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Orange Cup Chronicles: Advice and Insight for Spring Interns

Jeff Chesebro

February 16, 2016
Jeff Chesebro

Our office is currently full of interns. With at least five interns here every day, I decided to harness all of the young energy in the office. I gave our interns the opportunity to ask me any question about the marketing industry or my career in advertising.

When I presented them with the chance to learn from me, I was also able to learn from our bright and talented interns as well. Our interns this semester are bright and talented. They asked some great questions and learned a lot about what to expect from a career in advertising. Most importantly, they now know where I get my socks.

In our first ever video blog, named after the orange cup I bring with me everywhere, you can watch the Q&A session below.

Q: What advice would you have to give to someone starting out in the industry?

A: No idea is a bad idea. You can always learn from other. People can always teach you the things that you can’t do yourself. Always stay up-to-date on what is going on in the world. It affects business and helps us to understand what our clients’ business needs are.

Q: Do you find that there are brainstorm settings that are particularly conducive?

A: It’s not so much setting, it’s the attitude that you bring to it. Come in with background and openness.

Q: What’s the most memorable project you’ve worked on?

A: Right now, I’m really excited about our current clients, many of which are focused on trying to make life better here in New Jersey. I love the idea that much of what we’re doing here is good for the people of New Jersey.

Q: How do you balance humor within your professional life?

A: It’s a fine line. You can’t just go in and be silly. But, almost everyone responds to humor. It shows your humanity. It has to be in the moment, so it’s natural and fits in. People choose to work with people. People choose to continue to work with you because they like, trust, and respect you.

Q: What has been your most challenging project and why?

A: This may not be the answer you’re expecting. Balancing work and life is very important. Don’t let your job take over your life. You are going to have bosses like me who say, “This needs to be done now,” when it can wait. Don’t be afraid to tell them that.

Q: What has been your favorite experience at PPI?

A: What I enjoy most is the variety of clients we work with. We don’t work in one category. We have a range of clients with a range of needs. It’s taught me that you need to know businesses. Our expertise is translatable across categories.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working in advertising?

A: Helping a client succeed and their company advance its goals. To help our client succeed and help others, their employees, and the people they serve is most rewarding.

Q: How have you seen technology develop and how can interns utilize that technology?

A: There’s been a dramatic change. Don’t get trapped by your technology. Lift your head up and talk with people.

Q: Where do you think the world of advertising and marketing is going?

A: Ideas and the ability to think are never going to change. We pull together to look at facts, figures, strategies, and ideas to help our business and a client’s business move ahead. Low-level things are going away, but the ability to think will not be outsourced or computerized. Try to know as much as you can. The class in school that I learned the most from was the class I got the worst grade in because it taught me how to think. You have to have the fodder to think.

Q: What advice do you have for staying on track?

Be open to new experiences. Get as much experience as you can. You are all still young enough to change your minds. It’s better to have tried and failed than to have not done enough at all. Have goals and know that your goals are going to change. Figure out in a big scope way what you want to do and identify the types of things that you enjoy doing.

Q: What kind of change have you seen film and video take into the company/industry?

A: Fifty years ago TV ruled everything. Now, TV commercials are much more about entertainment than communication for a business, as we just saw in the Super Bowl. Advertising is becoming much more visual and that’s where video comes in. It’s going to grow in importance.

Q: Now that you can touch and grab technology in two seconds, how has that changed advertising?

A: You don’t see 60 second commercials anymore. Now it’s 10, 15, or 30 second spots on TV. It’s much different. You need to make a primary impression in the first few seconds. The most important thing – your name, a visual, or phone number – you must get it out there right away.

Q: What separates PPI from other agencies?

A: Sometimes being smaller can be more productive. We can be more open and collaborative. What separates us from other agencies is the people we have, our ability to be competent, and our ability to meet the needs of the clients and stay on top of things. Intangibles are key.

Q: Where do you get your socks from?

A: Banana Republic, J. Crew, Sock of the Month Club. I got my Albert Einstein socks at the Franklin Roosevelt Estate.