I have to admit, before I applied for an internship at AB&A, I did what any rational and intelligent person would do: stalked the company on social media. I had to know what I was getting myself into and, according to their Instagram account, I was about to work with some Game of Thrones loving, banana wearing and coffee addicted advertisers. Seemed like a good fit. I was excited and ready.
The funny thing about college is that although you are learning about what you want to do in life, most of it is based in theory. There are some set rules and basics that every student should know, but the day-to-day grind on how advertisements are made is, in many ways, hard to understand and provide in a classroom setting. This is where the internship in AB&A came in. I knew the theory, I knew what advertising campaigns worked and which ones tanked, but how was it all made? Who was responsible for the ideas? What does it all mean?
During my initial interview with Digital Director Patrick and Art Director Juan Carlos, but we call him JC, I was very adamant in promoting my animation skills. I had previously done some ads for an FIU Organization called the American Marketing Association (AMA), and frankly was very proud of the work. So as consequence, animation has been the main focus of my internship here. I was put to work under the creative department, or the East Side, with Mario, local Photoshop expert with a very keen eye, and Elisabet, an amazing website creator and Photoshop expert. Both very experienced artists have helped guide me through the creative dilemmas that animating can present. With many hours staring at a screen and going back and forth to check the flow of my work, I am able to say that I have been able to successfully hone my animation skills. I wouldn’t say I’m ready for Pixar or DreamWorks, but I can confidently hold my own as an animator.
Even though it’s been the main part of my job as an intern, animation isn’t the only thing I’ve learned to do. Under the mentorship of JC and Patrick, I have been able to see how ad concepts are conceived and hashed out. It’s a lot of back and forth, but it’s all part of the job. The account managers dictate most of the creative initiatives that we work on. Alina, Diana, Jackie and Carlos all keep close tabs with our clients making sure we keep them happy and help flesh out new advertising concepts that fit their company needs.
Getting to know the digital side, better known as the West Side, has also unlocked what it takes to make websites and social media a successful part of each account. SEO IS LIFE! My advice to anyone trying to get their businesses of the ground is to learn what SEO and SEM are and learn how to apply them to their business. Also if your business doesn’t have at least two social media accounts, you better believe you are doing something wrong. Social media is such a great way to connect with every customer.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is advertisers should always do things with a purpose. The best ads are those that have true meaning and add value to the viewer’s experience. Many of my skills have been put to the test, and despite having to revise something a million times, I realize that this is the creative process of creating ads. It’s trying to figure out how to best convey a message and how to avoid something generic and empty. In many ways advertising is storytelling and under AB&A’s leadership I’ve come to realize how important that is.
-Juan Munevar, Intern and After Effects Wizard