ExternshipsStudent ContributorSummer Opportunities

Caleigh Flegg ’20 – TBWA, Nissan United (NY)

An Advertisement For Advertising

My first day as an extern with Nissan United was a headfirst dive into the world of advertising. My first meeting with Jon Castle, the president of Nissan United, served as a briefing on every aspect of an ad agency, as well as the complicated and lengthy process between conception and publication of an advertisement. The part of this process that most caught my attention was the idea of a “target audience” and how that audience is found and fleshed out. One of the conference rooms in the office features huge marketing boards detailing the target audience for each individual Nissan model – everything from “millennial hipster” to “adventurous parent”. The way a company specifies branding to target such a hyper specific audience is so intriguing to me. Thankfully, I was able to speak at length with two planners – the people responsible for relaying communication between the regional and global client, who were able to educate me further on how a key group is targeted across social media, et cetera. The photos used, features highlighted, and even the writing style of an ad change according to the demographic, but somehow remain compliant with the overall Nissan United standards. I thought this was as cool as it gets, but one of my favorite parts of the week were the debrief meetings. In these meetings, a few key executives go through all of the creative content that has come through that day – anything from storyboards to completed ads – and determine what about the ad fits with the Nissan United standards, and what doesn’t. It was fascinating to see the executives point out little details I did not even notice. However, even though I was far from the most knowledgeable in the room, the executives made sure I was involved, asking me questions about the ad and my thoughts on it.

During my down time, I worked on a case study presented to me and my partner. Our task was to create a campaign that would enable an alarm clock company to sell 10,000 alarm clocks, saving it from going out of business. We initially thought this task would be simple, but we quickly ran into some blocks. There was just so much information in our minds; different strategies, target audiences and concepts clouded our thinking. We spent a whole day creating our original deck, only to speak with an executive and completely re-work it. The conversation with the strategic planner was incredibly helpful, however. He gave us lots of suggestions to streamline our deck, and we eventually completed it in a way that was easily presentable.

However, the most helpful suggestion I received over the entire week was to differentiate yourself in the workplace – in the case of Nissan United’s model, this means taking what is happening in the world today and applying it to your product. This is why employees at Nissan United are so plugged in to the news and our digital world; they are constantly looking for insight they can use for their campaigns. I got some practice with this strategy when I was asked to edit some copy for a future social media campaign. While editing the copy, I was able to use my constant social media checking to my benefit and create witty taglines. The best part of this advice, though, was that it does not just stop at advertising. Finding what is unique and special about you is an unwavering asset one can carry through life and a career, and this is something I will always remember.