The advertising graduate students found themselves on a whirlwind trip into New York City this weekend with Professor Brian Sheehan for a one-day immersion workshop at top ad agency 360i. They are best known for their data-driven digital work and powerful use of social media. We went in expecting the unexpected, and came out having had a preview of what truly awaits us in the working world.
The workshop was led by Mark Avnet, dean of 360iU — the agency’s internal education program. He’s had professional experience across a variety of agencies and institutions of higher education, and introduced us to the agency before briefing us on our assignment. We would be split into three teams, given three different clients and given the day to apply the algorithms that 360i has developed to new creative executions for the clients. My team worked on music-streaming platform Spotify, while the other two teams worked on car rental service Enterprise, and the New Orleans Tourism Marketing board.
Although no real-world advertising client assignment moves at quite the same alarming pace that this one did, I think the intensity of the projects was not inaccurate. We had a lot of questions to answer and there would never be enough time to do it. We immediately jumped into our research: what kind of person uses Spotify? What’s important to Spotify as a company? What are the brand’s biggest weaknesses? Then we determined how we could reach our target audience: what they like and dislike, what forms of media they use and other factors to consider in our campaign. Having an unlimited budget was a nice perk of a workshop setting as opposed to a real-world scenario.
The most stressful part of the day arrived after the third cup of coffee – or was it the fourth? Presentations. We each showed our day’s work to the rest of our class, Professor Sheehan, Mark and two top strategists from the agency. The pressure was grater than ever because our panelists have had real work experience with the clients we had delved into for just a few hours, and we wanted to do both their work and our own skills justice.
Presentation critiques may have been some tough love, but I know it was a learning experience for all of us. And it’s always better to hear the hard stuff in a classroom of your peers-turned-friends than in front of a legitimate client whose check is going to pay your bills for the next month. My personal mantra is that it’s all about perspective.
Along the same vein, 360i’s mantra is “powered by curiosity.” They don’t just want to know what is happening, they want to know why. They want to add data and analytics to what they already know and if they don’t have the tools to do this, they’ll develop them themselves. I think the same mantra can be applied to the Newhouse advertising cohort: we can’t ever allow ourselves to be satisfied with answers.
Team Spotify was composed of Arthur Badalian, Jakob Bocianski, Shinji Kawata, Shambhavi Rai and Laurie Silverstein.
Team NOLA was composed of Neema Amadala, Christi Frateschi, Hongyue (Clara) Guo, Nidhi Shetty and Izzy Sliker.
Team Enterprise was composed of Gisselle Cedeno, Tyler Coleman, Sandeep Gourkanti, Carly Murphy and Alex Szelewski.
–Laurie Silverstein is a graduate student studying advertising.