Why do I think I’ll become a successful advertising professional?

I recently wrote a post about Diversity in Advertising for my AAF Most Promising Multicultural Student application. I realized, that entry contained some of my best writing and most honest reflection (at least for having only 300 words!). The second question was such a thought-provoking subject, I’ll never be able to articulate it as clearly and honestly as I did for my application. So if you’re a hiring manager here to spy on me, welcome! And if you ask me about why I think I’ll be successful in this industry, here’s what I’d say (in 300 words or less!)

How can your skills and experience enable you to become a successful advertising professional?

Six internships, countless leadership opportunities, and indispensable mentors have helped prepare me for a career in advertising.

I tried to be intentional and strategic when I was seeking out different opportunities. Instead of having six different internships within a single specialty, I pursued opportunities across the different fields. I wanted to graduate with a background and confidence within strategy and writing but I also wanted to be articulate in the other focuses in advertising. I wanted a more holistic education. When I’m settled into my agency position, I want to be able to contribute to the other departments from a knowledgeable position. Knowing our expectations and boundaries ahead of time, in my opinion, gives me more flexibility in the creative I can produce and the suggestions I propose.

I’ve also gravitated to opportunities of leadership. In the Univ. of Tennessee’s Ad Club, I serve as the Social Media Director, but beyond that, I’ve made a personal commitment to the new members that I would support them as much as I could. I’ve taken an active leadership role volunteering at the 2016 Knoxville ADDY’s, UT Social Media Week 2016, and just recently accepted an invitation to serve on the Dean’s Undergrad Student Advisory Council.

The leaders in my life take initiative, strive to be a positive influence, and create an impact in everything they do. That is the type of leader I’d like to be as I move forward into my advertising career. I think the advertising industry is run by leaders, and I hope to fit right in.


Why is Diversity important in Advertising?

I just submitted my application to the AAF Most Promising Multicultural Student program for 2017, and man was that difficult for me! One of the portions of the application was entirely too significant for a 300 word entry. Why is diversity important in advertising? I really felt challenged to articulate my feelings, but after a lot of cliches, bad metaphors, and well-written bullsh*t, I finally found a way to say how I really felt. I’m sure in 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 years, I’ll have something entirely different to say. I wanted to capture it today so I have something to look back on.

Why is diversity important in advertising?

Advertising is no longer about identifying features and highlighting benefits. Consumers are reaching for brands that fit into their everyday lives. Our goal as advertisers is to help the audience visualize our brand fitting seamlessly into their homes, families, and lifestyles.

To show our brands integrated into the target’s lifestyle, our message has to be as authentic as possible. We have to prove that we understand how different and unique their consumer’s lives are. That means taking the risk and incorporating diverse characters, problems, and story lines when we share our brand story. Multicultural thought leaders see life through a different lens and can draw their unique backgrounds, cultures, and knowledge. If we can see the problem or the consumer lifestyle through their eyes, we can become better storytellers for our brand. .

Companies shy away from diversity in their advertising because they consider it risky. In a time where everyone is offended by everything, no one wants to be the controversial brand. I think that’s what makes advertising unique from sources like news and media outlets.

In our industry, diversity is more natural, familiar, is flexible to meet the consumer demand for authenticity. In the news and media however, the only conversations being had about diversity are alarming, painful, high intensity, and very hard to swallow. Instead of authentic, it is controversial. Diversity shouldn’t be controversial. It’s an integral part of our everyday lives, interpersonal relationships, and decisions.

Shying away from diversity creates a barrier between brands, minority audiences, and every other consumer whose lives are rich with diversity.  With a brand story exclusive of no one, our companies are one step closer to seamlessly fitting into their audience’s life. Companies that embrace this fact replace audience barriers with consumer relationships.


Dear Young Ad Student: 15 Strategy Terms You Can Never Be Too Familiar With

Dear Young Ad Student:

No matter what focus you choose to pursue, I urge you to develop skills across the different pathways. The best copywriters have to understand the basics of strategy. The best art directors and designers have to have a respect for the account management process. Media planners and buyers need to be familiar with the the brand’s PR efforts. Even a social media savant should be in tune with the research backing the campaign. Advertising is like a foreign language with many dialects. Anything you can do to be fluent will propel you forward in your career.

With that said, I wanted to share some Planning (also known as Strategy) terminology taught by the one and only Ron Taylor (Remember the 6 Segment Strategy Wheel?) These 15 terms  just might save your life in all the coursework to come. And of course, your careers as well!

  1. Creative strategy articulation – developing message strategy based on research
  2. Tactic – A tool used to achieve strategy, based on previously made objectives
  3. Tactic Evaluation – Reviewing to see if the tactics worked
  4. Context – Perimeters to help determine meaning of things and ideas in people’s lives. Context determines meaning.
  5. Ethnography – In depth study of culture and individuals within it
  6. Reality – There are two: Individual reality and Shared realities. Reality is socially constructed
  7. Bracketing Interview – Accounts for prejudices and biases
  8. Auto-driving – Interview extension, added at the end of an interview to drive discussion further.
  9. Interview guides – 3-5 main topics that keep you on track during the interview.
  10. Emic – Participant language (insider terms)
  11. Etic – Researcher language
  12. Grounded Theory – forming of theory AFTER reviewing data
  13. Insight – Patters/Ideas gleaned from observation and behavior
  14. Account Planning – Also known as strategy, began in England in the 1950’s to ensure the consumer perspective is considered in the qualitative data
  15. What activity matters most in planning? – LISTENING!

Total Greek to you? That’s ok! Just bookmark this and remember me when you take Dr. Ronald Taylor’s Account Planning class. If you don’t get the privilege to being his student, you can still hone in on the concepts he urges us to remember as we pursue our ad careers. If you have any questions, please reach out to me! I’ll help explain the best I can (or refer you to the professors who are way smarter than I am!)


Good Luck,

Senior Ad Student, Graduating in 7 months and 09 days.






Dear Young Ad Student: Love and Work

Dear Young Ad Student,

Choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.choose-a-job-you-love

I don’t know if Winston Churchill, Confucious, or Abraham Lincoln said it – but they never worked in advertising. It’s an encouraging notion , but I’m sorry to say, it’s a load of bologna. I’ve loved writing since the day I could hold a crayon. I’ve written poems, songs, research papers, complex proposals, blogs, brochures, TV scripts, and radi
o spots. I adore writing – I don’t care what.

All that said, I have worked damn hard to get where I am.

I’ve worked every day in intense coursework, agency internships, volunteer positions, and even trivial part-time jobs to pay for the textbooks I work hard to read. The moment I realized I wanted to become an advertiser, that was just the beginning. I am going to work hard every day until I retire from this industry.

That’s just how this industry works. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are or how much you love your field. Advertising is run by pistols, hustlers, go-getters, and fireballs. And it doesn’t just stop with working hard – you have to work harder than the agency beside you competing for your client’s time and attention. And the moment you let up, you fall behind.

Here’s the good news:

The harder you work, the easier it becomes. Your best work is always one step ahead of you, instead of miles. You stay on the brink of your most incredible achievement – you reach it. You celebrate. And you push forward towards bigger and better things.

Plus, you’re doing what you love. Nothing beats that.

Good Luck,

Senior Ad Student, Graduating in 7 months and 17 days.


11 Secrets To A Better Live-Tweet Session.

Last Week, the University of Tennessee hosted dozens of the industry’s most innovative, successful, inspirational, and completely kick ass digital professionals. UT Social Media Week has been bringing state-of-the-art tech and digital knowledge to the students of UT for 5 years now. They seemed to touch on every  vital skill – except how to live-tweet an event like a champion.

1) Find and share the on-screen media.
If a speaker is presenting graphics during a presentation, it’s probably a key component of the message. If you can follow the source and locate that chart, graphic, image… whatever it is, get it in the hands of the audience.


2) Capture concepts, not just quotes
Quote after quote can get really boring, especially if the people around you are hearing the same quote. If you can turn that statement into a clear and concise message in 140 characters, you might result in a more memorable message.

3) Video Clips
Is a powerful statement coming up? A really strong answer to a good question? If you’re in a good position for audio and video, record it! Sharing video is a nice way to break up a digital wall of text.

4) Flip the View
You might have 18 people tweeting the same comments and images. Front row seat views of the speaker and the “one thing they recommend from their experience”… Try changing the perspective. What is the audience doing? Capture that engagement and the expressions. Document the really great questions that everyone was thinking.


5) Support Tech Difficulties
Our guest speaker ran into issues loading a video that was a huge aspect of his message. While our tech crew ran to the stage, I tracked down the video and shared it with the audience. The presentation was up and running quickly, before everyone could view the tweeted video. Had we not had our great crew, the presentation would have crashed and burned – unless we could all view it on our phones…

6) Handwritten key concepts
Want to break up the digital wall of text again? Write out a powerful statement and take a picture of it. It will stand out and bring more attention to your speaker’s message.


7) Gif/Emoji
Don’t be afraid to incorporate Gifs and Emojis! You can still create an intelligent dialog and convey the message while still putting a personal twist.


8) Assist the Storyteller
Remember that the purpose of the event is the Speaker and their message. Tweeters following the event aren’t there for you. They are there to hear the story that the presenter is telling. Your job is to assist the storyteller.

9)Track your Hashtag
You aren’t the only person discussing your event online. If you track the conversations happening, you can really elevate the message and develop connections along the way.


10) Tag the Speaker
Don’t forget to note the speaker’s Twitter handle! Be certain to tag them on comments that their followers will appreciate!

11) Network with the Speakers before.
Connect ahead of time if you can! I always steal a front row seat and let the speaker know that I’ll have my eyes on my phone and my camera snapping throughout their event. I want them to know that I’m promoting their message, not ignoring it.

Twitter Highlights from UTSMW16



Twitter Highlights from Univ. of Tennessee Social Media Week 2016.



I made it my unofficial job this week to live tweet the quotes and commentary from our fantastic guest speakers this week! This was our 5th annual Social Media Week at UT, and this year we really blew it out of the water!

Check out my favorite moments that happened in the Twittersphere this week!
1. Think about your content through its lifecycle. Which media platform can your message hit next? #utsmw16

2. Develop a strategy before you dive into a new platform. Do you have the tools to feed the beast? @malcolli #utsmw16
3. Take ownership of your presence online. Maintain your brand so it’s accessible and authentic #utsmw16

4. Event driven interactive, like on air Twitter scrolls and in show polling is on fire right now for Scripps Home Category #utsmw16
5. There’s a unique perspective that comes from self-made digital talent…it can cultivate some big ideas for your branding. #utsmw16

6. Content should engage, inspire, or bring practical solutions to your audience @Mariel_Clark #utsmw16

7. Whether a product of a brainstorm or inspired by audience action, new ideas for digital projects come from everywhere. @malcolli #utsmw16

8. “Aim to be shareworthy. Like, all the time” @wildpat_3000
9. “You’re allowed to tell the same story twice…just tell it from a different point of view” -@wildpat_3000 #utsmw16

10. What does social media, beer pouring, and music production have in common? Give your audience a real experience. #utsmw16
11. “Walk in the eminence of you.” – @warsteiner #utsmw16

12. Take social comments with a grain of salt. The people who love your “diy” are going to like. But commentators are another story. #utsmw16
13. “It’s crucial that your staff understand your brand so they can articulate your strengths values and personality to your customers.” @UTSMW

14. “You can’t coach passion. Let your passion drive where you want to go.” -@pauljankowski1 #UTSMW16
15. Most authentic [social] content is full of imperfections. That’s what makes brands more human. #utsmw16 #andrewvollmer

16. [Social] is less about perfection and more about experimentation. Testing and learning is the name of the game. #utsmw16 #andrewvollmer
17. If you can’t explain it in a sentence, it better be worth saying. #keepitsimplestupid #andrewvollmer #utsmw16

18. “The simpler the better – be clear, don’t over complicate the creative. You only have a few seconds to capture user’a attention” @UTSMW
19. “Project briefs are the bible of the agency world.” #AndrewVollmer #utsmw16

20. “Create topical content – contectual, cultural, seasonal relevance always prevails.” #andrewvollmer #utsmw16
21. As Millenials, we are inherently excellent social media managers. #not #putinwork #learnyourtrade @UTSMW

22. Three vital skills Mark says you need: 1. Empathy 2. Great writing skills 3. Confidence to speak up #utsmw16
23. You guys are rocking #UTSMW16 — Can’t believe it’s been 5 years. See you guys on the news tonight! #WATE

24. That’s an 80 inch, 200lb, touch screen monitor being installed in the @adamcb Social Media Command Center. #utsmw16

25. Democracy only works if people are able to think about an issue in a 360 degree manner, instead of focusing on self-interest. #UTSMW16

26. “This will be one of the most studied elections in history. 2016 is the Storytelling election.” #utsmw16 @LBinTheDistrict @UTSMW

Colgate/Marriott #EveryDropCounts (Brazil)

Today on Linkedin, Young and Rubicam shared an awesome guerrilla campaign – a team effort by Marriott and Colgate in Brazil.

As a Marriott front desk host for almost two years, it’s become a brand that is close to my heart. Colgate’s pursuit to bring attention to water conservation was brilliantly executed. Teaming with Marriott is just another big name raising their hands and saying, shouldn’t we be aware of this concern?

Colgate’s #EveryDropCounts was introduced at the 2016 Super Bowl in a PSA style commercial. It was an adaption to an spot by Y&R Peruin 2014 for Colgate in Latin America.

It is really amazing to watch a campaign come full circle, crossing media, international borders, and entire industries. I’m glad to watch my company Marriott participating in the global effort to conserve water.


Chasing Internships and Chasing God.


I’m going to have a lot of praises to sing when I finally get that phone call.

Many of you may know that I’ve invested months of time and tears into pursuing internships this upcoming summer. I’ve learned things about myself that I never realized- how ambitious, persistent, doubtful, and impatient I can be. I’ve found support in places I never expected and watched some cracks form in relationships I never expected. Every day, something new is revealed to me.

All I need now is an opportunity revealed to me, then maybe I can calm down.

I have to admit, I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing Advertising. Every night I pray for God to grant me peace and patience, then every morning I get up and hustle to make it happen. I’m watching the pieces fall into place, but I really need to step back and let God do His thing. In the meantime, I just plan on thanking Him every chance I get, for my drive, for my support system, for my opportunities so far. Maybe, He’ll stand a little closer to me if the news isn’t what I’d expected.

This is Easter weekend, and instead of spending the whole weekend on LinkedIn, updating my portfolio, and sweating over an empty inbox, I’m going to try to relax. My Dad reminded me that no matter what happens, it happened the way God had planned. I need to fuel my faith first, and let Him do what He does best. He will take care of me, even when it’s dark and bleak. Even when it seems hopeless – God is full of surprises. Like resurrecting Jesus and such.

Everyone have a wonderful Easter! I love you all!


Why I Should Be in Ad Club Executive Boardmember?



So, I applied for the University of Tennessee Advertising Club Executive Board. We had to tell in 1-2 sentences why we would be suitable for the positions  (up to 3) we were pursuing. We will be holding speeches and elections, but I wanted my future club members to know where I stand for each position. So there you have it… 2 sentences or less, why do I think I have what it takes?

I would be a great president because I’m ready to go the distance to take our content, activities, and speakers to the next level. Instead of reiterating what “tools to have in your tool belt to be successful in advertising”, we should try to make sure every member has those “tools” before they graduate.

As vice president, I would strive to make the ad club a welcoming place where members and visitors are expanding their skills and network. Our job should be to elevate our members as much as possible, in confidence and professionalism.

I would be a good social media director because 90% of my personal tweets are to the @UTADPR or @utkadclub accounts promoting industry news, internship opportunities, and ad comedy. 100% of my professional tweets have brought my clients success in their categories.


Now I’m moving into presentation mode, 2 minutes for each position. Wish me luck over the next week! I have big ideas for the ’16-’17 Club