I Give You… The Portfolio


Ladies and Gentleman,

After 3 months of dormancy in my blog world, I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally developed a digital portfolio – and it’s LIVE!

I wasn’t quite ready to mix my professional life with my girly travel lifestyle writing, although it’s mixing more every day. I just didn’t want polished research reports published beside polished mani/pedi updates. It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m glad to have two creative spaces to grow and get my work out in the world.

With no further ado….



Moving Forward in Advertising

Articulating exactly what you want your future to look like – that can be incredibly difficult sometimes. In a recent seminar course, I was tasked with the challenge of laying out my path but I was surprised with how confident I became with what I pictured after graduation.

We were asked to identify three different career possibilities that blend our life passions with our advertising degree. We were to explain why each path appeals to us and how the companies chosen would help us achieve our goals. We had to think about what type of work we are drawn to, the company’s growth and reputation, culture, and also how the company fits into our long-range career goals.



It was originally the copywriting in a Purina pet food that sold me on advertising. I have always enjoyed creative writing exercises as well as creating art from all media, so a career in advertising seemed like a perfect fit. Now that I’m learning more about the industry, I’ve come upon a new challenge. It seems the likelihood of getting a job in copywriting is poor unless I go to portfolio school. My contacts within the larger agencies have all warned me that without going to Miami Ad School, Creative Circus, or VCU my portfolio will be a step below other applicants. Although I was disappointed, I realized the big ideas that spark the creative brainstorming come from the account planning department. I’m eager to learn more about this potential avenue for my future. I’ve also been encouraged to pursue content management after a yearlong internship with a digital marketing consulting firm. I’ve loved strategizing and analyzing social media efforts of big and little companies.

I’m hoping to learn as much as possible about each of the three avenues, Social Media Management, Copywriting, and Strategy. Fortunately, there are four advertising agencies that not only offer positions in these departments; they all have a reputation of positive cultures, progressive strategies, and loyal accounts. Their client rosters each have a strong presence of the industries I’m drawn to. Travel, Media and Technology, as well as Food and Beverage accounts peak my interest the most. They are all located in New York City, the advertising capitol of the world, and the place I’d like to call home.


Grey is a full-service agency known most recently for their extensive collection of Cannes Lions. Since 1917, they have been building some of the world’s most recognized brands. Their focus is to accelerate the potential of their client’s brands with powerful creative ideas across all touch points.1

Right now, they are actively expanding their strategy department, seeking a strong, quick thinker who is self-motivated, and proactively pushing ideas forward.2

They must be inquisitive, and driven to use data as a tool for creative inspiration. In order to excel in this position, I must have the confidence to juggle multiple assignments while naturally providing leadership with clients and internal teams. I’ll have to be a strong communicator and a great storyteller. I think, upon graduation, I would be a perfect candidate for this position, and I would hope to work with travel clients such as Finnair, Emirates Air, the British Council, or perhaps technology companies like Motorola, Pandora, and Cannon.3

Grey, and the guidance of my alumnus contacts within the agency, have been a huge part of my goal development. Sarah and Joey have been my trailblazers, not only for finding success in the industry, but also for fighting for opportunities while still in college. They’ve helped me set higher goals for myself and push myself harder to stand out. They encourage their brands to think similarly. If I had the opportunity to work at Grey, I would be able to push my accounts and myself forward towards insights and innovation that will ignite their brand.


Another agency with a long-standing reputation is McCann Erikson. This agency was founded in 1902 and focuses on digital communication, customer relationship management, and experimental marketing.4 I had the privilege of meeting with this agency and experiencing their culture first hand. I felt welcomed and instantly felt a genuine connection with the account managers. They were engaged and curious about my life and my plans moving forward. I can only assume their accounts are treated as well.

McCann is actively seeking a copywriter to create a central advertising direction for global campaigns. The new copywriter will uphold McCann’s believes that work must be collaborative, passionate, and creative and support diversity in order to exceed client expectations.5

My first job would be to develop and produce creative concepts through execution on assigned brands. I would be helping to determine a written expression for the advertising. I must contribute to layout and storyboard development with the creative teams and maintain quality control in every step of the process. Again, this position demands excellent storytelling skills as well as the ability to present and speak confidently. A creative portfolio will be expected, showcasing my own brand concepts and campaigns. If McCann saw this potential in me, I would like to work with food clients like General Mills, Jose Cuervo, or Nespresso. This company also has a great list of technology accounts like Microsoft, Verizon and Nikon.6


From local to global, Mcgarrybowen’s team of 800 have passionately grown brands from all categories through all channels of communication.7 Having only been founded in 2002, they have been quite successful, while still remaining a sense of humility. This quality could be felt when hearing any of the employees talk about Mcgarrybowen as a brand. They promote passionate ideas, believing in the talent and ambition within the agency, collaboration from all corners, and personal growth through mentorship and leadership. For these reasons, I would love the opportunity to be a Jr. Copywriter at Mcgarrybowen.8

The expectation for this new copywriter would be high. I would be responsible for ideas and writing for simple layouts for one or more general advertising accounts. I must be quick to adapt to different strategies and formats while being able to think across all types of media. I would have to be independent but still confident in my team building skills. It takes an extremely self-motivated, well organizes person to be a copywriter for the Mcgarrybowen accounts. I believe I have what it takes to elevate brands like Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Kraft Heinz, Marriott International, Disney and United Airlines.9

While I think the other agencies would help me grow as an advertiser, I think Mcgarrybowen would also help me grow in character. You can tell this modest agency won’t soon lose sight of its goals. The very first prop used in their very first campaign is still sitting right in the lobby to serve as a reminder. They’ve got a lot more growing to do, and they wouldn’t have come this far without the enthusiasm and courage of their original three owners. I think being surrounded by such brilliant and successful people, who value humility would be a great example for me.


J. Walter Thompson is another globally recognized marketing communications brand that has been igniting brands since 1864. They produced the first ever TV commercial in 1939 and have only maintained that reputation for leading edge content.10

They creative pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business by adopting a unique set of principles. The 4 C’s: curiosity, collaboration, capability and courage best embody the traits of the agency, the work they produce, and the aspects they seek in new hires. They are looking to grow their Social Media Managers, particularly in San Francisco, but I could potentially relocate to New York after proving to be an asset to the agency.11 My job would be to produce content for publication to the company website and social media platforms. Between content creation, maintenance, and editing, I would be helping elevate their brands across the digital plane. I would be distributing information for email blasts, newsletters, and databases as well.

Whether in New York or San Francisco, I would feel right at home within the culture of the agency. They encourage teamwork, inquisitiveness, the pursuit of new knowledge, and the realization that the difficult solution could be the best. I was personally very concerned with the collaboration aspect across departments. I was afraid if I committed to strategy, I would never be able to contribute a creative idea again. They reassured me that great ideas come from all corners of the agency.12

These agencies aren’t just global leaders or industry icons; they are groups of people who love what I love. They all show a genuine appreciation for their employees as well as their clients. You can tell because some of these accounts have been loyal for decades, and some of these executives have tried to leave but keep coming back. It takes passion, extraordinary work, sincere relationships, and enthusiasm for improvement to have such retention. I’d be lucky to work with any of these agencies, and I hope to contribute to the next Lion winning campaign.





























6 AdWords Articles That Taught Me Everything I Know.


Everything I know… Which is NOT MUCH.

But hey, I’m 3 campaigns in and I’m hanging in there. Basically, I’ve been flailing across the internet seeking out best practices for keyword quality score, ad groups, and high click-through-rates…. when all along I couldn’t tell you the difference between a keyword, a +keyword, a [keyword] and a -keyword.

Fortunately, I’ve had some amazing coaching from Mark Schaefer. (Boss) and the amazing folks at Exigo Digital Marketing (Hey Alan!). I’m really starting to get the hang of this! Still getting traction, but at least I’ve got some confidence now!

So, I’ve saved a few of the most helpful articles – for all you budding AdWord managers out there. Cheers to not flailing.

Match Type:

6 Things You Always Wanted To Know About AdWords Match Types (But Were Afraid To Ask)

AdWords Match Types: What Are Keyword Match Types & How Should You Use Them?

Competition: 3 Amazing Tools to Analyze Your AdWords Competition (#2 SAVED ME!) 

 p.s. OF COURSE NOT! I did not save these sites for my own reference next campaign..  psh. This isn’t all for my own personal gain. I’m TOTALLY here for you. 

The First Rule of “Being Too Damn Tall”

My name is Phoebe and today I did the unspeakable.

I’ve broken the first rule of “Being Too Damn Tall”.

I bought 2 inch heeled boots, I’m 6’1,

and I’m shameless.

The fact of the matter is, we’ve all got our insecurities.  And they aren’t all “being too shy” or “being too anxious”. Sometimes you can’t hide your insecurity way from the world and hope no one finds out. Sometimes, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Or a forehead in a crowd.


But some days you want to feel like the queen of the world… and the best way to be queen of the world is to be on top of it (or at least 2 inches above it) Hence – the most beautiful shoes I’ve ever owned.

You’ve got to embrace what makes you You. You’ve got to own what makes you beautiful. And sometimes, you have to drop $50 to help you – uh – overcome what makes you self conscious.

Or maybe make you a little more self – conscious.

(Like I’m pretty conscious about how great those boots match my coat)

Say fly dimes.












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. 

12 Most Tweetable Quotes from Mark Schaefer’s Campus Takeover

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This week, my director got to see the Intern in her natural habitat. Mark was coming to speak to a class of seniors here at UTK, and was kind enough to let me tag along. I’m just a junior, so in my attempt to seem as cool as possible for the big kids – I live tweeted the whole thing!

In case you missed it, Here are some Mark‘s most tweetable quotes from the lecture. You can find them all on Twitter #schaefergoestoschool (or of course you could follow me at @Vivalaphoebz)

  1. Content has zero economic value unless people see it and share it.
  2. People share content because they want to look relevant.
  3. A Like is a wave at your content, like a pat on the head. Sharing is standing up and announcing that you believe in it.
  4. The 4th Epoch will be the Epoch of Fun. #immersion 
  5. Who is your alpha audience? Do you know who is sharing your content? Who is advocating your brand in this crowd?
  6. Are you doing everything you can to eliminate obstacles to having your content shared?
  7. Coschedule is a great resource for measuring the success of your blog headlines.
  8. Klout score is a relative measure of your ability to move content.
  9. How to stand out in the crowd? Be more human  
  10. Twitter is not about mentions and hashtags. There’s an underlying human pulse. Its about connections
  11. Don’t wait for someone to pick you. Pick yourself.

(And My Personal Favorite)

12. How do you win in this world of information density? A badass strategy.  

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Thank you to Dr. Childers for letting me sit in on the class! It was great to meet everyone! And a special shout out to the only student in class who participated in my first attempt at a live tweet.

Courtesy of @JulzCesar


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Don’t Judge A Post by its Share Count


My internship director shared the most intriguing article with the team last week.

The article by The Verge discussed a recent concept brought up by Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat on Twitter.



You mean to tell me that the number of shares isn’t a valid measure of how badass your content is? From young bloggers like me to industry opinion leaders like my internship director, this really shakes things up. The way The Verge article described it, “To suddenly say that a story is just as likely to have been read by a million people and tweeted by none of them, as it is to have been tweeted a million times and yet never read, seems impossible.”

“We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading.” – Haile

There’s without a doubt a relationship between number of shares and total volume of traffic. In fact, this relationship is a major driving force in effective content ignition, as discussed in the Content Code, the book written by my director. Helping measure shares is 50% of my role in my internship. Imagine my shock right now.

But should we be surprised? How often do you retweet a story without reading it, on a scale from 1-10? I’m as guilty as the next guy. In fact, I’ve shared my director’s blog content before hitting the second paragraph.

The Verge article shared a great quote on this… “I skim hundreds of stories on a daily basis for my job, and yes a portion of those I definitely tweet without actually reading,” says Taylor Lorenz, who runs social media for The Daily Mail. “I think anyone who says they fully read and ponder every article before tweeting is lying through their teeth.”

Chartbeat, like many other websites, measures things like scroll depth, clicks, video playback, and other metrics in order to determine whether people are actually reading. The good news is, a website might notice a burst of tweets from skimmers, but they see a much higher burst of shares from readers who took down the whole article.

Whew, so I’m not out of a job.

According to the Verge article, “BuzzFeed’s data-science team had similar findings: the majority of social media shares happen after people have been on a page for over three and a half minutes on desktop, or over two minutes on a mobile device.” More good news reminding us that shares are still a powerful tool in measuring content success.

As a blogger going into her second year, my blog jedis like Christina and Rosie have always reminded me that page views are just a number, and not a measure of your success as a blogger (especially as a new blogger). The same goes for businesses of all ages. The focus needs to turn to the attention and engagement coming from your readers.  We should never stop improving our shareability, it’s all about engagement.

Any thoughts? Drop a line in the comments below!

The Unskippable: Geico Dominates YouTube Advertising.

You don’t come to come to YouTube to watch Ads. You come to listen to the new Adele songs. And anyone who says they don’t hover over that “Skip in __ Seconds” button is lying through their teeth. Myself included. The truth is that those first five seconds are your hook, and if they don’t do the job, you just wasted your money. What’s better is, most marketers simply run their TV spots, untouched, untailored to that precious preroll time.

But for Geico, a commercial legend since I first considered a career in advertising, it finally clicked. They just released quite possibly the most brilliant line of ads I’ve seen so far – in strategy and creativity. You get the hook, line, and sinker in the first 5 seconds. If you make it past there, you’re probably laughing…

Hats off to Martin Agency and Geico for another glorious campaign. See for yourself

Well, She Dared To: Caitlin Shu

I specifically remember the conversation I had with a coworker almost 4 years ago, back when we both worked in retail.

She was graduating with a degree in English, and I was just a freshman with my sights firmly set on Advertising. In the most casual conversation, she mentioned how advertising looked fun, and she was considering pursuing it.

I don’t think she knew what a rage she sparked in me. My thoughts were buzzing…But… this is a big industry! You don’t just get to waltz into it. Otherwise, why would I be busting my butt in school? No. This industry is for those who devote time, tears, and design smears. No Way, Jose.

The funny thing is, promptly after graduating, that co-worker of mine, moved to New York City where she proceeded to excel in everything she put her mind to. And hauled some ass. She set her roots and grew and grew. And crazily enough, I saw her post today that she was hired by none other than Kay and Black. 

Hot Damn.

She did it. She actually did it. And you know what? It’s perfect for her.

Now here I am, a junior, sweating it out just like she was a few years ago.  And I can’t help but feel not only proud, but highly motivated by this girl. How dare she think she can walk in here… into my industry… and make herself at home. WELL, SHE DARED TO.  That’s what happens when you set your mind to something. Who does she think she is? WELL, She thinks she’s Caitlin Shu… and sure as hell, she’s right.

I’ll see you in the big leagues darling. Who knows, maybe your team will be scouting my talent next year.