I consider myself a creative – most journalism students do. I like creating things: writing copy, taking pictures, playing with design and color palettes.
When prompted to join USC’s CreateAthon team, I hesitantly said yes. For those of you that don’t know, CreateAthon is 24-hour marketing blitz that helps non-profit organizations receive marketing they otherwise could not pay for. A handful of students were selected in teams to work on each of the eight non-profit clients. I had actually never pulled an all-nighter before this experience, so I was nervous.
My day started at 12PM. I woke up, put on my most comfy yogas, and met my CreateAthon team at the Darla Moore School of Business. We wasted no time taking team pictures and getting down to our creative debrief.
Our client needed so much work done. Unlike the other non-profits selected for CreateAthon, our client requested an entire rebranding of their organization. A rebrand!? In 24 hours!? Yeah, my thoughts exactly.
Within the first six hours of CreateAthon, I learned my first lesson: There’s no crying in advertising.
My team was awesome. Everyone got along great. There were a few tears along the way (mostly from sugar rushes and non-stop laughing fits), but I learned that crying in advertising is not something your team is going to tolerate.
In twenty-four hours, a lot of things change – our ideas, our patience, our blood sugar. One thing remained: You are part of a team. Our team did a phenomenal job at working together and saving our tears for more important things (like corny jokes and cute laughing videos). Frustration levels can get pretty high (especially after hour 12), but it was such a blessing to work with such talented, thoughtful people.
By hour 23, we were all delirious. I remember it being seriously problematic for me to stand. Some of my team members were scrambling to put the final touches on our presentation, some were suiting up, and some were running adrenaline laps around our room.
By the end of our presentation, I couldn’t believe that we had created and started an entire rebrand in 24-hours. I sifted through the work we had done in that short period of time, and was in absolute awe: Did I really help this non-profit completely rebrand? Did I really create something that meaningful?
I did. My team and I did. CreateAthon 2014 was one for the books. I learned so much about myself and what all I am capable of in 24 hours. I am a creative. I am a journalist. CreateAthon 2014 reinforced that for me.