Mar. 2020

Creativity is always the answer: congratulations for being awesome

#Intern #Application #ClemengerBBDO #Advertising #Wildplay

In November 2019, I got the chance to intern in Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne. It was still like a dream when I looked it back from now - all the things happened so magically. Before, I had no experience working in big agencies (quite big buildings as well), no ideas about the company or the roles, no expectations about what I can do there. After so many rejections, I was only like, yes, finally there is a chance (for me to play) and I will make full use of it!

Wait, what happened?

If you are also interested in opportunities like this, you probably will or already familiar with the process - most of them will have a list of questions that they think would help open both your mind and theirs (and try to be fun at the same time, yes, most of them are not that fun. You somehow can find a way to deal with them after applying some). But back then, the requirement for this opportunity was to post 9 photos with the special hashtag on Instagram.

I have two accounts, one is about my illustration, which is the one that I usually use and also the one I went with for applying, and the other one is for this DBGH project. Surprisingly, they replied me through DBGH account, and that took me nearly one month to find that message (so please check more often with your message box when you apply for things, especially some people open new accounts to do the applications). I was super excited, because of the opportunity and the message, at the same time, super nervous as well - will they still consider me after this long time?

Luckily, the answer was yes.

It all went through quite smoothly, with a little bit of me pushing (like sending emails to check my state politely). I went to the office one week later, expecting it as a proper interview. However, It only took me 10 minutes chatting and that was it - I had no ideas about what would happen and what the structure of the program would be, but I was quite open anyway. After several days, I got the email said that please come next week.

My first day: go and have a play

Though I said I just wanted to have a play, I was super serious about this opportunity - I even googled about how to be a good intern before my first day (lots of tips and advice). But when I stepped into the building, I kept my mind clean - it was too hard to remember all the rules, I'd rather go with the wild ride.

The first day was super important to many people including me, it can help me have a general idea about the environment and the role. Mine was pretty good. Rebec, my mentor, showed me around and introduced me to different parts of the team so that I understand how different teams work with each other and produce great works. During that time, I also got my computer set up - it was super exciting to see my name with the company logo (this kind of details made me feel connected).

The good thing about this opportunity was that instead of just experiencing one specific role, depending on your interests, you can ask to explore more. As a full-time curious person, during this intern, I’ve experienced as many parts of the company as I can.

Account Services: 2 creative presentations on the 3rd day

They are also called suites, the people that I met the most during my intern. Because suites usually go with the whole process of the projects, so they kind of doing everything. I cannot contact the real customers during my intern time, so I did some other tasks that I can report to the inner team, including doing research, collecting images and contacting other teams. I also got the chance to join some WIP meetings, having a taste of starting a new day with all the information fastly going around the table and minds, with all the familiar big brand names and unknown phrases (though I was there just for listening, I was also being introduced to the whole team, and that made me feel connected). Between tasks, I learned the Facebook bluepoints courses online on my pace.

However, what made me the most excited was a creative brief about promoting the new M&M's ice-cream cones. At the same time, I also need to do the marketing research about the Halloween ideas for Mars the brand. Bell, who was in charge of these two projects allowed me one day to finish the tasks and presented to her, her boss, and Rebec, on my 3rd day of the intern.

I feel really lucky that I can do these tasks. The brand matches my style - all we need is fun, and I was the one that always happy to come up new concepts - I came up 4 ideas in the end and two of them were quite strong. Though my suite team tried a lot to connect me with the creative teams, I did not get the chance for that. Instead, I got the chance to learn from their solutions. I think I already know my power of doing this kind of job, I might just take this opportunity to explore more things I do not know - I am not the person that only stuck with the slide in the playground, it is good to find something interesting, but I am open to trying other things as well.

For the research about the Halloween campaign, I started with a core message which was letting more people enjoy the time and the fun together. All my research was basically around that, including some Holloween campaigns from other brands and also some campaigns with similar messages. Not sure if that was the right process of doing research, but that helped me to come up with some cool ideas and the team was quite happy about my results. However, I kept thinking of this and told Rebec about my uncertainty. Rebec helped me to contact the planning team the other day so that I can experience and find out the answer myself there.

Planning: the disadvantages became my power

I spent a whole day in the planning part and I was quite happy with it. Honestly, it is super challenging for me to understand the market in Australia (because of my background and lots of readings) but these limitations somehow showed me a bigger world.

When I do creative tasks, my personal experience and feelings always come first. Like for the Halloween campaign, my initial motivation was that "I never experienced Halloween, and I want to be invited to this big city game, so I want a campaign that can express that message". That might not always work, but I found that in this way my ideas can be stronger.

However, this time, I experienced doing planning in a more general way. After a short introduction, I dove into a project for R.M.Williams about the potential possibilities to get into the Chinese market. There are lots of insights to explore and I packed them into a pdf file. My mentor in the team, Julia, was quite happy with the results, and she told me that she would show the ideas to the CEO. I was super excited - it is always satisfying to see ideas have the potential to come true, though I have no ideas about how that will go. I also had a look at the new pdf file Julia made during break and learned to use better ways to express the important info.

When I was in the planning team, we also shared a cake, and that was a bit sweet.

Production: I wanna know this, I wanna see that

Though I've already spent some time in the production team on my first day, I did not get a lot of chances to see how they work - there were so many parts to see, and I was curious about everything.

But I met Shivangi here, which was a nice person to answer my thousands of questions. From the chat, I got to know more info about the team and also the company.

Design craft: knowing the person comes first

Rebec knew that my background was design related, so she introduced this part to me from my first day so that I can shadow them doing works.

Compared with the works, I found out that people there were more interesting. It was surprising and nice to see another intern here - lots of discussions while doing works. I also got the chance to know Steve, the senior designer and also a super talented artist at the same time. Because of the common love of art, we met sometimes in some art events, even after I left the company - super grateful for him sharing his another aspect of life, which showed me more possibilities.

Activation: go out and have a wilder play

During my intern, I also got the chance to help with an event for The Hungry Yak outside the office building. It was super new and exciting for me - I like all the changes, they make me feel alive. I helped with some small tasks and got inspired a lot because most of the people working around were females. I always pay extra attention to females in the working places - I need models in the industry and it is pretty hard to find the right ones. I always admire the females that work in the ways or positions that I want, doing the jobs that interest me, and if I have the chance, I am always happy to tell them how they inspired me:

"Thank you for being there, being so awesome, showing me it is all possible. And I hope I can be like you someday."

However, that might not be the right time for me to explore outside - I got the hayfever and I kept sneezing. My mentor Laura helped me to get a Uber so I can get back to the building as soon as possible.

Inside the building, I also got the chance to do the shopping for The Body Shop. With a simple theme, I had to creatively think of the things that might work, adding all the things to the list, lowing the budget as much as possible. Shopping online in Australia was new to me, not to mention finding all the bits and pieces on different platforms. It was a super-challenging job for me, and I respect a lot to the people who can do this.

Related service: details that telling you are one of us

Besides the people and the works, some other things helped me a lot with my intern, including emails, events, and food.

As an intern, not many people emailed me, but I still spent some time on my inbox. Every day, I read some articles that people recommended, and the menu of the day (free lunch were provided so knowing the menu helped a lot).

One day, I received this email from the magical Kate, which invited everyone to join this new coming event from YoungBloods (because of the coffee chat with Olivia before, I already knew this organization and I've joined their events before). This can be a good opportunity for me to know more about the industry and also help me with some social connections. But that time, I had no ideas if I can join with my colleagues as an intern, but I asked anyway (the worst case would be paying myself, and I was ok for that), guess what, I got in. I felt super lucky to go at that time, I got to know my colleague Mariona, the talk was fun, and Bell helped a lot to introduce me to the people I wanted to know.

This was not the first event that I joined during my intern time. There were some talks during the lunch break, it was quite nice to listen to them while enjoying the food. With the food, I also watched a football match there, proudly cheered for Bell. I also enjoyed the big meeting that told everyone how some projects going, like the Christmas campaign for Myer. All these made me feel new, excited and connected.

Something more: I know creativity is always the answer, but sometimes we might just need humanity.

Physically, my health problem was not as serious as it looked though I had a bleeding nose for some days. It was terrible when it came for the first time, I forgot how to stop it so it kept bleeding (I used to have bleeding nose every day when I was a kid, so normally I have experienced dealing with this situation). I stayed in the bathroom until Kate found me, giving me tissues and water (super grateful for that). Then from the following days, I can stop the bleeding in 2 minutes (become super professional).

It was not because of any bad diseases, it was mainly because of the hayfever. I was not that used to the air conditioner for a long time either since nothing happened when I was at home in the same period.

Mentally, though I was just an intern, I still have the self-pressure to produce as much work as I can. Maybe because of my cultural background, I was so used to the strict judgement and comparing with others. However, that time I was the only intern in my shifts and people in the company were somehow too nice - I had no one to compare with and I cannot figure out if they were just encouraging me or it was really because I was good. I hope one day I can ignore all the judgement and myself, just focusing more on the work itself, trying my best to explore, play, and enjoy.

And that was what people around encouraged me to do - do not work overtime and keep it chill. So after work, I usually went swing and slide, and that was a great time for me to keep being a kid from the inside to outside.

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