The Information Interview: A Crash Course in Networking

You know the old saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” While this saying has been around for a long time, I think it is relevant now more than ever. In an age where companies can head hunt prospective employees at the click of a few buttons, getting your name out there is extremely important. Making connections in your chosen industry is perhaps the most important skill that’s often not being taught in classrooms today.

Fortunately, in our Placement and Career Readiness class we’re taught how to properly network and shown the value of doing so. This culminates in an “information interview” with an industry professional who holds a position similar to one we would one day like to hold, or someone who works at a company we think is interesting.

For my information interview I was fortunate to have a meeting with Rob Howard, a Senior Strategist at Cult Collective LTD, located in Kingston. I initially chose Cult as my target because I heard about them at a Kingston mixer. After learning more about them I was interested in how they approach helping brands redefine themselves.

So I wrote to Rob and explained that I was a student at St. Lawrence College in the Advertising & Marketing Communications program and I was interested in learning more about the industry, exploring a potential placement opportunity and developing my local network. This process was pretty smooth for me; Rob graciously agreed to meet with me.

I met with Rob at the Cult office here in Kingston the following week. I showed up armed with questions about the advertising industry, about Cult in particular and about Rob’s career path. While we did eventually cover all of these topics, the conversation was much more natural than me reading a question and Rob answering. We actually had a conversation that went in many different directions and gave me more insight than I could have hoped for with my five questions alone. It was great, and I learned a lot about Cult and Rob’s position as a Senior Strategist there.

The unexpected part was when Rob started asking me questions about my interests and what type of career I’d like to explore. I answered to the best of my ability and Rob offered insightful advice about which companies to look up and follow.


For me, there were two key takeaways from my meeting with Rob. One, which is the basis of this post, is that who you know is very important. Many times, people who are able to get their name out there and create a large professional network are able to find employment without even applying for jobs. This is something we have been told many times from all of our teachers, but hearing from professionals in the industry just seemed to drive it home even more.

The second takeaway that I got from my meeting with Rob is this: keep reading and keep learning. The advertising industry such an interesting industry and there’s so much out there. It is important for us to continue to learn about the topics that interest in order for us to grow professionally. The advertising industry is constantly evolving these days, and so too must our skill set. In 20 years the skills I’ve learned in college will not be enough. It is important for us to continue to evolve alongside the industry, to continue to grow our knowledge base. Not only is this great for personal development, but this will also make us an asset to a company. If I have taken the time to learn and understand something that a colleague has not, then I will have more value to a company.

Of course when the interview was over I thanked Rob for his time and the valuable insight he had given me. Now, when I am reading an article about something industry related I always think back to my meeting with Rob and the advice he gave me. Perhaps when I find something particularly relevant I will tweet at him and maintain our connection, because you never know, he may be a valuable resource to me in the future.

The value of my conversation with Rob is not lost on me. I have already taken his advice and started reading about industry trends much more than I used to. I’ve started following companies on Twitter which post regularly about major trends and news in the advertising world. I’ve also continued to grow my professional network through LinkedIn and other sources. I think the information interview process is a great way for students to explore career and placement options.

At first I was hesitant to be contacting an industry professional, as were many of my classmates, but this process has helped us all grow as individuals and realize that they are human just like us and not so intimidating as we had thought. It forces us out of our comfort zone and we’re all the better for it.


USTA Serves Up an Ace

If you asked 100 teens what their favorite sport is, I bet less than 5 of them would answer tennis. As popular as tennis is world-wide, it’s just not as attractive to the younger generation as professional hockey or baseball.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) wants to change that. According to this post by Tim Nudd on, the USTA has commissioned a new campaign aimed at millennials which works to highlight the many benefits of playing tennis. The agency in charge of the campaign is DDB New York.

The theme of the campaign is “Tennis Makes You,” and according to the spots, tennis can make you “smarter, stronger, invincible, happier, and attractive.”

Here’s the five short online spots all put together in one video:

Personally my favourite spot is “invincible.”

The spots were directed by Jared Hess, perhaps best known for his cult classic Napoleon Dynamitewhich helps to explain the “offbeat” style of the messages.

Personally I think these spots are great. They reel viewers in with claims such as “Tennis makes you invincible,” and show a funny little skit which I think really appeals to the target audience.

After capturing our attention they then provide actual information about the benefits of tennis, and physical activity in general. The ending of the “invincible” ad says, “Research shows people who play tennis regularly cut their risk of death by any cause in half.”

So what do you think, is the USTA on the right path to increasing awareness and involvement in their game among the younger generation?

Feedly: Your One-stop Shop for Everything You Need to Know


Recently I was introduced to by one of my professors, Ricardo Guiliani. Feedly compiles news sources from various topics that interest the user and organizes them all into a newsfeed.

To get started all you need to do is type in topics to the search bar that interest you and the search provides a list of suggested websites. For example, I typed in topics such as design tools, advertising, social media, etc. and compiled a feed of over 20 websites.

Some of the topics in my Feedly

Some of the topics and websites in my Feedly

My Feedly Websites

Another part of this assignment, apart from getting setup on Feedly, was to find two advertisements and analyse them based on some of the elements we’ve been learning in Digital Publishing. So, without further ado, here they are:

Lotto Max: Using Colour to Catch Your Attention

This ad is for Lotto Max, designed by MacLaren McCann.

This ad is for Lotto Max, designed by MacLaren McCann.


The first thing that I notice when I see this ad is the big red price tag, and I’m sure that was the designers’ intention. The designers’ use of colours and font weight draws the eyes first to the image and the big red price tag, and then secondly to the text at the bottom of the ad.

Balance & Alignment

In terms of balance and alignment I feel that this ad could be improved. I don’t think the balance is horribly off, but I know when I’m looking at this ad my eyes are consistently being drawn towards the big red price tag on the right side on the ad, which is an indicator that something is unbalanced. It’s not overbearing to the point of ruining the ad, but it’s definitely noticeable, to me at least.


For the typography of this ad, there’s not really much to talk about because there’s not a lot of copy. There’s the large sans-serif “PRICE” on the price tag, and some much smaller sans-serif in the slogan. The typography in this ad is pretty basic, but that’s okay for Lotto Max and this ad because it relies more so on the image to get its point across, rather than using copy.


That said, let’s look at the use of color in the ad. As you’ll notice, there is a large amount of blue used in this ad. The sky and the pool are both a nice serene blue. Traditionally blue evokes a sense of security and calmness in viewers. I think the use of blue here works to that effect because it implies security and no worries for the winner of the Lotto Max.

The other colour which stands out in this ad, as mentioned before, is a bright red. Red is often used to grab viewers’ attention and raise blood pressure, and is often associated with impulse purchases. Lottery tickets usually fall under the category of impulse purchases, so I think this use here works perfectly.

Overall Impression

Overall I think this ad is pretty well done. The image grabs viewers’ attention and the slogan “What would you do if your ticket won?” evokes a sense of wonder and curiosity in viewers’ that should result in a purchase. As mentioned the balance is a little off, but I don’t think it really takes away from the effectiveness of the ad.

Polk Audio: A Lesson in Minimalism


This ad is for Polk Audio and was designed at the Miami Ad School in San Francisco, USA.


The image in the middle of the ad is at the top of the hierarchy for this ad, followed by the text right below it and then the brand and slogan at the bottom of the page. I think it’s at the top of the hierarchy because it is the largest component of the ad and also the first thing a viewer sees when looking down the page.

The text directly below it is used to help understand the message of the image, and finally the slogan at the bottom of the page reinforces the message from above.

Balance & Alignment

In terms of balance and alignment this ad is pretty good. All three elements of the ad are centered in the middle of the page, so there is no heaviness on the left or right size. There is a slight unbalance with the brand image and slogan at the bottom of the page, where there is nothing to balance it at the top of the ad, but I don’t think this is detrimental to the ad as a whole.


This ad has some interesting copy which is a very important part of understanding the message of ad. The body copy is written in all capital letters, which helps to further emphasize it’s importance. The designers use a sans-serif font which is easy on the eyes,which makes sense given the minimalist design.

The second half of the copy “Infant in 28E Remix” is written in reverse type which even further emphasizes this part, which is good because it is supposed to add some humour to the ad. In the slogan at the bottom of the ad “noise” is written in reverse type, which again adds emphasis, this time to help point out that Polk Audio headphones cancel out outside noise.


The colour scheme of this ad is very simple. It has a teal green background and the image and copy are done in black. Green is often a colour that is associated with tranquility and harmony, which works well with noise cancelling headphones; users can enjoy their music in peace.

Overall Impression

Overall I like this ad. It is done in a very minimalist style, but I think it is really effective. There is a good use of humour in this ad that many people can relate to. How many times have loud outside noises ruined your listening experience with headphones?