StrawberryFrog is an agency I respect for both its personal branding and client work. When I first clicked on their site and browsed through the case studies, I was pretty impressed. Their philosophy revolves around the idea of creating a “cultural movement,” finding the ground on which a brand can equally stand and resonate with its intended audience. It’s supposed to be more than messaging–it’s about creating an idea where people want to be involved, hence, a movement. To better illustrate this, I highly recommend viewing the case studies on their site for Scion and Microsoft.
Although I’ve been a freelance copywriter for over a year, my dream job has been, and continues to be, obtaining a full-time position within an ad agency. Times are tough and I knew for a fact that StrawberryFrog had laid off seven of its junior level staff this past Summer. It’s clear they wouldn’t be hiring me, but maybe an internship was still possible. Ignoring the financial strain behind the prospect, I submitted my resume, portfolio, and cover letter to the email address specified by their secretary. There was no response and I’m not surprised. I’ve seen HR departments, they receive hundreds of resumes on a daily basis, nowadays even more, and the method I took wouldn’t help me stand out from any of them.
That’s when I had an idea.
Among all the collateral on StrawberryFrog’s site they feature an interactive booklet titled, frog versus dinosaur. In a children’s story format, it details how the big established agencies are “dinosaurs” and why StrawberryFrog is the next evolution in advertising. It’s fun, cheeky, and gives me a sense of their personality. Look through it first otherwise my next step is going to seem crazy, although that might be true regardless.
I decided to write and illustrate my own interactive booklet. Taking cues from their art style, I crafted a story about a StrawberryTadpole who one day dreamt of becoming a StrawberryFrog. For those slow on the metaphors, StrawberryTadpole is me. Once I created a gmail account for the occasion, I sent this booklet to the original address as well as the direct email of the Chief Executive, Scott Goodson, and, his second-in-command, Tiffany. But I didn’t stop there. I also created a twitter account @strawberrytpole, writing tweets from the character’s voice and @ing the Chief Executive when appropriate. All of this took place on October 7th and continued forward from that date–I waited, I tweeted, and hoped for the start of a conversation.
After all the time since October 7th, I received two responses. One was from a guy looking for work at StrawberryFrog, he read my booklet and thought I already worked there (at least I look the part). The other was on twitter from the Chief Executive himself, stating, “Cool.” In fact, due to the timing of the @ reply, his response likely wasn’t directed at the story I made, rather a tweet I sent him about a great pumpkin carving.
That’s the end of it. I couldn’t get a basic conversation, let alone discuss working for free. So, why post this failure at all? I could have kept it a secret and saved myself the shame. It’s because there’s no shame in taking a risk. I refused to sit idly and hope to get noticed–I got off my ass and tried to make things happen for myself. And, like a lot of good risks, it failed. I’m proud of the booklet I made. I’m proud of myself for taking a chance, dedicating hours to a project I knew full well might have zero return. And, the best part is, I’ll just keep moving on to the next thing, taking another risk. If StrawberryFrog ever decides to talk to me, they’re welcome to do so. The door is always open, I’m just not waiting by it anymore.