It all started with a Tweet. Then another Tweet, and then a video, and the next thing you know, we’ve got ourselves an intern named John Donahue who’s first day arrival is met with anticipation usually reserved for royal babies, new episodes of “Homeland,” and (for most of our office anyway) Phish concerts.
Let’s go back a few weeks.
We had taken to our Twitter handle to alert anyone who cared (and plenty who didn’t) that after a season of soul-crushing losses, we had pulled off a victory, all the more sweet because of its unusual nature. Shortly afterwards, we got the following response.
@ConnellyAgency heard you guys need some softball help. Lucky for you I’m available. You’d probably have to take me on as an intern though?
— John Donahue (@JDonahue135) August 6, 2013
This got our attention. But was John Donahue a one-Tweet wonder? There was only one way to find out.
@JDonahue135 Consider us intrigued. Email your info to email@example.com. Note: BRING. YOUR. GAME.
— Connelly Partners (@ConnellyAgency) August 6, 2013
He responded to the challenge. And then some.
— John Donahue (@JDonahue135) August 9, 2013
I mean, what do you say about a guy who openly invites comparisons to Ryan Gosling, claims to roll with Brad Pitt, and saves damsels in distress, all in a minute and a half?
In our case, we said, “When can you start?” And it reminded us of the following immutable laws of marketing.
Bold is beautiful.
In baseball, the saying is “if you’re going to get beat, get beat with your best pitch” (ed. note: Then how do you explain our softball record?). This applies to marketing as well. You need to have a degree of fearlessness within all disciplines, whether you’re presenting a campaign idea, a tagline, or you’re pitching a reporter – you need to believe in your idea if someone else is going to.
John not only put himself out there, but did so in such bold, ostentatious fashion that could only generate one response or the other: admiration or ridicule. Because let’s face it, if this concept had been done poorly, it would have been a “Gigli”-level bomb. Fortunately, he nailed it, and we here at CP loved it. More than anything, we loved the fact that there was no sense of “let’s play it safe” in John Donohue.
Find where your audience is, and engage them there. Then keep engaging them.
We like to Tweet. We engage with people who Tweet at us. We have a sense of humor that can alternately manifest in cartoonish braggadocio or over-the-top self-deprecation.
John recognized all of this, and met us where we live and spoke to us in our language. That’s about as basic a tenet of marketing there is. But it doesn’t make it any less impressive when it’s rendered artfully.
First impressions aren’t everything. But they’re meaningful.
John might be train wreck. Or he could wind up owning the joint some day. We have no idea how he’s going to pan out, because as much as you can scout someone ahead of time, you never know how they’re going to play for you until they’re wearing your uniform and playing in your system (ed note: no sports metaphor unturned here at CP).
But damned if John doesn’t have us all excited about having him in the building, and hopefully, he (and we) can build on that momentum. It’s on us to make sure we get the most out of our interns and provide them with an environment to learn and thrive in (we have more than a few employees who started as rock star interns). It’s on John to make sure he fulfills his promise by bringing the same passion and energy that he brought to the application process. The same of course holds true in all walks of marketing – be strong out of the gate, but if you don’t build off of your early bursts of creativity and passion, your ideas – and clients – are destined for ephemera.
So, that’s the story of John Donahue, first day intern at Connelly Partners. He’s already inspired a blog entry. And he’s got all eyes on him, more so than most interns. How will it turn out? Only time will tell, but we’re optimistic.
Because Brad Pitt wouldn’t lie to us, would he?