Texas Graduates Land Jobs from Tweeting

Just one tweet opened the doors for recent Stan Richards graduates Allison Burzlaff and Chelsea Tijerina.

The Big Ad Gig’s #TweetBriefs provides an opportunity for aspiring advertising creatives to present to the Ad Council in The New York Times building during Advertising Week. Allison Burzlaff and Chelsea Tijerina applied for the chance to win one of five 30 day, paid, freelance, entry–level positions by responding to a creative brief via Twitter. Burzlaff is now a freelance copywriter at Deutsch in New York, and Tijerina is a freelance art director at CP+B.

Applicants reply to one of five participating agencies – Deutsch, Atmosphere Proximity, CP+B, Ogilvy and JWT – client briefs with a solution in meme, Vine, or standard tweet format and link their portfolio. The winning campaign runs on Mashable's various advertising platforms. Burzlaff and Tijerina both replied to Deutsch’s prompt: convince the chicken that the egg came first. 

“To become a finalist, you had to answer one of five prompts,” said Burzlaff. “One prompt felt surprisingly similar to the Texas Creative application: Convince the chicken that the egg came first. I knew I wanted my entry to be simple, so I tried to think of ways we determine the age of things, and I came up with counting the rings in trees. The result was a bit of dark humor that earned me a spot in the Top 8. From there, I had a week to make a finalist campaign and get myself to New York.”

Tijerina took a different approach and used aliens to show how the egg arrived on earth.

“The Twitter briefs ranged from ‘Make this logo look edgier’ to ‘Prove that the egg came before the chicken,’” said Tijerina. “I chose to answer the egg vs. chicken brief.”

Burzlaff and Tijerina were chosen as two of eight semi-finalists to fly in to New York to pitch a PSA campaign addressing underage drinking and driving to the competition judges, The Ad Council.

“All eight finalists had one week to concept and execute an entire PSA campaign for the Ad Council,” said Burzlaff. “Our brief was to convince 16 and 17 year olds to choose not to drink and drive. Teens hate being preached at, so I wanted to create a campaign that would speak to them using their own interests. I took Wanderlust, a concept teens love to share on social media and wear on their graphic tees, and manipulated it into a campaign called Squanderlust.”

Burzlaff’s brief included phrases, such as “Oh, the places you’ll go. Once your parents let you out of the house. Caught drinking & driving? Enjoy riding the bus,” and “Let’s be adventurers. Next year, when your license suspension is over.”

Burzlaff’s campaign landed her a finalist position and she received an intern position at Deutsch. She was also named the overall winner and her campaign will run on Mashable. She thanks her mentor, Matt McCutchin, her fellow Texas Creative alums for giving her feedback every step of the way, her professors at UT Austin for what they taught her, and her friends “Sami (a Texas Ex) and Devin, who let [her] crash on their air mattress in New York with almost no notice.”

Tijerina's campaign partners with Snapchat, which provides a platform for people to send GIFs with Uber codes to their friends when they are drunk.

“My concept was ‘Savor The Consequence,’” said Tijerina. “It focused on getting them to not only face what could happen but to ‘savor it’ – meaning to taste it. The main visuals had expressions and phrases people use before they take a drink (‘Down the Hatch / ‘Bottoms Up,’ etc.) and showed what those words could really mean if they got caught. I incorporated this into Snapchat by offering sharable GIFs for teens to send to their friends. The gifs showed funny yet serious consequences of drinking and driving. Every time someone sends a gif to a friend, they get an Uber discount. The mobile ads addressed social drinking with the iconic red cups. You would swipe your finger across the screen to make a toast. When the cups lifted, the watermarks on the napkins underneath would show & turn into handcuffs. Copy would then appear saying ‘Cheers’ with a description saying you could get jail time for getting caught.”

Tijerina’s campaign landed her the art director position at CP+B, and she packed her bags and left New York.

Both Burzlaff and Tijerina graduated in May 2015. Burzlaff graduated from The Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations with a master’s degree in advertising, and Tijerina graduated with a degree in sociology and a minor in advertising.

Currently, both women are working in their freelance internships at Deutsch and CP+B. Both women feel humble and grateful for the positions offered to them. Burzlaff’s goal is to receive a full time position at Deutsch and Tijerina is looking forward to learning from the creatives she is working around. 

Marymar Martinez