The Intern Experience

Colin Dame: Advertising Major, Temple University, Class of 2019

Here at LevLane, helping students prepare for the corporate world through our intern program is something that, as a company, we pride ourselves on. We take their contributions seriously and we welcome the many innovative and fresh ideas they bring to the table. In fact, many of our best and hardest working team members began their careers with us as interns.

Colin Dame has had a similar journey and recently wrote an essay describing what his intern experience has been like with LevLane thus far. So, in his own words, and with his usual quirky spin on things, here is Colin’s intern experience…with a twist.

What Rihanna Taught Me About the Advertising Industry

By: Colin Dame

While earning my bachelor’s degree in Advertising at Temple University I participated in LevLane’s Intern program. For the past two semesters, I have been splitting my time between studying for my degree and learning everything I can about the inner workings of an ad agency.

As you may know, advertising agencies are high-pressure incubators for marketing and creative professionals. What you might not know is that Rihanna totally interned at an ad agency before she started singing. In fact, one of her most popular songs gives deep insight into what it’s like at an agency…well, kind of. I’ve broken down some of those lyrics into lessons any aspiring intern can use in the day-to-day.

The Lyric: You see me I be work, work, work, work, work, work

The Lesson: Ask For More Work

Rihanna gets it! Agency life is about putting in the work, work, work, work, work, work. But even in the slow moments, you need to get the most out of your time as an intern. Tasks run dry? Ask the media department if they need help with some reporting. Recently, I stepped in to help our SEO director with some keyword research, a vital skill for any aspiring content marketer, web developer or social media strategist; not to mention an easy resume builder!

The Lyric: You see me do me dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt

The Lesson: Ask For Help

What you do isn’t dirt! Everything you do is to help your client’s business. But you’re not a seasoned adperson…yet – there’s no reason you should know everything. There have been times when a manager has given me an assignment, and 10 minutes into it, I had no idea what was going on. It’s crucial to ask for clarification. Your supervisors completely understand that agency-talk can be a foreign language to you.

The Lyric: There’s something ’bout that work, work, work, work, work, work

The Lesson: Get Involved Wherever You Can

Agency life includes a lot of different interactions with clients – they are the folks paying you after all! Sitting in on meetings is a great way to better understand business communications in an agency. In meetings, you will learn when to talk, to whom to talk, how to talk, and what to say. Incorporating those fundamentals will take you far in this client-centric world.

The Lyric: When you a gon’ learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn

The Lesson: Go Outside Your Department

If you’re lucky enough to work at a full-service agency, you’ll quickly realize that the people there all do very different things. Introduce yourself to someone new every day. Chat with an art director about what their process looks like. Introduce yourself to someone you haven’t met before. If people in the office know your name and know what work you’ve contributed to, you lay the groundwork to making great network connections or a chance to join the agency full-time.

The Lyric: Me na care if me tired, tired, tired, tired, tired, tired

The Lesson: Self-Care is Key

You’re driven. That’s why you’re an intern, right? You want the best possible job out of college because you want to produce the best work. Well, you can’t do that if you’re running on empty with a flat tire. Nix going out 5 nights a week, and go get some sleep! Your future self and career will thank you.

Attach the Attachment

Ok, not a lyric, but it’s so important to be present during this experience. Take each moment one step at a time, and don’t think 6 steps ahead. If you’re sending your supervisor a deliverable, she’s never going to know how beautifully thought out it is if you forget to actually attach the attachment. Proof and edit each assignment with superb detail, and your supervisors will love you for what little work they will need to do to anything you turn in. Trust me, the easier you make their job the happier they’ll be!

Yes, being an intern is a requirement for graduating but if you do it right it can most certainly work to your advantage. A few reminders: do your research, find an internship that is the right fit for you and immerse yourself in any way you can within the company and you will get the most out of your intern program! Hopefully, these tips help you in your journey to become the next top CCO, CMO (or agency intern turned superstar if you decide to follow in Rihanna’s footsteps instead).

The Hub of the LevLane Wheel: Donna Pangione, Director of Production

Donna Pangione, Director of Production

Donna Pangione, Director of Production

Since she joined LevLane in 2010, Donna Pangione has often been referred to as the “hub” that keeps the agency’s projects in motion, from concept to completion. Here’s why:


How does your position fit into the functions of the rest of the agency?

Our department brings the project to life. Whether that’s a brochure, an outdoor billboard, print advertising, t-shirts – we handle it from start to finish and deliver the final product.


What led you to LevLane?

I had worked at LevLane years ago, and remembered the friendly people. I was glad to find that a lot of the people were actually still here!  In this ever-changing world of advertising, it is rare to find so many familiar faces so many years later.


How did you know this was the right position/career path for you?

I loved the subjects of art and English growing up. Penn State University had an advertising major at the time, so I thought that would be a good mix of both!  Now, I am one of the few Penn State Alumni with an actual advertising degree.


What is a typical day at LevLane like for Donna Pangione?

I manage the creative workflow, answer A LOT of questions, answer a lot of phone calls, double-check, double-check, double-check, review proofs, and most importantly ensure that everything is produced on time and within budget.


What is the most challenging aspect of your role at LevLane?

I interact with everyone on a daily basis and each department has its own idiosyncrasies. It can be challenging handling multiple personality types in the appropriate manner. It is also difficult to partake in the multiple steps involved in the successful completion of a project. My anticipation is always to exceed clients’ expectations, so there is a lot of back and forth and verifying to ensure that all parties are satisfied and that the final product looks as close to perfect as possible.


What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

It is so satisfying to see the finished product and working collaboratively with others to develop the best possible creation.  And I love when I come in under budget!


What types of projects do you most enjoy, and why?

I love utilizing unique printing techniques that just add the final, special touches to a design. Embossing, UV coating, varnishing techniques, foil-stamping, die cuts…it’s fun!


What’s your favorite thing about LevLane?

Everyone works really hard and at the same time the atmosphere is laid back, fun, and friendly.  I also thrive on the fast pace of the agency. The ever-changing environment allows the day to go by quickly and there is always something to do.


How do you handle the constant pressure of working on multiple deadlines?

Jogging!! Also, remembering that we are all working toward the same goal and that the deadlines always end in a beautifully-executed design.


As the head of your team, what plans or goals do you have for Production over the next year?

I’m really excited for the new software that we recently began using. It is a system that enhances project management tools. The goal is to further explore how it can facilitate our workload and make managing and interpreting creative needs more feasible and efficient.


Do you have any advice for someone trying to enter/advance in your area?

Follow your heart!! You’ll be successful…whatever success means for you. But above all, only you know how to make yourself happy. Follow your heart and you’ll get there.


What are some personal qualities that help you do your job efficiently?

My ability to “see the forest for the trees” has brought me a long way in this industry – sometimes it just takes common sense. My job requires careful consideration to budgets and timing, which are essential when it comes to producing projects as directed. I also try my best to be a good listener – that’s very important! Whether it’s filing each project into a “job jacket” or organizing the various folders on my desktop, my ability to organize has been a great help. It is extremely important to pay attention to detail and stay one step ahead of the game.


Some people describe you as “the glue” here at LevLane. Why do you think that is?

My department is kind of like the quarterback of a football team.  Our job is to throw the ball and to set the play in motion for the rest of the agency. Without direction, it is hard to know where to begin and how to proceed. The glue is unseen, right?!  Another way to put it is that we are like the hub of a wheel – everything starts and ends here and turns all around the central location. We are able to take note of the details and note any inconsistencies to bring the project up to par.


If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

To Key West to paint sweatshirts on Sunset Pier….yup, that’s where I’d like to be right now. (She showed me pictures. It’s awesome!)


By Gena Bushnell, LevLane Spring 2015 PR Intern and marketing major at Saint Joseph’s University


Reach your target audience without disturbing the peace

Steve LipentaWe are growing insensitive to online advertising, and recent studies reveal the challenge that advertisers face when planning and recommending online ads. According to conversion optimization company Invesp, the average Internet user is served 1,700+ banner ads per month but views only half of them. Of the ads viewed, 85% of those clicked came from a measly 8% of Internet users.

What does this mean? It means that, on average, only one in a thousand ads in a campaign is ever clicked. These seem like some scary numbers for advertisers, especially as they focus more and more on digital platforms and are forever seeking ways to make the most of a client’s budget. LevLane Media Manager Steve Lipenta shares his perspective on breaking through online without disturbing the peace:

Q: Does it worry you that consumers are becoming less perceptive of ads when searching the Internet?

SL: Consumers have become used to seeing ads where they expect them, and when they show up in a new place — creating a new roadblock for their experience — they get upset.

Q: From a media standpoint, how can we break this barrier in a considerate way, while still giving the client what they want?

SL: There’s a delicate balance to standing out without being too intrusive. It’s important to position your message in an engaging way, as opposed to just shouting offers at them.

Q: What would be your best advice to give in regards to placing ads on social media platforms such as Facebook?

SL: Know your audience and target smartly. Minimize waste where you can, and focus your efforts on the users most likely to want your product or services.

Q: How can we regain the consumers’ trust when advertising online?

SL: Try not to disrupt their experience too much. Thirty-second mid-roll ads in streaming will make them resentful. Brands have done a great job of using “bait-and-switch” ads that start out as though they are only thirty seconds and include a produced ‘fast-forward’ effect, reducing the spot to a :05 branding spot. Consumers will be grateful for the reduced disruption to their experience, and will be more likely to seek out your product.

Q: Is there one rule of thumb you live by working in media?

SL: How about three? Check your math, get everything in writing and don’t leave added value on the table.

No more confusion: Rebranding PIDC from the inside out

PIDC-logo-phila-3-1.png (1)Since its inception in 1958, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) has best been known for playing an integral part in the growth and development of the city’s industrial and manufacturing sectors.

As the makeup of the economy changed in Philadelphia, so did PIDC. It began helping many different types of businesses in Philadelphia: from small to large, for-profit to non-profit, in every business sector. The name they had been known by was no longer reflective of their breadth of work. Their brand identity had become confused, and they looked to LevLane to help them tell their story.

Conduct, Create, Change: LevLane began rebuilding the brand from the inside out, determined to uncover everything from the products and services that were offered, how employees and outsiders spoke of PIDC, to how the receptionist answered the phone. After conducting many interviews with internal and external key stakeholders, the LevLane team began to uncover the brand’s perceptions and truths.

It was evident that different Philadelphia businesses, as well as PIDC employees, had varying awareness of all the work of PIDC, causing brand recognition issues. LevLane’s rebranding campaign would soon help to solve this problem.

LevLane suggested that Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation solely be referred to as PIDC, then crafted an external positioning statement that described exactly what PIDC does: “Driving growth to every corner of Philadelphia.” In addition to its industrial heritage, PIDC wanted to focus on its small business lending and community development initiatives.

Next, it was crucial that the internal key messaging be clear for all. LevLane developed new brand messaging that ensured each PIDC employee would be communicating the same consistent message.

Finally, LevLane developed a comprehensive, multi-year marketing and communications plan that included a re-branding with a media plan to support it. The creative team stayed busy, and launched PIDC’s new website and campaign in October 2014. Complete with a new logo, messaging, color pallette, website, corporate brochure and collateral, it was out with the old and in with the new!Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 6.18.47 PM 1

“It’s been a long process, but well worth it for the results. We’re excited by the refreshed PIDC brand and how it better reflects our story,” said Jessica Calter, PIDC Director of Marketing Communications. “Our new website is fresh, user-friendly, and showcases our clients and the faces behind the scenes.”

“It’s important for the community to hear our client success stories firsthand and the ways in which they’re contributing to Philadelphia’s economy. With the creative direction of LevLane and other partners, we were able to put together a great video showcasing our clients and the work we’re proud to do every day,” said Anne Bovaird Nevins, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development for PIDC.

LevLane is confident that PIDC will continue to flourish for years to come, driving growth to every corner of Philadelphia!


I open Pinterest and the first things I see are a blueberry salad, a collage of sea otters and a wedding gown. Comments read “great idea!”, “adorable!” and “my style!” I scroll down. The emphasis on hip inspiration is apparent.

After browsing through the “pinboard” for five minutes, I’m not surprised to read comScore’s reports that out of over 10 million registered users, 50% are mothers and 28% have a household income of $100k+. So am I eager to make an account for myself? No—I’m not dying to “pin” photos of Leonardo DiCaprio or golden retriever puppies. Am I going to totally ignore Pinterest? Absolutely not.

Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site. It’s a great way to draw attention to your business, especially if you have a female demographic.
The trick is figuring out how to use Pinterest as a marketing tool. Whole Foods seems to have the right idea. After creating their brand account in July 2011, the organic grocery store has gained over 50,000 followers. Images on the Whole Foods Pinterest page speak to the values of the company. With boards for dinner recipes, fitness inspiration and recycling ideas, they’ve built up a brand image and gained loyalty from trendy moms everywhere.

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This rings especially true to brands looking to connect emotionally with the consumer. Text posts on Facebook and Twitter are about selling products. But images on the simple boards of Pinterest let businesses create a connection.

After all, Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” Text posts get you some one-time purchasers, but images get you brand enthusiasts.