industry for three weeks, I realized it is far from cheating; it’s the only way to go.

The book I was assigned to read during my internship at Liggett is called The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve only read about one-fourth of the book, but so far it is just reinforcing my mom’s wise words. Life is all about the connections you make with others; people who you can go to for advice, ideas, to lean on when you need a friend and even to find a new job. And let’s face it: Some people are a lot better at making connections than others. Gladwell says these people are called Connectors. These are the people you either want to be like, or be good friends with.

One of the exercises in the book tells you to make a list of a bunch of people you know, even if they are just acquaintances. Then try to trace them back to how you met them. Usually, if you trace your connections all the way back, you will end up with the same three or four people you know most of your friends through. And more likely than not, those Connectors are pretty successful people.

At this point in my life, I don’t consider myself a Connector. I’ve only lived about 21 years and haven’t had that many cultured experiences. And for the record, I wasn’t born into a royal family with socialites as parents. But even those people have to do a little networking of their own. So next time you’re on a plane or even standing in line at the BMV, it wouldn’t hurt to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. You never know whom you’re going to meet; it just might make a life-long connection.

Olivia M.
Program Management Intern

Busy, Busy, Busy

So all of my friends and relatives keep asking me how I like my summer internship at LS and I tell them it’s great.

I’m excited to be here because I get to do real agency work. We’re not doing coffee runs, or filing or making copies (at least that’s not the main part of our jobs here). Aside from the intern projects we are putting together (a T-shirt and these blogs), I’ve learned, hands on, how to use the MRI research database.

What I like about this agency, and this industry in general, is the variety of projects and assignments you get to work on. You never know what the next week, day, hour or minute could bring. If I had to do the same thing everyday, I think I’d go nuts. You could be having a pretty easy-going day and then be slammed with a new client project. I love how fast-paced this industry is. This isn’t the typical office job that is mocked in Office Space; we get to do exciting stuff. This internship is perfect for me because I thrive on days when I’m swamped - and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Marie D.
Program Management Intern