Being an advertising student in Dallas, one tends to hear about local agencies a lot. Luckily Dallas is full of great agencies, many of which offer intern positions that provide valuable real world experience. This summer, TAI Creative student Tanner Thompson had the opportunity to work as an Art Director Intern at The Richards Group.
As with most jobs, Thompson applied online, sent in his resume and portfolio, had a phone interview, and finally an in-person interview, where he was offered the job. But Thompson soon learned that this position was not like any other job.
“What’s so fun about being in advertising is that there isn’t a ‘typical day on the job,’” Thompson said. “Every day you get to do something different. I know that’s a cop out though, so I will say that a lot of my time was spent concepting ideas for campaigns, ads, layouts, website content, and the like, as well as doing tons of art direction and layouts for a bunch of different brands.”
Thompson worked on many different brands throughout his internship, including Chick Fil A, The Home Depot, Eyeglass World/Oakley, KeyBank, The Main Event, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Schwab Advisor Services, AAA and Shamrock Farms. But his main clients were TXU Energy and South University.
“My favorite client to work on was Chick Fil A,” Thompson said. “The ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ cows have social media pages, and my copywriter and I came up with all the stuff the cows posted for the month of August, which was a ton of fun. I also go to do some in-house work for the agency. I designed the Snapchat Geofiler for the entire agency, which was a blast.”
As much fun as Thompson’s client work was, his favorite memory involved a task given to Thompson and six other interns finding a creative way to remind fellow employees to get their food out of the fridge on Fridays. They came up with a concept of someone in a giant sandwich costume, called “The Stanwhich” walking around the agency to remind everyone to get their food.
“We needed to get Stan’s permission to not only let us have a giant sandwich walk around the office every Friday which, as you could imagine, may be a bit distracting, but we also had to get his permission to use his likeness with the name ‘The Stanwich.’” Thompson said. “This meant we [had] to present our idea to Stan. No intern groups had ever presented creative work directly to Stan before, and as honored as we all were, we were also pretty nervous. The full-timers that were helping us with the project were super pumped that we would get to present to Stan, but also warned us that he may kill one or two aspects of the idea. We went into the presentation fully expecting to come out with a few bumps and bruises, but instead he ended up loving our entire idea and we got the ‘go ahead.’ The moment right after Stan walked out of the room, we all stood there for a second, silent, and then just exploded with happiness. Nobody could believe that we had just gotten the Stan Richards to let us have a sandwich walk around the office on a weekly basis. Everybody was jumping around, high-fiving and just laughing like crazy. The stress of the presentation was gone, and it couldn’t have gone better!”
Through all of these incredible opportunities, Thompson learned valuable lessons about The Richards Group, advertising, and working as an intern.
“I learned more than I could possibly [share], but I’ll try and hit the highlights,” Thompson said. “Unless someone asks, you’re not an intern. Say yes to everything. Nobody wants you to fail, so don’t. Outdoor billboards should never have more than eight words on them. ‘Make the logo bigger.’ Don’t overuse the intern excuse, but don’t underuse it either. Presentations are only scary if you’re unprepared. People are always late to meetings; that doesn’t mean you can be too. Stan Richards is the man. Make friends with everyone. Don’t forget your key card; everyone likes to laugh at the intern stuck in the stairwell.”
As Thompson’s internship provided him with many valuable takeaways, the most important thing he learned was about his future.
“[This internship] showed me that I’m on the right path,” Thompson said. “I had a blast going to work everyday this summer. In part because of the people, as well as the work.”