Weekly Report | “The Hunger Games: Interns on Fire” | 8.4.17

Kent Brockwell here again, reporting the good, the bold, and the ugly from your pals at Madison+Main. Yes, our fearless leader Dave Saunders is still being held captive by very pale, funny talkin’ pirates somewhere on the Isle of Man, but we’re pretty sure he’ll be released just in time to write next week’s Weekly Report.


This week, however, I want to take a break from making fun of Dave and instead salute the most under-appreciated resource in your office — the lowly intern. 


It’s intern pickin’ season again at Madison+Main and we have been scouring the campuses of Ol’ Virginia for a few good applicants to join us this semester. Earlier this summer, we put out the call and over the last few months we received more than 40 applicants for just four or five available positions.


Today marks the end of our intern interview week. While some may loathe the experience of interviewing the inexperienced, I love it. It’s an opportunity to see pure hope and ambition in the flesh. It’s a chance to pick the brains of a unique demographic. Personally, it’s a reminder that I was at some point just as energetic and eager to please a total stranger as the amazing kids I met this week.


Some of this semester’s candidates were recent grads struggling to find a job and simply wanted more real world experience. Others were trying to figure out if this advertising thang was really a good idea or if it’s too late to switch majors. Several were eager, over-caffeinated rising seniors who are ready to hit the ground running, and they don’t plan on stopping until they get to Madison Avenue.


While it’s easy to bring in a potential intern, chug through the top 10 interview questions you found on the Internet, and scoot them out the door so you can get back to work, I like to take a few minutes at the end of each interview to help the potential intern become a better candidate for the next guy. I show a genuine interest in their work examples and offer some gentle critiques. I look at their resume package/website and give them some actionable pros and cons. I listen to their pitch and I offer some tips on how to sell themselves better.


“Why?” you might ask. “They’re just dumb interns.”


No, they aren’t. These fresh-faced, wide-eyed, nervous ad nerds are my future co-workers. They are my future competitors. They are the ambitious folks who in a few years will be fighting me tooth and nail at the next awards show, and I’m fine with that. They are the future of my business, and I want to put out a welcome mat.


It wasn’t too long ago that I was the “dumb kid” sitting in the hot seat, sweating bullets, and fumbling through my answers with the hopes that I would be picked to work for free for four months. Every time a new “dumb intern” takes a seat on the other side of my desk, I see myself — and I want to help.


Remember, you’ve been in your career for a long time, but the lowly intern is just getting started. Take five minutes to give them some tools, tricks, and tips that may help make their dream a reality. 


Don’t forget — you were the sweaty “dumb intern” sitting in the hot seat not so long ago, too.


Monday, July 31: Bring A Copy Of Your Resume 


On Monday, we met with Jason Moreau from Marketing Buddha to talk about some exciting digital campaigns we are launching this month.


I also worked on some new social media posts for our client DRIVE SMART Virginia to support the upcoming WhosYourDriver.org Race Weekend at Richmond Raceway on Sept. 8-9. They are going some really great things to help remind NASCAR fans in Virginia to always choose a sober driver and buckle up. Check ’em out!


Tuesday, August 1: Visine – Buy It, Bring It, Use It BEFORE The Interview Starts


On Tuesday, while I was interviewing (and coaching) six of the 14 applicants I have for my one available copywriting/PR internship position, my current intern extraordinaire Kennedy Heidel worked on some fantastic research and initial copy for a new press release our pals at Sycamore Vet will be sending out soon (flea season is coming, folks!)


During my 53-weeks at Madison+Main, I’ve been blessed with some really great interns, but I’d like to take a moment to publicly thank Kennedy. She is a vivacious young writer and she really has made life easy (and a lot more cheerful) for all of the Madison+Main-iacs over the summer. I’m sad to see her go, but I’m glad we were able to show her some real world experience and “big city” fun before she heads back to the cow pastures of Harrisonburg for her final year at JMU. I think she had fun — at least she says so on her website.


Intern for a summer, Madison+Main-iac for life! Thanks Kennedy!

Wednesday, August 2: DON’T Address Your Cover Letter To Another Agency


On Wednesday, Media Buyer Meredith Mason and I got to hang out with our friends from numerous Richmond media organizations all day! Ted Wick from Marketplace Events was in town to hear media pitches for the upcoming Richmond Home Show, which happens on October 13-15 at the Richmond Raceway Complex. If you haven’t been to one of their home shows, I highly recommend it – especially if you need a little help with your out-of-control honey-do list.


Also, it was Leslie Dolliver‘s birthday! She’s our friend from Comcast and Meredith made sure she had a very special cupcake waiting when she came in. HBD, Leslie!!!


Mark Bowe, host of DIY Network’s Barnwood Builders, will the the featured speaker at the Richmond Home Show this fall. Get your tickets today!


Thursday, August 3: You Are The Star Of The Interview – Sell Yourself


Thursday was another whirlwind of intern interviews, project work, more intern interviews, and more project work.


Thank goodness for our friends at Worth Higgins & Associates. They came by to talk shop and they brought a massive spread of Panera bagels and…uh, well spreads, to keep us fueled up and carbo-loaded all day long! Thanks!


Friday, August 4: After The Interview, Send A Thank You Note/Email


Today, we met with leadership from the Richmond Police Department and Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General to discuss the final touches on an exciting new campaign to combat gun violence and gang crime in Richmond.


Also, Creative Director Art Webb took a break from his creative mastermind duties this afternoon to show off his domestic capabilities. Apparently, there was an issue with the official Madison+Main Margarita Machine, and we didn’t want the office to smell like a Cancun nightclub during spring break when Dave gets back on Monday.


Art Webb either made a mess or he’s practicing his curling technique for the next Winter Olympics. You decide.


“I went to college for four years.” – Kim Kardashian