Meet the Interns: R/GA New York's Madison Kelly

"One of the most important things that differentiates R/GA from other agencies is the collaborative atmosphere..."

Tell us about your internship, what are your main responsibilities? 

I am the New Business Development intern at R/GA New York. As a part of New Business, we get R/GA the latest and greatest new clients and my role on the team is to do everything I can to help make that happen. Whether that be assisting with responses for RFPs (request for proposals) from prospective clients or completing outreach spreadsheets to find people who may be interested in R/GA’s services, the work changes every day. Throughout the summer, I’ve also been doing a lot of research on our competitors and how they position themselves to companies. I’m using this information to help make sure we’re representing ourselves in the best way possible so our potential clients will want to choose us as their new agency. 

Do you have a dream account or brand you’d like to work with? Which one?

For as long as I can remember, my family has been Disney obsessed. We visited the park for the first time when I was around 3 and have been going ever since. We even try to have Disney movie nights as a family every so often to keep the kids inside of us alive and well. WDW has successfully branded themselves as ‘the most magical place on earth’ and make people realize that there are endless possibilities once you believe you can do it. They have such a positive culture and emphasize values such as happiness, equality and imagination. I believe they have done some of the most incredible marketing ever done to become globally known as magical and surreal. I think working on a brand capable of doing something of this magnitude would be incredibly fun and supply endless possibilities.

Talk to us about the culture in your office, how has it impacted your internship?

It’s easy to see just by stepping into our office that one of the most important things that differentiates R/GA from other agencies is the collaborative atmosphere. I’ve had 2 internships prior to this one so I know this isn’t a given everywhere, but I love how much people work together to do the best work that they can do. Whether it’s from one department to another or even someone from one of the other offices around the globe, people are always helping each other create the best work that they can and it creates such a positive and happy energy throughout the office. This has made the experience much less intimidating for me and definitely helps to make a big, global agency feel accessible. 

What have you learned about the advertising industry that surprised you? 

One thing about the advertising industry that surprised me is how much more there is to it than just ‘advertising.’ Calling the business that we work in “the advertising industry” is truly outdated given how much more goes on than just ads. There’s augmented reality, influencer marketing, experience design, data analytics, prototyping, app development, media planning, the list goes on and on. All of these things are part of the industry even though it expands way beyond the traditional sense of advertising. There is only so much you can learn in school to prepare you for the ad business and even when you think you’ve learned it all, you’ll never truly understand until you’re fully immersed into it. 

Choose a current popular advertising trend and tell us what’s interesting about it: 

A new advertising trend which I’ve noticed is becoming increasingly popular is the ‘meme advertisement.’ Many millennials (myself included) have filled their social media timelines with meme accounts which use images and extreme levels of irony to escape the stress and seriousness of everyday life. Recently, I have been noticing more and more companies creating memes which have their brand as the solution to the problem being mocked. While some of these can be quite funny and effective, many of them just seem like such a desperate cry to connect with the social media addicted millennials.

Imagine your dream job, where are you, what does a day-to-day look like? 

What I thought would be my dream job has changed a lot due to my experiences from the past year or so. I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up, but what I do know is that I want to be in a big ad agency, maybe have my own office, a big one (a girl can dream.) I don’t want there to be a day-to-day because I want my job to be constantly changing. I’d ideally like a job which not only allows me to travel but requires it. I want to connect with people around the globe and have my career be something that continues to expand my knowledge about how people live their lives in ways that are different from my own.

Are you considering another internship, or looking for jobs now? What are your next steps? 

As a recent graduate, after this internship I would ideally love to transition into a full-time job that maximizes the experiences I’ve learned from this summer. I love everything about R/GA so if they have the availability, I would be more than thrilled to start the next step of my career here. No matter the outcome, I’ve still learned that new business is a potential career path for me. This summer has taught me so much, and I now see how much more there is to learn. Whether it be here in NY, on the west coast or somewhere else in the world, I plan to get a job at a big agency and continue to learn about the incredibly fun industry that is advertising.

What is your favorite ad of all time? 

Two ads come to mind when answering this question but for very different reasons. For years now, my dad has had the words from Apple’s ‘Think Different’ commercial plastered on the walls of my house. My parents have always raised me to be the ‘crazy one’ who didn’t fit in and this commercial showed so many people that the ones who are judged for being different are the ones who are remembered. I have to say it’s an all-time favorite of mine (as I’m sure it is to many people around the world) because it inspired me to believe that “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” I do have to make this a two-part answer though because I have only recently developed the knowledge it takes to really appreciate advertising, and my favorite ad that I’ve seen through my own advertising eyes is R/GA’s Love Has No Labels. This campaign made even those who believe they are open-minded realize that they have some unconscious bias when it comes to love and relationships. Equality is one of the things I’m most passionate about and this campaign does an incredible job at interrupting people’s everyday lives to show them that love has no labels. It actually brought a tear (or ten) to my eye the first time I saw it.