Spring 2012 Site Review
Position: Communications Intern
Student: Economics Sophomore
This spring, I interned at GSD&M under the title Communications Intern. GSD&M is an advertising agency located in downtown Austin. Some of their client work includes AT&T, BMW, American Red Cross, John Deere, Southwest Airlines, and quite a few others. In fact, from 1987 until 2007 they were one of the two agencies that “built Wal-Mart from $11 billion in sales to $312 billion.” The agency’s impressive repertoire could certainly be a selling point, but their goal to use “purpose-based branding” to take their clients further than they thought they could go is what I believe sets GSD&M apart from others at the forefront of creative advertising.
As the agency’s Communications Intern, one of my responsibilities was to write internal and external announcements for agency employees, clients, executives and the community relations team. Since the communications team serves as the voice of the agency, we are responsible for keeping our people informed about what GSD&M is participating in at the moment. Memos are therefore required to be sent daily in order to accomplish this task. I was delegated this responsibility and it has proven to be a consistent part of my daily workload. These announcements typically regard new agency hires, breaking client work, agency mentions in big trade publications and volunteer calls. It is my job to make sure the agency keeps up to speed with all of our events and stays active in their participation.
Another important part of my internship is pitching breaking client work to local, national and trade publications. As an agency, we represent many recognizable brands whose reputations are placed in our hands with expectations of good publicity and promotion. It is my job to submit our client’s work to places such as Luerzer’s Archive, Best Ads On TV and other publications to make sure their expectations are met and our work is recognized. Some of the recent work I have pitched includes Ace Hardware’s “Soul Paint” campaign and L.L. Bean’s Spring Catalogue. These campaigns have since appeared in the New York Times, Adweek and others. It has been a great learning experience to be an integral part of the process!
Perhaps the most rewarding experience I have had interning at GSD&M has been coordinating our SXSW events. We were a sponsor of SXSW this year and were responsible for producing three events: The Industry Party, Big Star Third, and Roqlandia. I will admit that helping to plan these events consumed the entire first part of my internship and required lots of time and attention to detail. We spent hours and hours sending out invitations, publicizing our events, coordinating with co-sponsors, setting up gift bags for the bands, and finally setting up our space! In the end, the events were extremely fun and I even got to hang out with M. Ward and members from REM and Wilco. I am very grateful for the time I spent helping out with the events and am hoping to do it again next year.
Overall, interning at GSD&M has proven to be a very rewarding experience. I have established some great relationships with people at the agency and am looking forward to continue learning at GSD&M throughout the fall. Most importantly, I really got a chance to see how the advertising industry works and have acquired knowledge and skills that I look forward to building upon throughout my career.