I was on my way home from NYC when I received an out of the blue email and then, a phone call offering me a chance to interview with Visit Philadelphia for a spring internship. I reached out to Visit Philly back in the summer around June, asking if the organization even offered internships. The answer was yes, but at the time they were not looking for any new interns.
That initial inquiry paid off. Now, I’m serving as one of two advertising interns for Visit Philly. The experience that I was expecting to have is the complete opposite from what I could have ever imagined. It has taught me to expect the unexpected, just like how I got the internship in the first place. Visit Philadelphia is a client of an advertising agency, which I was not aware of when starting my internship. To better understand what I am talking about is Visit Philadelphia is the marketing and tourism agency for the city. When I found out the extremely important information, I was a bit thrown off. Especially since it was not mentioned at all during the interview. It took me a few weeks to understand how the organization runs as a whole. I kept asking myself, “Why does Visit Philadelphia even have an advertising department if they don’t even create their own ads?”
I’m about a month away from the end of my internship and I’m finally putting all of the pieces together. The advertising department is an extremely important asset to the company as a whole. The employees behind the department do a lot of in-house creative thinking that makes the advertising agency’s life much easier. They even put together a creative brief with every detail possible. Visit Philadelphia also uses the help of an out-of-house media planning and buying agency. The three companies as a whole make what Visit Philadelphia is everyday to the consumers eyes.
When I first started I was almost 100% sure I wanted to be an art director, but having this internship has shown me otherwise. I realized that there is so much more than meets the eye. It takes a leader to move things forward whether on the client or the agency side. These kind of skills are often times naturally embedded in you and I am lucky to say they are in my genes. I, now, see myself as an account manager. The skills that I have learned and am able to use in real life situations are skills that I know I would never be able to pick up at an advertising agency.
My advice is to seek out an internship with a company that is the client. During the college career it is important to get a taste of every angle of the advertising world. Access to the various disciplines within advertising will make you a more well-rounded candidate for a future job. Always keep an open-mind and always expect the unexpected.