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.


How to be the World’s Greatest Marketing Intern (His Words, Not Mine)

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by Phoebe Spooner, {grow} Community Member

From one {grow}-ling to another, I’m here to share what I’ve learned in the past five months as a young professional in the cut-throat internship world. My name is Phoebe and I am Mark’ Schaefer’s intern. Mark offered me this opportunity after my sophomore year at the University of Tennessee. I was young, inexperienced, and believe it or not, studying in an entirely different field of communication. Mark saw my content marketing potential buried below my creative advertising shell, and thus I became Phoebe, the Amazing Intern (His Words, Not Mine).

Now, I know there’s a huge community of young professionals that follow{grow}. I thought it would be cool to share a few tips on how to walk away the most employable intern you can possibly be.

1. Hit the ground running

It may take some time finding your place in the food chain, but the best way to start is to dive in.

The first few weeks can be intimidating because you aren’t sure what’s expected of you. The best way to overcome this is to exceed their expectations, or at least try. For me, I had to spend some quality time getting acquainted with Excel, but Mark was kind enough to sit down and go over the basics for me. Just a few months later, I’m crafting the finest tables in my advanced courses at school.

2. Reach out to predecessors

At Mark’s suggestion, I contacted Mark’s previous intern, and she has been a goldmine for suggestions and support–especially when I was just getting started. After one reply, Brittany’s email reassured me that I was in the right place, and with hard work, this team would help me grow and keep growing.

3. Be 100% transparent

Whatever you do, don’t lie about your abilities. Do you know why? Because they can’t teach you until they know what to teach. The goal is to communicate at every step of the way. Your concerns, road bumps, and even the little victories. You’ll get more out of your time, and your company will get more out of you.

4. Cultivate an arsenal of new skills (besides getting coffee)

At the University of Tennessee, they encourage students to only pursue internships that will challenge you in your field of study. That means unless your field is the coffee industry, you should be doing more than making coffee runs.

You should walk away from your experience with an arsenal of new skills that will help you stand out. If your internship isn’t providing you chances to learn and grow, you should fight for more exposure to the skills you’ll need in your next phase.

5. Don’t beat yourself up.

This one hits home for me. I’m still learning that I’ve got a lot more mistakes to make before I’m the best intern I can be. Mistakes can be hard to face, but you’re surrounded by people who are invested in your progress and success. Don’t take it too hard when they’re honest with you.

6. Represent your company at all times.

Maybe it’s just the industry, but I’m very conscientious of how powerful making a good impression can be. Because you’re an extension of your team, you’ve got to maintain a level of professionalism on and off the clock. Whether I’m joining Mark on a client call, or I’m touching base with remote team members, I try to remember that I’m a part of the company dynamics. I’m a part of the success puzzle.

Do you have any other tips for a successful internship? Share them in the comments below!

phoebe-spoonerPhoebe Spooner is a blossoming creative advertiser and blogger with a passion for digital marketing. She is currently studying at the Univeristy of Tennessee and working as Mark Schaefer’s intern. After graduation, she aspires to be an art director, copywriter, or director of content ignition.


This post was written as part of the Grow community for BusinessesGrow. which provides businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become better marketers. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program as an intern, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent BusinessesGrow’s positions, strategies or opinions. BusinessesGrow had  final editorial control of this content.
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Sharon Price John: Build-A-Bear CEO, and my Spirit Animal


You know you’re a true advertising student when the only time you wear makeup anymore is for Ad Club Day at the University of Tennessee. We had been jazzed all week with excitement for our guest speaker, the one and only Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear and Alumnus from the UT Ad program.

Sharon went on the New York City Professional Development trip through UT(the one I just got a scholarship for). She was a sponge the entire trip, learning as much as she could between the time they landed to the moment she opened her hotel window on the last day and shouted. “I’m coming back”.

She got an internship with an industry leading agency in Knoxville called Tombras, which led to other local opportunities. She was working in a different agency when she realized that New York was where she belonged in the next stage of her career. With nothing but the Redbook (a national list of ad agencies) and a list of Top 100 Agencies from a recent copy of AdAge, she crafted a truly insane plan. She decided that she wanted to work in a top 10 Global Agency in Manhattan, and she was going to pick up the phone and call these agency’s Executives and ask to send in a resume.

Believe it or not, there’s a big difference between sending a resume to an HR department and having your resume walked to the HR desk by the Vice President of the company. Write that one down, Phoebe. What’s the worst that could happen?

So here’s where Sharon loses her absolute mind. After getting a few calls back, she decided she would go to Manhattan and take down three interviews a day… I mean how big can the little island be, right? Surely that’s possible.

Well, she made it possible. And it’s a good thing she did, because here’s where my ENTIRE Ad Club gasped aloud: She HAD to made it possible. She HAD to get a job offer because… she already left her apartment in Knoxville. All her things were in storage besides the suits in her luggage and her briefcase.

So she’s clearly a kick ass woman, and DDB recognized this during her second interview. They offered her a job, but told her they would call her in a few days with details. Sharon then pulls another “what’s the worse that could happen?” She opens her mouth and her “No Lose, No Fail Attitude” spilled out.

She says, “Why not hire me right now. Today?” AND THEY DID!

If you can’t tell, Sharon is my spirit animal. 1) She’s kick ass. 2) She is highly motivated. 3) She won’t take no for an answer 4) She gets shit done. Today she is the CEO of Build-A-Bear, and every step of her journey, every creative, strategic, and corporate rung on the latter of success… she completely slayed. I’m beyond amazed by this woman who went from nowheresville in East Tennessee, to Knoxville, to the top of the world. 

Calling All Vols: Volunteer Gear is pouring into KARM as We Speak. #GBO

Attention University of Tennessee Volunteers

Remember last semester when the Vol Shops put all of the Adidas on 50% off? And half of you was like *throws money at teller *walks out IN #11 Jersey. But the other half of you was like…. *throws money at teller *walks out with Anatomy textbook in tears.

The only thing we hate more than 8 a.m’s is the wait for Football Season. All we can do to pass the time is gear up. And do I have news for you. Today, I was dealhunting at KARM (Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries), the thrift store. I was minding my own business when one of the managers rolled out an entire rack of Orange and White. Then another rack. Then another rack. Then rack number four.

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People.  Someone bought out ALL the Adidas and donated it to our neighborhood KARM. If you thought 50% off was a steal, you need to see KARM’s prices. Plus, the money is going back to our community to provide hot  meals and safe shelter for our neighbors.Can you say, win-win? The gear has been distributed to KARMs all over town!

And really, is there a better way to prep for the season? Vol Nation at it’s best. We’re so lucky to have an education, housing, access to cafeterias full of food – We’re the lucky ones. Now is our chance to rev up that Volunteer Spirit before the season starts.

After I tried on like 15 things, the manager mentioned that the four racks before me were just the beginning. They’re processing an entire campus worth of Vol Gear in the back. I decided to hold off on my Lady Vols rain jacket…. But you bet your sweet molasses I’m heading back tomorrow to put my money where my mouth heart is. My community!

Also, KARM‘s website just updated for 7/27…..954 Meals were Served and 348 Guests received Shelter. Every single purchase goes directly to Knoxville, for Knoxville, from Knoxville. So don’t forget when your dorm bookshelves don’t sell on Craigslist – you can still donate at 733 Hall of Fame Drive and make a difference!



I call this look “Day Off Chic”

The Time I Narrowly Escaped the Worst Intern Faux Pas Ever.

This morning, I rolled my happy self out of bed at 7 o’clock to prepare for a tour of my new internship director’s home. I was going to meet his family and get familiar with Mission Control, where the company magic happens.

I thought the meeting was Wednesday, May 6th, and I was right.  But I also thought today was Wednesday, May 6th, and I was wrong.

So I took on the 40 minute drive, having left an hour early to prepare for lost GPS signal panic attacks. I even drove around the neighborhood for an extra 20 minutes, so I don’t look like a crazy person knocking on the door at 8:40 am. When the time came and my anxiety  excitement called down, I pulled in. So, there I was, at the front door, knocking, ringing the doorbell, ringing the doorbell again on the porch of this massive lake house. With no answer.

– And thank God for that because, had he or his wife opened the door in their footy pajamas this early morning, I just don’t know what I would have done. –

At this point I’m still clueless. I assumed they forgot about me. Walking back to the car, I nervously call my mom. I said, “Mom. I know we both had confusing schedules. But I specifically remember, he said May 6th. I have it saved Mom. What happened? He’s a professional, he doesn’t miss appointments.” And she said, “Honey, It’s April 29th.”


This could have been the single worst experience to happen to an intern in the world. I can’t tell if I’m lucky as hell, or just unlucky and the gods felt bad for me. I really dodged a bullet there. Can you imagine? Knock, Knock. Here’s the new intern, showing up unannounced, at the front door of your private residence. Hello.

Anyways, new internship director and wife, you have a lovely home. Your lake view is nice. Your doorbell is nice. I’m sure your security system is nice – so if you’re wondering – that’s me in your surveillance video.

I’ll see you next week.  Same time, Same place.

Love’Em Lady Vols – A Guest Post By John Bohstedt

The following is a guest post from my dear friend John Bohstedt regarding University of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team, the Lady Vols. John sent this into a local paper as a Letter to the Editor. I just wanted to get the conversation going.


Letter: Fight name change on the national level

Letter to the Editor , Apr 8, 2015

“Bubbas hit Lady Vols!” and “UTK seeks elite status, national recognition.” Do these headlines mesh or clash? We have three months to find out. The University of Tennessee is not listening to its community. We need to reach out to the national media and see how the issue plays on that stage.

UT Athletic Director Dave Hart has decreed, “No more Lady Vols.” Lady Vols basketball has a reprieve, but that’s merely a divide-and-conquer ploy. Next year or the year after, Pat Summitt’s legacy will also be vaporized.

Instead of UT listening to its fan bases, some junior executive at Nike mumbles something about segmenting a brand, and Hart abolishes one of the university’s most successful brands in terms of national titles and fan base. But what if the issue goes national? Can Bubba University get recognition among elite universities while pushing women around?

What if ESPN and the Washington Post, etc., and Facebook and Twitter took up the issue? Is UT an elite university when its clueless men are rolling the clock back 40 years on women’s recognition? That recognition was not granted by men, but won in competitive battles by strong and courageous women. I’m afraid sweeping them into a man-cave does not get you elite status. Rather it’ll likely push UT into good ole Bubba-land.

So let’s reach out to our strong women on the national level, women like Kara Lawson of ESPN, Candace Parker of the WNBA, Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, UT Rhodes Scholar and onetime U.S. Cabinet member, and others. What women and men do you know who could shine some national light on this blunder? What if it went viral on Facebook and Twitter? This slap in the face is so backward, with women making strides across the board, that our larger society will not accept it.

John Bohstedt, Knoxville


My (Group) Date With Alex Goldschmidt


No, he didn’t bring Taylor and Ed, but I’m not complaining.

Alexander Goldschmidt is a personality and a half on his own. Plus, I doubt I could have learned as much from Sweeran (Swift+Sheeran)

It’s Social Media Week at the University of Tennessee and we had the pleasure of hosting many excellent speakers, including Alex. So who is this Alex guy? @AlexanderGold is a pop culture king of social media. Currently, he is working as a Social Media Manager/Strategist at Tiny Horse which serves clients like America’s Got Talent and the Voice. Which means he has connections, like that of the great Taylor Swift. In fact, his talents have brought him into a world were said celebrities might ask him to be in a music video with her. So, basically, we need his talents.

At his speaking engagement, he was addressing, well, social media. You see, Social Media is not just a skill, but a conversation. We touched on all the platforms, from old classics like Facebook to new players like Periscope and Meerkat. Here’s some of my favorite points on how to project the best You online:

1) Make the mundane interesting.
2) Know your voice, your followers, and what interests you have in common.
3) Cross promote your best posts. (but not all of them!)
4) Be Consistent
5) Don’t over post, unless it’s during a major event. In that case, ride the wave.
6) Be on top of trends.
7) Double Check Everything.
8) Know when to go for the selfie.
9) Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate.
10) Haters make you relevant.
11) Don’t feed the angry
12) Consider all criticism carefully.

Alex was not only full of excellent advice, he was hilarious. He was full of Taylor anecdotes, sarcastic side remarks, and bluntness. Unfortunately, he had to jet back to LA, so I didn’t get to pick his brains personally. I was just one of thirty in an eager audience. However, I did march myself up there and introduce myself, shake his hand, AND get a selfie. (And an autographed poster, but you know.)

So Alexander. While you’re juggling the digital world of pop culture, try to remember Knoxville, and the ONLY person in the meeting who shook your hand and asked for a selfie. I promised you our paths would cross sometime.

Let’s make that happen, ok?


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Don’t Forget Me Alex!

The Lilly Pulitzer Paradigm Shift


Originally, I wanted to brag on Lilly Pulitzer for continuing to impress, not only through fashion, but for their new collection at Target. This partnership will make products 1) More Affordable and 2) More Accessible, which is right my alley, as a young woman in college. Lilly Pulitzer products have been adored for quite sometime. In fact, you can find pictures of Jackie O. dawning LP styles. Today, LP fans are dying to get their hands on the fresh line, and I don’t blame them. Have you seen the Lookbook yet?


But here’s what caught my attention. Beautiful patterns. Beautiful styles. Beautiful models. Of all sizes! Surely the brand has always offered larger sizes. But until the recent “all-sizes-advertising” revolution, apparel companies considered the curvy girls in ads a taboo. Lilly Pulitzer however, is just one of the many brands challenging the old ways. And why not? All these girls look like complete babes! Unfortunately, Target’s not quite ready for a full-fledged paradigm shift. The collections plus sized will only be available online, and for that they can expect to catch some flack. However, we can only turn so many stones at once. The ads are gorgeous, the designs are gorgeous, and Lilly Pulitzer will not leave her girls hanging!

All this time, when I thought of today’s  Lilly Pulitzer products, I pictured classic, tiny, sorority girls decked in LP monogrammed apparel/notebooks/koozies. You can’t deny, it’s an intimidating picture and you see it every day on campus. As a classic, GDI, broke college student, (and frankly a little bigger in size), how could I pull it off? I’m not small, Greek, or Jackie O. I felt like Lilly Pulitzer wasn’t right for me.


But not anymore! While some brands are successful as a status symbol brand, I think it’s a very tactful move for Lilly Pulitzer to adapt for a larger consumer base. I love that this company is redefining the idea of “exclusive”. See, instead of limiting their target consumers, it seems like they’re saying that they are “exclusive to confident beautiful women of all sizes and price points” – who appreciate beachy and floral patterns of course.

For an article with Elle Magazine, Jane Schoenborn, the brand’s creative communication VP said:

“Lilly’s attitude and overall approach to her designs has always been about inclusivity…We saw a collaboration with Target, a retailer that strives to make style accessible to everyone, as the perfect opportunity to amplify this message and bring Lilly’s story to a broader audience.”

The Target collection features 250 items including clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories, home décor and beauty. 15 prints – I know, I’m dying too – and the prices range from $2-$150. You can expect about 200 items in the collection under $30.

Lilly Pulitzer will be in a Target Store near you mid-April of this year. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! See you soon, New Lilly Loves!

Ad Of The Week: Downy’s “Rip Your Clothes On”

This Ad of the Week is especially sweet, brought to you by your favorite Up and Coming Ad Industry Babe.

Ella Eyre’s delicate version of “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” suits the campaign perfectly. In this clip, Downy’s concept is exceptional softness. You wouldn’t expect a laundry detergent to give you a case of the feels. This romantic little commercial however makes you want to kiss your special someone, then take on the day.

Way to Go Downy. You just make us wanna rip our clothes on.
P.S. We love when commercials share “Behind The Scenes” vids! Just as charming as the commercial itsself!