Want to know what’s it like to intern at Apple? Copywriter Dave Adams has the scoop on a life-changing experience.
Miami Ad School student copywriter Dave Adams: full fanboy status achieved.
For nearly 20 years, Miami Ad School has provided students with exceptional educational opportunities through its internship program. Hundreds of internships are offered every year to Miami Ad School students as an integral part of their education. Over 96 percent of the portfolio program students spend at least one quarter getting valuable real-world experience inside an ad agency, design firm, social media platform or other relevant industries.
My second Miami Ad School internship experience landed me in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the world’s most valuable company: Apple. For over three months, I was surrounded by amazing products, limitless craft, and people willing to share what they do and how they do it.
Chapter 2: Apple
I have a MacBook, AirPods, and an iPhone. Plus about 10 spare Lightning cables. Essentially, I’m an Apple fanboy.
But that’s only part of the reason why the internship interested me and, as you might imagine, I wasn’t the only interested writer applicant. Apple’s internship isn’t a typical quarter away option where Miami Ad School students are considered against other Miami Ad School students. Apple sources talent from all over the world. So the competition was skilled, global, and probably had way cooler accents than me.
After a few rounds of interviews, a copy test, and a stroke of luck, I found out that I would be heading to Silicon Valley. Apple puts up their interns in (really sweet) housing near the office, which made the transition to the Bay Area quite smooth.
So what was it like to intern at Apple? After the agency experience at Droga5, Apple was certainly different, but also familiar. Its in-house creative unit (Marcom) functions very much like an agency. There are writers, art directors, creative directors, designers, strategists and pretty much everything else you’d see at a Madison Avenue shop, but with way more Apple products.
There is, however, one huge difference: craft.
“Everything at Apple is crafted to perfection. Each creative element receives an incredible amount of thought and scrutiny.
Headlines, body copy, emoji mustaches—you name it. It’s been considered, crafted, and reviewed.”
So at Apple, I wrote, and wrote, and then … wrote some more. When I wasn’t writing, I was writing. I loved it.
Of course, there were moments where I could simply chill in any number of common areas or put together a fidget spinner competition with other creatives around me. Believe it or not, there was actually a freelancer that outspun me. I still have nightmares about it.
Anyway, Apple wasn’t only about craft. Ideas mattered too. The mind and brain combo was certainly on display.
In school, I learned to practice failure-free headline experimentation. I would write 100 headlines not only to find one that sounded right, but also to see if it could be something bigger. Basically reverse engineering copy into ideas. Because usually, the best headlines have an idea behind them. That was certainly true at Apple.
This iterative process of writing and refining is an Apple credence.
It is a method that works. Because it’s not possible to find the perfect headline, design, or idea without finding 100 other imperfect ones. It’s basically an adventure led by copy. All very fitting because I’ve always felt like creatives were explorers that just really like their laptops.
Apple is also enamored of details, but not for just any old reason. The products they make have profound impacts on the people who use them. The creative work behind those products can’t be anything shy of groundbreaking. Every. Single. Time.
Besides the work, and the fidget spinners, and everything in between, my first day at Apple had the biggest impact on me.
Orientation was in a theatre room with a slew of other interns from around the company and the world. Afterwards, orientation leaders gave us each a package where inside was a t-shirt and a note. The shirt didn’t really fit me. But the note did. Here’s what it said:
Just kidding! I can’t share it. Did I mention that Apple is a bit obsessed with secrecy? Instead, here’s a different quote from a certain former Apple CEO:
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
I agree, Steve.
Dave Adams interned at both Droga5 and Apple and is now a copywriter at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco—where he works on Pepsi, StubHub and Cheetos—and is “Fighting the urge to get a dog.” To that last bit we say, “Give in.”