Based on my experience in interviews and with media images, I expected an internship to be one of two things: a) lots of watching and observing other people do their job or b) lots of menial tasks, like filing paperwork or making copies. I didn’t expect to jump right in and experience what it’s like to work in the field of digital marketing and advertising.
I’m brand new to the world of digital marketing and advertising. I’m an English major with minors in communication studies and history, and as such was not familiar with what work in this field entails. For years, my knowledge of marketing and advertising was limited to what I saw Don Draper and Peggy Olson do on Mad Men. This dramatic and glamorized depiction was always intriguing, especially to someone like me who is already a writer and fascinated by persuasion. My infatuation with advertising led to many conversations with people who are advertising or marketing majors and people who have already done work in the field.
With the end of my college career quickly approaching, I needed to find a field to work in. With intrigue about digital marketing and advertising at the back of my mind, I took to search engines with key words like “copywriting,” “advertising,” and “marketing.” Enter Boxcar Creative, a small-scale creative firm in Dallas, Texas. I apply as an intern and go to an interview where I’m shown the vast scale of marketing and advertising and what opportunities exist in the field. My intrigue only grows stronger, and we set the date to start my internship: September 7.
On my first day, I was given a few tasks. Oddly enough, none of these involved any shadowing or filing paperwork. From the moment I walked in the door, I was given the opportunity to do actual work that would give me an opportunity to learn and grow. The most important of these tasks was taking over the blog. Over the course of my internship, I’ll be communicating all the cool stuff about digital marketing and advertising that I’m learning here at Boxcar to you.
For my first job of the day, I was shown a scope, a detailed run down of a campaign and asked to condense it down into a message that would convey the necessary information to a client without having to muddle through a 6-page-long document. This is also called an “elevator pitch,” because it shouldn’t take longer to read than the amount of time you would ride in an elevator. I uploaded this into basecamp, a project management software that many businesses in this industry use to communicate with their clients.
The next thing to check off my to-do list was proofreading the Boxcar website. In doing this, I was able to chat with Jim, the head of creative, and learn a lot about what advertising copy should look and sound like. Coming from the perspective of an English major, this kind of language was new and exciting for me. My first instinct was to look for anything that one of my professors would circle in red ink and deduct a couple of points for. The feedback I got from Jim, however, indicated that grammatical conventions aren’t that important in “ad speak.” When someone reads copy, you want them to hear it as a “dramatic voiceover” in their head instead of in the same voice one would read a boring English essay in. I guess semicolon rules aren’t that important after all.
All in all, it’s looking like my time at Boxcar will be full of hands-on learning and opportunities to grow. In a conversation with Jim, I expressed how exciting it was to be gaining all of this knowledge so quickly. His response was equal parts hilarious and motivating: “and someday, you may even gain wisdom.”