A Millennial Peggy Olson (Or Something Like That)

CM Capture 1Welcome to my recently-begun search for a full-time job in advertising/brand-building. So far, I know next-to-nothing, although I’m quickly remedying this through hours of Internet research and setting up meetings with everyone I know who works in this sector.

Why, you might be asking, am I looking for a full-time job in the world of advertising? I already have a job waiting tables at a fantastic restaurant, plus I’m not a particularly “materialistic” person (those of you who knew me in grad school surely remember my Marxist phase). Here’s the deal, though: I want a more stimulating job than serving food. I want to work in a dynamic environment that really taxes my intellect, and where I’m surrounded by creative, bright minds. Ultimately, my dream would be to use my skills to support start-ups focused on sustainability (which I already do for the local food consultancy Green Rabbits), but at present I’m just exploring the field of advertising and brand-building to see what’s out there.

So far, I’ve been looking into the “top places to work” according to AdAge, and exclusively focusing on New York City-based companies. Some findings:

  • Big Spaceship emphasizes collaboration as a work strategy; they divide their company into teams – strategy, design, technology and production. They also see themselves as conversation-starters in the ad world and in a general sense, as exemplified by one of their account executives blogging about going a month without a smartphone and the lessons she learned. What I like about Big Spaceship is that they seem to have a sense of humor, but in a very thoughtful way. Big Spaceship seems like one Big Experiment, constantly innovating and iterating, and publishing research and thoughts that emerge from the process.
  • Team One is on the forefront of thinking about demographics, as shown by their approach to campaigns such as the Marriott hotel chain, which was based on “a new consumer base: ‘The Accomplished,’ a demographic comprised of affluent business travelers, who share the mindset of a growing consumer group that wants a luxury experience but doesn’t necessarily need to be waited on hand and foot.” They also made the world’s first collaboratively created stop-motion Instagram movie, for Lexus. Plus I like their team photos, especially the robots, and according to Team One’s website, 85 percent of their employees are in therapy, which either means that they hire really neurotic people or they have an excellent health insurance plan, or possibly both.
  • I finally learned the story behind the amazing Manhattan Mini Storage ads–they were a collaboration between Archie Gottesman, the chief branding officer for the parent company, and a copywriter, and they have evolved to be more political as the years have gone on. They’re so damn good; I would be proud to be the author of these ads.
  • Horizon Media is behind those Geico commericals that always confuse you into thinking they are ads for a totally different product or company! Don’t you wonder how they came up with the gecko?
  • Deutsch had the honor of creating the first iPad ad campaign, and has an office with a 360-degree view.

That’s all I’ve sniffed out so far on this hunt . . . More to come. And hey, if none of this works out, I’ll just write the novel version of “Mad Men,” OK? And on that note, I’ll leave you with the words of Don Draper, in reply to some hippies who have accused him of being part of “the system”:

“Well, I hate to break it to you, but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.” – Don Draper

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