Archive for May 2006

The first day of the rest of my life.

May 31, 2006

Today started out like a classic story of an intern’s first day, and ended feeling completely different. After arriving about 45 minutes early and sitting for 30 of those in the parking lot visualizing my first day, I walked into a huge, beautiful building, took the elevator up 12 floors, and met another planning intern, nervous like I was, waiting. After orientation, our tour of the agency was interrupted by an overhead announcement: “Attention, attention….” asking all employees to report to the stairwell. Everone happily made their way over to the large, open stairwell in the center of the agency. All 700 of us. “This feels like a really calm fire drill,” I said.

But as it turns out, the only thing burning was the agency’s collective desire to show a new client, Subzero Freezer Company and Wolf Appliance company, just how excited we all are to get the opportunity to work on the brand and have them as a client. The presentation, which took place with actors on each floor, included a spelling bee with the top marketing folks at Subzero standing right next to Stan Richards. It was truly an exciting thing to watch being it was about my second hour working there.

I soon learned that this nothing new for The Richards Group- in fact, it’s a tradition called a “stairwell.” I think this is a great idea- it brought us all together, was fun, and actually served a really important purpose especially for the client! I will always remember the feeling of standing amidst hundreds of people, leaning over the railing and watching Stan Richards introduce us all as 700 of the brightest people in the advertising business. If there was any doubt left that I wasn’t in the right place, it was at this point that it was completely eliminated.

I met my supervisor, my team, and many of the other itnerns. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.


Grocery Shopping

May 29, 2006

As an obsessive-compulsive shopper who's read consumer reports religiously since I was 5 years old, there was no chance of me getting all my initial groceries at one store. My momma told me, you better shop around. So I split it up. First I went to Central Market, an upscale grocery store that prides itself on the freshness of its food, its organic and healthy selection, and its incredible variety of choices. After that, I stopped at Tom Thumb, which is more similar to what I'm used to– more of your typical grocery store. While it was kind of annoying that I couldn't easily find some basics like non-organic shampoo, Ramen noodles, etc., at Central Market, I'll definitely go back there. At least 4 separate employees came up to me and asked me if I was finding everything okay, and when the first one who asked learned I had just arrived at the store for the first time, she ran off to go find the plethora of colorful promotional and also useful materials below, including a colorful map of the store, a book about pairing wine with food, a grilling guide, a booklet detailing the newest herbal trends, a list of weekly specials, and a colorful menu of what's new in the store. Interesting though, that as soon as I leave Central Market, I flip on the radio and hear the public relations director for Tom Thumb announcing their involvement with the community as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle through various campaigns. PR in the grocery industry is very much alive in Dallas. Oh, and one last observation- there is a huge selection of organic products here, about 10 times as much as I'm used to- it's really unbelievable. Even in Tom Thumb, organic products could be found and were highlighted in just about every isle.

I may as well just start a library of Central Market literature out of my hotel room.

And surprisingly, I spent almost over $120 at Tom Thumb, vs under $90 at Central Market. However, the Tom Thumb trip was dominated by bathroom products and a Brita water pitcher.

I’m here!

May 29, 2006

So here I am! And here, in order, are my first 10 observations about Dallas:

1. It's really hot.

2. It's really flat.

3. It's really spread out.

4. I've never seen so many stars in one day.

5. The Mexican food is a lot spicier (and therefore, better) here.

6. The salespeople and employees here are really friendly.

7. Actually, everyone is really friendly.

8. People get dressed up to run errands and go shopping here, they take pride in their appearance, their state, their country, etc.

9. You can't buy liquor on Sundays here, and can't buy wine before noon on Sundays. (Apparently churches with communion services have learned to plan ahead).

10. The roads here are a nightmare to figure out. I thought I'm a pretty good driver, but learning these loops and underpasses, multiple intersections, etc., will be a challenge.

On the flight to Dallas

May 29, 2006

So I knew this was going to be an eye opening trip as soon as the woman two seats over from me started pulling giant hunks of freeze dried beef out of her duffel bag and showing it off to the surrounding passengers. As she held up the meat and explained where she got each chunk of tenderloin, sirloin, etc., strangers started piping in and sooner or later, a big dinner was being planned for new friends later that evening. No joke. A stark contrast from the flight out of Rochester which was silent except for a few baby cries and the flight crew's safety speech.

A view from the plane during flight. If only I had thought to take a picture of the frozen beef.

This, I thought, was indicative of some fairly well thought out media planning. I'm assuming the ad for the Chicago premium outlets isn't on all diet pepsi cans. My guess is its either specially made for flights in or out of Chicago or that its available anywhere in the Chicago area. If my first guess is true, however, I wonder how many people flying out of Chicago actually keep their can until the next time they fly back there just to go to the outlets and receive the coupon book? For someone like myself who didn't have room to fit anything else into my crammed bags, there was no chance of this happening. Unless maybe, they had put a specific and impressive percentage off that the coupon gave you. Then I might consider it. Regardless, this was, if nothing more, at least more entertaining than a regular diet coke can, and I now know that there exists an outlet mall in Chicago, something I probably would have guessed if prompted, but wouldn't have thought of on my own.

This is the surrounding Dallas area from above.

Waiting in Chicago

May 27, 2006

So how's this for an up to the minute post… I'm between connecting flights in Chicago. Wow, this airport is crowded with very limited seating. There's literally no place to sit here other than at your gate. Kind of boring, but on the plus side, I'm observing some interesting people and getting really into Steel's book, "Truth, Lies, and Advertising" (thanks, Jurene!). But now I'm taking a little break to do a quick post of my day so far. Can't wait until I'm there!

My dad and I at the Rochester Airport, saying goodbye

Ready to Take on Texas!

At the Chicago airport– I thought this was pretty cool

And here I am now

Some unusual ads I found

May 23, 2006

Ok, so I'm not in Dallas yet, but I came across these yesterday and thought I'd post them on here. My sister and I were looking through the Rochester phone-book for a place to eat when I discovered the first ad. Looks like they were pretty desperate to stand out amongst all the others in the restaurant section. It got my attention for sure, but we didn't really consider eating there. But maybe that's because we really wanted Mexican. I found the church sign photo on somebody's myspace page… not sure whether or not it was photoshopped, but it looks real enough, and I think it's just great. Church advertising must be a little bit more complicated… my family goes to church only every now and then. I'd guess it wouldn't make sense to advertise to regular churchgoers… I think if I saw this it would not only make me think about going to church, but it would make me want to go check that church out specifically.


May 11, 2006


Welcome to BRIAN TAKES ON TEXAS! This blog will document my journey from Syracuse, New York to Dallas, Texas for my summer internship in account planning at The Richards Group. For more information about me, visit my website at: