You too can intern at the “Global Agency of the Year” Droga5. Copywriting student Dave Adams did just that through Miami Ad School.
Taking a quick break in the Droga5 library. L to R: art direction student Stephanie Armstrong and copywriting student Dave Adams.
As part of Miami Ad School’s quarter away program, second-year students are offered a once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunity … four times. During my fifth and sixth quarters, I interned at Droga5 and Apple, respectively. The two experiences were similar, different, and equally brilliant.
Chapter 1: Droga5
Even before I made the switch from finance to advertising, I knew about Droga5.
So when I had the chance to apply for an internship there, well—of course—I applied. Thankfully, a very talented and genuinely awesome human named Stephanie Armstrong agreed to be my art director. Teamed up, our chances of landing an internship at Droga5 went from none to slim.
We really needed to improve our odds.
Since up to a couple hundred students are placed every three months, agencies select their quarterly Miami Ad School interns based on their online portfolios. A creative portfolio is a digital extension of your analog self, but—let’s face it—it’s not a human. A website can’t shake the hand of a creative recruiter, and I pride myself on a good handshake.
Since we couldn’t interview, we created a personalized message for Droga5 that lived on our sites. When Droga5 viewed our portfolios, the first thing they’d see would be a message addressed directly to them. We called these landing pages “splash letters.” I wrote a letter to prove that good old-fashioned handshakes were definitely not passé. Stephanie made a watercolor mood board that blended her ocean-themed portfolio into the soul of Droga5. We titled it “Dear Droga5.”
Long story short—we got the internship, and still haven’t quite recovered from the shock.
“So what was it like at Droga5? In a word, occasionally-chaotic-as-you-might-
expect-but-also-enlightening-in-every-way (thanks, hyphens).”
We went into the internship hungry for briefs and food. Droga5 didn’t disappoint on either front. We worked on lots of accounts with lots of different creatives. We said “yes” to pretty much everything that came our way. Pitch decks, one-off executions, and leftover catering. Yes, there’s a lot of food at Droga5.
Our favorite part was working with two kickass creative directors (both Miami Ad School grads) on a brief from start to finish.
We were also assigned a senior creative mentor who brought us into projects and shared his own creative process. We still keep in touch with him today. As for specific projects, we worked on things like activations, out-of-home, social, new business and more. The projects were widely varied, which kept us on our toes. Especially because we bounced around a handful of accounts. As you may expect, ideas are the lifeblood of Droga5. Just being able to write a sleek headline or make something beautiful in Photoshop isn’t enough. There must be a bulletproof idea, and it has to be original. After all, David Droga is famous for saying, “Droga is a safe place for dangerous ideas.” A crafty headline or visual on top of a great idea certainly helps.
Side note: The D5 office comes equipped with a stunning view of the Brooklyn Bridge and a top-floor library room with enough natural light to heal all forms of anxiety.
Overall, Droga5 was about people. People with an open mind, curiosity and a natural ability to inspire. There would always be a creative director willing to refine our ideas. Or a junior creative willing to share their story. And a whole lot of other talented people determined to make every creative brief an opportunity.
So while we said “yes” to everything, we’re just glad they said “yes” to us.
Snapping selfies on our last day as Miami Ad School Droga5 interns (left to right): Dave Adams (copywriting); Stephanie Armstrong (art direction); Lukas Bruhn (art direction); Hana Ovcina (copywriting).
Reflecting on the experience, it’s clear that Droga5 is equal parts mind and brain. But real the reason they’re so successful is all heart.
After Droga5, I shipped out to California for my next quarter away opportunity. Check out the blog post on Chapter 2: Apple. And feel free to read it on your iPhone.
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.”