Thursday, June 30, 2011

Not a Half-Day, But Half of a Day

My dad, like a lot of dads, always told me that if you do what you love you would never have to work a day in your life. I was lucky enough to realize my passion at a young age so I can’t remember a time in my life where I haven’t claimed I would become an artist when I grow up. Now, at the ripe old age of 21 my passion has never wavered, and my career path has never gone astray. As I’m experiencing life at a "marketing" design firm it only solidifies what I already knew. This is what I want to do with my life, and this is where I’m supposed to be.

With love, there always comes a little bit of headache as I got to experience a deadline to its fullest this week. Some client work was needed by the end of the day, and due to a string of hiccups, the day ran long. Sometimes it seems like if it can go wrong it will. If you clock from the time I left for work in the morning to the time I got home from work at night it totals to about 13 hours, but deadlines are the way of the beast. When work needs to be done you just buckle down and get it done, and even still if I follow the logic of my father’s classic idiom, it is safe to say that I haven’t worked a day this summer.

Like always, catch you guys next week.

Don D.

Creative Intern

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hungry No More!

We just want to thank Little Debbie for our delicious breakfast treats. We're so happy to have our bellies full of goodies. Check out our winning photo from below.

-Liggett Stashower Interns

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The clock's ticking

Everyone deals with deadlines. I think the first time I encountered a deadline was at the age of three. I issued a self-imposed one, in order to force myself to quit sucking my thumb. And then, of course, projects and book reports were due in middle and high school. But, in my experience, those deadlines really only impacted me. It wasn’t until college that my deadlines mattered to more people than just me. Whether it was in my Advertising Campaigns course or in Student Media, meeting my deadlines was important to everyone involved. And this is especially true at Liggett.

Last Friday, I was somewhat frantically trying to write a radio script for a client who wanted to see something the following Monday. I hadn't written a radio script in about a year. I was nervous. I had an end-of-the-day deadline to produce something that could actually be shown to the client. But, with some help and guidance, I ended up with a script that was one of three sent to the client for review.

Obviously, deadlines matter more when clients are thrown in the mix. But my deadlines at Liggett matter to so many other parties. The agency as a whole, the Creative Department, the account team and even the journalism school at Kent State need me to meet my deadlines. And if I can’t write on deadline, I’m probably not going to be able to land a job.

Even though some people claim to create their best work under pressure, I don’t think I’m one of them. I can produce really good work, but with more time and thought the work should, theoretically, improve. But, of course, this deadline-free world isn't possible. Profitability would go out the window. So, I’ll stick to the deadlines given to me and, in true Liggett spirit, learn how to be better and do great work in the time I’m given.

Isabelle J.
Creative Intern

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This post sounds a lot like a motivational speech, but I guess it sort of is

This week, I’ve been assessing my time at LS so far, and establishing some goals for the rest of the internship (and, I guess, for life in general).

Be proactive and make sure I maximize this experience. I don’t want to get to the end of the summer and realize that I missed out on learning new skills because I didn’t challenge myself. I want to jump at every opportunity to learn something new, because that’s what this internship is all about.

Focus on my strengths. There is no need to compare myself to others. I want to do my best at whatever I do, but I don’t need to be an expert at everything. There is no need to try to emulate someone else’s skills better than them, when I have my own skill set to contribute to the agency.

Remember to keep asking questions. Just because I know where the bathroom is, what the good restaurants are, and what the job number is for my current project doesn’t mean I know everything and can stop asking questions. I want to learn more about people’s experiences in the advertising and design world, their specialties, and how they plan to accomplish their career goals.

Keep meeting new people. When I first enter unfamiliar territory–a new class, a new neighborhood, or a new city–I am more outgoing than is natural for me. I have conversations with random people on the bus, at church, in the park, pretty much anywhere there are people, I try to meet them. I encounter a lot of interesting people that way. When I start getting comfortable, this behavior slows, and I feel awkward talking to anyone I don’t already know. I want to keep meeting people, because you never know what you could learn from the person in front of you in line, or next to you on the train. Just last week I was at the park with my camera and saw two musicians playing guitar. I asked if I could take some pictures of them, we started talking, and they asked if I would photograph their concert later that week. I was excited to have a chance to support a local band. I want to always keep a genuine interest in people. "Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing."

Alyse E.

Creative Intern

All Access: Behind the Scenes

Last week was a whirlwind of work...I can't believe I'm nearing the end of my third week here at LS. I can already feel myself gaining knowledge and experience and that feeling is worth all of the early mornings and cups of coffee.

Media relations was the name of the game last week. I had never really given any thought to the hard work that goes into keeping up with the media but when I joined Kendra at an event over the weekend, I realized what exactly goes into media relations. The months of preparation come down to a few short hours of TV footage, radio interviews and newspaper articles. We hurried around the event making sure that all media representatives had the shots they wanted and worked with producers to create footage that captured the essence of the event. Again, I realized the importance of strong communication skills and a good relationship with all of those involved with media coverage. Kendra was quick to make sure everyone was happy--and at the end of the day, she was extremely successful in doing so. Just being able to observe and help her out taught me so much about media relations and how important it is to the client and a successful event.

Now that I've had a little taste of the media relations world, I'm hungry for more. It's a field I'm more interested in exploring and being a part of in the future. Even though most of the work is done behind the scenes, it feels good knowing that it all led to a happy client and a successful media event.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thanks Art Fry

Mr. Fry is the father of post-it notes, and I have become very accustomed to leaving myself tons of post-its each and every day. Some of them with nothing more than a single word on them, but yet, without them I think I ‘d be lost. Each day I seem to take on a little more work. My desk has begun to sprout Liggett Stashower branded notes every day, and after just two weeks my desk is starting to look more like a recycle bin than the clean cubicle it once started as.

Today the creative interns, myself included, began to brainstorm on concepts for an ad campaign. I’ve been waiting to have the leash loosened a bit so we can flex our creative brain muscles. We began with mind mapping, and then we threw around some ideas before deciding to sleep on it. It felt nice to get the gears turning, but I think we can all agree that good ideas don’t spring out of thin air. We have also got the ball rolling on our group t-shirt design project, and let’s just say I have plenty of unicorn sketches to add to the desk clutter. By the end of the day I had a list of projects piling up (via post-it notes) for the following morning, and it truly feels great to be busy.

For your viewing pleasure, here is look at my desk.

Catch you guys next week.

Don D.
Creative Intern

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Headlines and Headaches

I think I might have a mild case of writer's block. I was asked to write a headline for a print ad campaign today, and I thought I came up with some pretty good lines. And I was told I did, but they just weren't “there yet.” I've been taught in class that you might have to write 80 headlines before you get to the winning one. But I've never actually experienced that until now. Even in my Advanced Copywriting course I never struggled this much with a headline. It seemed like my initial ideas were always on the right track, and the final headline came from those first ideas. But right now, I feel like I can’t get to that perfect (or at least close-to-perfect) headline.

I took a break from thinking about the unfinished line for about two hours, but then I got back to racking my brain for the solution. I think I've written more than 30 lines at this point. I've tried variations of existing lines and ideas or thrown those out for new ones all together. I’m not even sure I will know if I do write that one headline that stands out from the rest.

It might sound like I’m complaining, but this is actually a good thing for me to experience. Bosses and clients aren't going to like my first few ideas every time. Those ideas might only be good and not great. This is the first time I have been asked to push past those first 20 headlines or concepts. It’s not easy. It's actually rather frustrating at the moment. But it’s a challenge. And a welcomed one at that. This is exactly the kind of experience I wanted to get out of my internship. There is a reason people really want a Liggett internship. It’s about real work, which isn't always easy.

Now, time to write more headlines. I’m not backing down from this challenge.

Isabelle J.
Creative Intern

Monday, June 20, 2011

Details, details

A week ago the interns were invited to attend commercial shoot. Video is one of my interests, so I particularly enjoyed the shoot. I was aware that video takes a lot of set-up, planning, and attention to detail, but this was the first time I had ever seen that in person. I was enthralled with the whole process. The way the crew seemed to know just how to direct the light to make it look natural and get rid of the shadows, the way the talent could convey frustration with the slightest tightening of his mouth without over-exaggerating, the way the director could orchestrate all of the elements to work together to create a commercial that he can be proud of and that the client loves. Every detail of the shoot was planned, but that did not eliminate spontaneity. Everyone appeared to be very flexible, and were more than willing to make last minute changes in props, materials, camera angles, and such to achieve perfect look for the video. The client, director, and crew were all willing to put in the extra time in order to make the commercial the best it could be.
Following all of this, on Tuesday Don and I were asked to work on duct tape press kits and make a tie and chef hat out of duct tape for WKYC. This is awesome.

Alyse E.

Creative Intern

Friday, June 17, 2011

Putting the Pieces Together

As I sat at my desk nibbling on a half-eaten bagel from Starbucks, I took a look around me at the disaster area that was formerly a neat cubicle. Each piece of paper, folder or post-it serves as a reminder of the work I had put in over the past two weeks. There is the hand written note reminding me that I have to do the mail today, lists of media audits that need to be done and creative supplements to review. I'm starting to realize that even though each piece of material isn't necessarily for the same client, they all fit together somehow.

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, I have learned so much about how a PR agency works. All parts of the machine have to work together in order for it to work. The video shoot that Isabelle and I traveled to on Tuesday was a testament to that. The shoot proved to be a learning experience. There, the creative and account service teams came together to create something great for a client--a valuable asset to the campaign that will help keep their brand strong. Each side brought something to the table that helped the shoot be a success...technical knowledge, client relation skills, creative suggestions. But the the biggest thing I took away from the experience was the importance of a strong relationship with the client. The dynamic that's created from that relationship will help to make things run just a little bit more smoothly. A lot of hard work goes into creating something like a TV spot, but when the director shouts, "Cut!", and the client walks away happy I think that it's definitely worth it for everyone involved.

So yes, keeping track of all the pieces to the puzzle might get difficult sometimes. But once they all come together to making the magic happen, the feeling of accomplishment couldn't be greater.

--Alyssa P.
Brand Management Intern

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How can I possibly be writing another post already?

The days are racing by, and I already feel like I have been here for weeks. Yesterday, Alyse and I headed down to Columbus to witness a commercial shoot. It’s pretty impressive to see how much goes into a sixty-second spot. Not only the time that went into shots that would only be seen for a few moments, but also the attention to detail throughout was pretty incredible. Whether it was making sure the talent flexed enough neck muscles, or maybe the product was just a centimeter to far to the right. Seeing a bit of the production side of TV advertising was definitely a great experience.

Today I showed up to a good chunk of unopened emails I got while away on our little business trip, and I even had a voicemail. With the day nearly over, I still haven’t figured out how to check it, but either way I’m impressed I have one to check. I’m also proud to say that I’m quickly getting to a point where I am at least 90% sure what a persons name is before I walk up to ask them something.

So far everyday has brought on a new challenge or a new experience to learn from, and I’m more anxious than anyone to see what I’ll be doing the next time you hear from me.

Catch you guys next week.

Don D.

Creative Intern

Monday, June 13, 2011

A different kind of classroom

After finishing my first week at Liggett, I breathed a sigh of relief. Not because I was so glad it was over, but because I was so glad I could actually be a productive member of the team. I received both positive feedback and constructive criticism. I think I produced quality work my first week, but I know that with the help and advice from Liggett employees, I will be turning out highly improved ideas and copy by the end of my time here.

But aside from the actual writing-related work during my first week, I learned some other interesting, useful things, too.

1. Traffic patterns are crazy, but I think I’ve found the Golden Time to get to Cleveland from Kent. It’s 6:50 in the morning. I usually get to work about 30 minutes early. But I left at 7 one morning, and I was almost late.

2. There are maybe more than three Subways within walking distance of the Hanna Building. That’s a lot.

3. It is a blessing and a curse to have a Starbucks in your basement.

4. Riding PARTA home to Kent isn’t really that bad. At least I can nap.

5. Permanent adhesive really is permanent. There is no leeway.

6. It is acceptable to play Frisbee/catch in the office.

7. There is a barber shop on the third floor of the Hanna Building. Do people actually get haircuts there?

8. Sorting mail is kind of fun. It’s interesting to see who gets what at the office.

9. In order to function in the morning, I have to go to bed by midnight, which is a change from my previous 2:30 a.m. bedtime.

10. Coffee is now my ambrosia.

I wonder what I’ll learn next. This is one of the things I am realizing I really like about this internship. It’s not just about advancing my copywriting skills; it’s about learning and experiencing new things in any way you can every day.

Isabelle J.
Creative Intern

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Thankfully, my dream did not come true

The past week has been a flurry of moving, unpacking, meeting new people, and starting an internship unlike any job I've had before. Since moving to the Cleveland area last Saturday, I have successfully located the nearest Chick-fil-a, learned how to use public transportation, gotten to know the family I'm living with, and shifted my sleep schedule to that of a responsible adult (I’m now going to bed at 10:30pm instead of 4:30am).

I am happy to report that my first week as an intern at Liggett Stashower has been nothing like the nerve-induced nightmare I experienced the night before my first day. Rather than mean bosses, unfriendly coworkers and menial tasks, Liggett has welcomed this summer’s interns with smiling faces, encouraging mentors, and real work. When we were shown to our workspaces, I was pleasantly surprised that we were not thrown into a closet with a laptop, as I have seen some companies do. Instead, we each got our very own cubicle. Cubicle has too negative a connotation. It’s more like a workspace that, while maintaining a sense of privacy, encourages collaboration and communal playlists.

I look forward to the variety of experiences I will have here at LS. Already, I have made line illustrations, painted little doorknobs, created cut paper illustrations, worked on a logo, helped pack invitation boxes, and researched paper airplanes. In addition to the variety of work I will be doing here in the building, I am also looking forward to the numerous excursions to printers, TV stations, and other agencies as well.

After just one week, I can see that the Liggett Stashower internships really are the best around.

Alyse E.

Creative Intern

"Oh, the places you'll go..."

I grew up in a small town, where everyone knew everything about everybody…obviously an environment that is much different than that of Cleveland, OH. Every face I see on the street is one of a stranger so needless to say I was just a little bit nervous when it came to spending my first day in the city as an intern for Liggett Stashower.

Taking the first step into the real world is never easy, but when you’re walking into an organization with strong values, creativity and interesting clients it helps to make things less nerve-wracking. Sure, the first couple of days as a new intern might be awkward or intimidating, but as soon as we were inside the doors of the Hanna Building I think we all began to feel at ease. We were told to make ourselves at home at Liggett and it was reassuring to know that we would actually make a contribution to the great things that happen in this office on a daily basis.

But I’ll be honest: when I realized I was the only intern in brand management, I was worried that things would get a little lonely. I was quickly comforted by the others working with me on the account side of Liggett; I would never be bored OR alone. Since then, everyone has kept me busy with all sorts of different projects. One minute I could be running a package to E. 9th Street and the next I could be auditing the media relations of a client. Knowing that I would play a role here put my mind at ease and by the end of Day 1 I was ready to take on that role and go above and beyond expectations.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve already got three full days of work under my belt but I’m ready for whatever comes my way over the course of these next 10 weeks. Whether it’s creating press kits, building media lists or prepping for client meetings, I can have confidence that the work I do at Liggett is work that will help transform this small-town girl into a savvy public relations professional.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Just Getting My Feet Wet

My first day at Liggett Stashower started hours before I actually arrived in sunny Cleveland, Ohio. My fear of arriving late after over an hour-long daily commute convinced me that I should be up even before the sun. The traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected because it’s only ever bad when you’re running late, and I arrived well before I needed to. After reading for a bit and sipping down a cup of Joe I headed upstairs. One by one, the interns filtered into the lobby making awkward ‘nice to meet you’ conversions while consciously anticipating the day.

Soon enough we were meeting, greeting, and buzzing through a barrage of tours and training conferences. As we discussed the upcoming summer months I began to realize what a great opportunity this internship plans to be. There will be many great opportunities not just for experience, but for networking as well. We have multiple field trips set up around town to further immerse ourselves into Cleveland and the possible opportunities it has to offer. I’ve heard over and over that it’s all about who you know. So in turn, I plan to meet as many people as I possibly can over the next couple of months.

During the course of the day we were called upon for different odd jobs helping out with a number of projects, and it was exciting to break into some stuff on the first day. By days end I finally got a chance to get back into familiar territory with Adobe Illustrator. I helped design a couple logos as a part of the conference room renaming process. I’m not sure if I’m authorized to disclose any more information about this, but just know that they promise to be very unique and maybe even magical. I am eager to see what unfolds as the summer moves forward, and I am ready to jump in with both feet on the designing end, but for the first few days I am okay with testing out the water.

Donald D.

Creative Intern

Monday, June 06, 2011

Beers and Mocktails

My first day as an intern at Liggett Stashower began with a sink full of beers. Then came the X-Acto Blades. Don’t worry. Nothing crazy happened. And from that point on, I got the feeling that my time at Liggett will be anything but boring. The other interns and I got to scraping off the beer labels, as the bottles were soon to get a new label featuring an invitation to a Liggett event.
But our first day wasn’t spent cleaning or doing other typical “intern things.” We didn’t have to get someone coffee or pick up dry cleaning. I’m sure we all would do it without hesitation, but we got to jump right into actual work. After meeting many members of the Liggett family, touring the agency and getting settled into our new cubicles, we were given our first assignments. That’s where the mocktails come in. We were given the job of finding fruity non-alcoholic drink recipes for an upcoming client project. And I even got another assignment to be due by the next day’s creative team meeting.
It was a pretty busy first day. But we are definitely not complaining. I can’t wait to see what other projects will be coming my way. I will be learning every day, which is something not everyone can say about his or her job or internship experience. I know Liggett will help me “be better,” and (I hope) I can contribute something positive to it as well.

Isabelle J.
Creative Intern

Don't screw up

That's the advice that Sara Stashower would always give our interns on their first day. I thought I would expound on that advice for our 2011 summer interns who start today and anyone else at the beginning of their internship.

Every company and internship is going to be different, but these tips I've picked up have always served me well.

  1. Carry a notepad and a pen everywhere - Even if you have a photographic memory, bring something to write with and write on. Your notes will prove useful given the amount of projects that fly through our agency on a regular basis. Plus note-taking equipment says, "I'm paying attention."
  2. Put down the phone - You millennials may have been born with free nights and weekends contracts but you're not here to txt LOLs to your bffs. Cell phones are great distractions but distracted isn't on the list of qualities we look for in fantastic interns. Also, don't hide behind your desk phone or instant messaging service. Besides the work you're assigned, your job at any internship is to make connections and get noticed. Get out of your cube and have a face-to-face conversation.
  3. Ask questions - No one expects you to be an expert. Our business is filled with acronyms and jargon. Also it's better to ask a boatload of questions at the start of a project than one that sinks your ship at the end. 
  4. Meet deadlines - This is the real world. There are no make-up quizzes or extra credit. Miss a deadline in this business and it costs money and clients. That's no good.
  5. No prairie dogging - This typically starts around 4:30 in the afternoon. We start seeing intern heads popping up over their cubicles to see if the coast is clear so they can slip out a few minutes early. We're pretty flexible but this is your time to shine. Watching the clock makes people think that you have someplace better to be. Be at work physically and mentally.
  6. No whining - Understand that no one likes every single part of their job. There are going to be tasks and assignments that you won't like doing. Don't cop an attitude as though something is beneath you. Being helpful will get you noticed. Whiners never win - unless you're LeBron.
  7. Don't wait for work to come to you - If you've got spare time, ask around and see if anyone else needs help. You might get included on the project of your dreams.
Easy enough, right? Good luck not screwing up.

Mark Szczepanik
Associate Creative Director
Internship Co-chair