‘What do you think, Alec?’

Alec Norem pictured with one of the many daily little visitors of SKAR Agency.

By Alec Norem

Year in school: Senior

Major: Advertising

Internship: Copywriting Intern, SKAR Advertising Agency

Wait, what? You want my opinion? But I’m just a lowly intern who’s here to observe and go fetch the coffee.

Wrong. Not here at SKAR.

Smack dab in the middle of Omaha, SKAR Agency has been the launch point into my career in advertising, and I could not have been luckier.

From day one, there was never a moment when I felt like an intern newbie. From creative strategizing in the “War Room” (yes, sounds very Game of Thrones-esque) to writing actual copy for radio/television spots, SKAR truly valued the opinion of this plucky millennial.

SKAR pushed me to attack a challenge from all angles and taught me immeasurable lessons as a future copywriting hopeful.

So here’s a few of those lessons:

First Thing’s First: Lie

You heard me. Not the full-blown “I can speak five different languages” type of lie. But the subtle, “Oh yes, I’m definitely interested in doing data-driven research even though I don’t really care for research, but it’s part of this job so I would love to” kind of lie.

In the grand scheme of things you may never want to look at another data sheet again (because stats was a straight up nightmare). But if it means landing a job, sometimes willingness to learn new skills, like coding or research, is necessary. Employers love hearing that you’re eager to try something different, even if it’s a flat-out fib. Who knows? It may open your eyes to something you never thought you’d enjoy doing. Definitely not stats … but something!

“Giving Me A Million Reasons, About A Million Reasons”

That’s the tune you’ll be singing when you have to justify every single decision you make, working at an agency. This is, however, probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned while at SKAR. Every single idea that popped into my head that I wanted to share and use for a campaign, I definitely needed to back up with a sort of rationale.

As part of his internship at SKAR, Alec Norem took part in the Nebraska Lottery’s latest campaign, consisting of shooting television and radio spots.

If all you’re thinking is, “Oh this would be cool” and can’t provide valid reasoning, the idea probably isn’t strong enough or doesn’t relate back to what the client initially asked for with the project.

If you really love an idea but aren’t sure how to justify it, then by all means, reach out to your creative team and get some insight. The best ideas come from working with a team.

Just remember to justify.

You Never Learned Anything By Talking

This I learned from day one, and it holds true to my very last day at SKAR.

With countless years of experience, it is so humbling to be amongst some brilliant staples in the ad agency world. That being said, if you’re lucky enough to be an intern at an agency, there’s a time to share ideas and also many, many, *many* more times to simply listen, learn and gain incredible insight from SKAR’s vast pool of knowledge. There was always an opportunity to learn on a day-to-day basis at work.

“Taste is subjective.“

That’s what my boss and president of SKAR, Jolene David, had to say about working with the variety of clients that SKAR has. In one of the blog posts I wrote this summer, “How To Beat Creative Burnout”, I covered this tip a little more in depth.

As a copywriting intern, Alec Norem was featured on SKAR’s Instagram. SKAR succeeds in making each and every employee (including the interns) feel welcome and at home.

Overall it’s super important to remember that you may have to rewrite copy or re-concept an idea over and over, even if your first idea was *your* favorite.

First and foremost, it’s the client whose opinion matters. They may want to spell words wrong on an ad, but that’s their choice! Or they may want to use Microsoft’s “Paint” app for design and photo editing, but if that’s their wish then so it is granted! You also have to remember that taking criticism from your clients and even fellow coworkers will only make you stronger and push your creative boundaries.

In reflection, I cannot thank SKAR enough for being the key player in introducing me to the professional jungle that is an advertising agency. This tight-knit family welcomed me with open arms and with an open seat at their in-house SKAR bar.

Mixed with the endless flow of snacks, the pitter-patter of office dogs visiting my desk and the vibrant faces of my coworkers, all I can say to SKAR is “thank-you,” for every single lesson you could have taught me.


Vote for this entry in Round 2 of the 2017 Greenlee School Summer Intern Blogging Contest.

Voting begins at noon on Aug. 10 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 17. The winner will be announced Aug. 18 by noon.