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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  Eager Beavers: Surviving an Internship at Energy BBDO

Eager Beavers: Surviving an Internship at Energy BBDO

Posted on October 1, 2010 and read 6,537 times

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jeffhornung Eager Beavers: Surviving an Internship at Energy BBDOJeff Hornung
CW/ Energy BBDO Intern
VCU Brandcenter

stephenbardwell Eager Beavers: Surviving an Internship at Energy BBDOStephen Bardwell
AD/ Energy BBDO Intern
VCU Brandcenter

I once owned a truck called Big 10. The truck had a 450cc engine in it and from what I understand, this is a huge engine. The truck was an automatic and every time it shifted from first to second the back tires would squeal. An unavoidable occurrence no matter how gingerly you drove. No matter how slowly you accelerated. No matter how low the speed limit.

Our goal as interns this summer was to be Big 10. Hit them hard and squeal our tires like crazy.

Getting accepted for our internship at Energy BBDO meant someone there thought we had been making some pretty good fake ads. But, once we arrived at the agency, that didn’t matter. We were making real ads, for real clients, with real consequences.

Time to put our big boy pants on.

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So, the unspoken agreement we had was to never say “no” to any work, no matter how insignificant or unimportant it seemed. The thing is, as interns, anytime anyone has work they are not very keen on, they throw it at you. The other thing is, this happens a lot. They’re testing you. So, rather than grunt and complain about not getting a shot to stretch your creative wings with the big boys, you take that banner ad for laxatives you were just given and you make it the best damn banner ad anyone has ever seen. You make every single little revision they ask for with a smile on your face, and you do it quicker and with more enthusiasm than anyone expected. And after it’s done, you thank them for giving you the opportunity to work on that banner ad and you let them know that if any other laxative work comes down the pipeline (no pun intended) that you’d be more than happy to work on it.

What we’re saying is, as an intern you need indestructible work ethic and an even better attitude. You want to show off your talent, but you also want the agency to trust you and like you.

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Taking on every assignment has it’s consequences though. We made mistakes. Lots of them. And we worked very hard, and stayed up very late to make those mistakes. Our eagerness to show them the breadth of our amazing thinking, brilliant conceptual twisting ability and humor caused us to forget the direction we were given on projects, and therefore miss the entire idea. So, we learned to listen very carefully to our creative director, take their direction, deliver on that direction to the best of our ability, and then give them more.

For example, we were given an intern project this summer with a very simple, straight forward direction. So, we worked our tails off and delivered on that direction. Then, as a bonus, we gave them these three videos that they weren’t expecting. It was an opportunity to not only show that we thought bigger than the project at hand, but also to demonstrate the fun and freedom we were given at Energy BBDO. Our goal was to get our Chief Creative Officer, Dan Fietsam, to laugh, or grunt, or just shift in his chair a little when he saw them.

Well, he laughed. Quite heartily. In fact, later that day, he interrupted our ping-pong game to say “good work” (he may have said, ‘get to work’, but that’s not what we heard). We completed the assignment we were given, then did something extra to show off our skills, and it paid off.

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Interning is all about making sure you work hard, making sure people don’t think you’re a weirdo and making sure you get your voice into your work. If you do those things effectively, you might get a job. Or, if you’re like Big 10, you’ll be highly recommended and recruiters will be asking you to smoke your tires at their agency soon enough.

  • Anonymous

    Preface: Beavers. I am not discounting your work. This is not a critique as much as it is an observation indicative of young, hungry creatives with tunnel vision for advertising. Your truck: 450 cubic inches, not cubic centimeters. You wanna learn? Learn something tangible, too. Actually know how to replace the alternator on that old truck, instead of just borrowing it for analogies. This will serve you well. Balance your work by working equally as hard, perfecting something else ONLY YOU can do. Ten years from now you’ll realize all that time you put into making ads, sites, commercials and viral YouTube videos really just amounted to a bunch of paper and pixels that nobody ever gave more than 30 seconds of a crap for. In ten years, there will be a whole new family of eager beavers ready to repeat the process in the next new media, while you fear for your next paycheck. You are creative, not just creatives. Balance your time and talent wisely. Develop your uniqueness apart from this commodity we call advertising.

  • Anonymous

    Great work.

    Too often interns come into our agency with a sense of entitlement, expecting that they’ll instantly be put on high profile clients and that their work will simply blow us away and we’d then be idiots for not hiring them. Not so. It sounds like you guys have the right idea. Best of luck.

    And not to disagree with adveteran, but staying current and continuing to do fresh, innovative work will earn you longer than a 10 year career in this business. Rather than becoming a jaded old ad man and turning your attention away from your craft and towards learning how to juggle or to change your own oil, stay current with emerging technologies and new trends, continue working on your craft, and I promise you’ll produce work that people will give more than 30 seconds of crap for.

    Maybe you guys should bottle up all that young energy you have and sell it to agencies. Sounds like some could really use it. Cheers.

  • André Barro

    Did you guys get the roll? I mean, are you still at Energy?

    gj guys




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