Yesterday was my last full day in New York and I definitely went out in style. This morning we visited Walrus (www.walrusnyc.com), an agency comprised of 12-15 people but that’s doing some big work for clients like Howard Stern and Emergen-C. The founder of the company talked to us about how he got started in the business and how he started his own agency (by the way, the name has no special meaning, they just wanted to name it after an animal without any “baggage” attached).
We had a few hours off before the next tour, so we had lunch and then I took my crew to see Ground Zero. It looks much different than it did when I saw it seven years ago. They have started to construct the 9/11 memorial monument and it was great to see new life being built. It’s strange to think it’s been almost a whole decade since 9/11…
Next visited the office of Ogilvy (www.ogilvy.com) started by David Ogilvy who is considered one of the fathers of advertising. It’s a gigantic global firm with hundreds of offices worldwide. Something they are known for is their work for Dove’s Campaign for True Beauty (although that is produced out of their Toronto office). The place was HUGE – consisting of 11 floors, an exercise facility, a barbershop, a rooftop bar, and tons of floor space. Our guide informed us that there were around 300 creatives employed there alone – 300! It was a good contrast to Walrus as we got to see the difference between a small shop and a mega-agency. After the tour we got to hear form some of their Junior Creatives about how they got in the business and what they do in an average day. I always find those kind of stories enlightening and helpful in their own right. However, they liked to talk. A lot. We had to ask to leave because we were almost late for our next appointment.
Thus, we briskly walked several blocks over to the headquarters of R/GA (www.rga.com) which is a digital agency that does amazing work for big names like Nike+, Verizon, and Walmart – check out their websites to see their stuff. I really didn’t feel like I gained much knowledge from their tour merely because they are so visual based. Copywriting is always important in any agency, but they definitely put a huge emphasis on visual and interactive design, two skills that I do not possess. After giving us an overview, they offered to look through our books. I went first and once again, it really wasn’t helpful other than giving me more practice in selling my portfolio.
Immediately after I finished my review, I left my group at R/GA and rushed up five blocks to the Al Hirschfield theatre (stopping to grab a bite to eat on the way). There I had the marvelous pleasure of watching “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” starring Daniel Radcliffe (AKA Harry Potter) thanks to the wonderful generosity of my Nana. The show was stupendous! The entire production was beautiful and dead-on and Mr. Radcliffe can certainly carry a show – it’s a shame he was snubbed by the Tony’s this year. I trekked through the mob at the stage door and was able to get John Larroquette’s autograph (he is nominated for the Tony for Best Supporting Actor this year). I had to elicit the assistance from a rather tall Navy midshipman to hand my playbill over the crowd to get it, but I got in nonetheless. Sadly, Mr. Radcliffe didn’t come out because he had a “celebrity guest”. Oh well. I headed back to the front of the theatre and found my lovely friend Dyana awaiting me there. She goes to SMU with me and is a NYC native. We had planned to meet for dessert earlier in the week. It was super fun to see her in her own element! We went to a local hotspot called “Juniors” and caught up. Then she helped me hail a cab and I headed back to the hotel, packed all my stuff, and went to bed.
This morning I flew back to Dallas and am now sitting comfortably in my vacant residence hall about to go on call (even though there is no one here…). This trip was a wonderful experience – I learned a lot about myself and what I want to do in the future and proved to myself that I can survive perfectly well on my own. But, after all is said and done, I am glad to be back home.