McGarrah Jessee is nothing like Mad Men


My exciting day at the unique advertisement agency of McGarrah Jessee was quite an experience; from the beginning I was immersed in the eclectic atmosphere surrounding me. I walked up the marble staircase that once led to the American National Bank, but is now home to one of the top Ad Agencies in the country. I possessed preconceived notions that I would find the Don Drapers of the world at McGarrah Jessee; I was soon proven wrong. The influence of Austin’s “weirdness” could be found throughout the building. In certain departments, you’ll find baby doll heads hanging from the ceiling or even a wall decorated with the baby pictures of all the employees. After taking in my environment, I soon began to realize why people continued to come back everyday to work at this agency.


Before meeting Gary Baker (the Copy Writer that I shadowed), I was unsure of what the day held for me. Soon we met up, and he led me to the “War Room” where the other members of his advertising group were waiting. The focal point of the room was a black Styrofoam board covered in yellow sticky notes. I attempted to read and comprehend what the words and pictures upon all of these notes meant but found it extremely difficult. Gary explained to me that the board was used as a stationary place for all of the ideas they brainstormed. My observation period ended quickly and I was soon put to work as a stenographer. With all of their ideas bouncing back and forth, I was asked to document all that was said to avoid forgetting any vital information. I put my sub par typing skills to work and even attempted to help in the brainstorming process by voicing some of my ideas. Although I find it difficult to think of myself as a creative individual, I found that this atmosphere has the ability to boost the confidence of us less creative folk.

After spending hours in the “War Room,” Gary whisked me off to a meeting that focused on figuring out a way to advertise Whataburger selling their famous condiments. The meeting was briefly interrupted due to an employee’s dog fetching a ratty old tennis ball damp with the animal’s saliva. I had always envisioned meetings as draining and the dull point of the day; however, McGarrah Jessee once again proved me wrong.

By the end of the day I found myself grateful for the experience. I was able to meet a handful of amazing people that showed me what it’s like to work at a modern day advertisement agency. Although my chosen career path is in journalism, advertising may come in as a close second.

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