Teaching, Unicorns & Dressing Fashionably Cool.

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Erik Stroem, Hamburg Copywriting Student, Currently at Droga5 NY Lab, Interviews Tara

Erik Stroem: Which do you like best, ponies or unicorns?
Tara Lawall: Unicorns! During my first year of advertising I had a personal goal to get a unicorn into an ad, and I am very proud to say I accomplished that goal in a TV spot for LG Mobile:

ES: What’s good about working at Droga5, Creativity’s 2015 Agency of the Year?
TL: The people. My co-workers are at times my friends, my mentors…my therapists. Everyone feels they are part of the same team, together on the same mission. Of all of the places I’ve worked, this is the one that I feel the most a part of. We are all building this agency, and that ownership makes it really special.

ES: So how come you’re always dressing in black?
TL: My team partner is devastatingly fashionable and cool, and I am not. I’m from suburban Pennsylvania and I actually used to work at the Gap. Every morning when I walk into the office he just sort of looks at my outfit and sighs, disappointed. I thought I would start dressing all in black and I would maybe look cooler and be less offensive to him.

I'm only half-kidding.

ES: You enrolled at Miami Ad School in October 2006 as a copywriter. Is there anything you wish you’d done differently back then?
TL: Yes, I wish I’d made more daring Quarter Away choices. I went to Hamburg and London, but then spent my last two quarters in NYC. I wish I had been more adventurous and gone to South America or Asia instead of spending my last two quarters of school in New York.

ES: Why do you teach?
TL: I think of it as my weekly creative exercise. I know that sounds really dorky. But when you get a job you stop concepting as much as you do in school, so I like to teach because it forces me to use that part of my brain intensely for three hours a week.

ES: What’s the biggest difference between being a teacher and being a creative?
TL: As a teacher, you are supposed to get all of your students to become a little bit better than they were before – regardless of what level they are at–while as a creative, I have to constantly be pushing myself to get better.

ES: Would you say that the teaching has helped your career?
TL: Completely. It changes the way I present work because I started to see how I like to have ideas presented to me. It helped me realize the benefit of closing the loop before I present—so I put that responsibility on myself rather than on my Executive Creative Director.

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