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Agency Life

Written by Toronto

Written by Toronto

Michael Porfirio

Michael Porfirio

August 28, 2018

Folks in the 6ix write a book together, one tweet at a time.

"We didn’t feel like interns. We felt like equal players on the team."

Mariam Alqasim and I joined Havas Canada in May 2017 as creative interns. At that time, we were blank slates in the ad industry. In school, we had heard that junior-level workers do the grunt work while real opportunities go to those who are more experienced.

Although that may be true for some agencies, it’s not for Havas.

From the beginning, our creative directors included us in every brainstorming session and on every call. We didn’t feel like interns. We felt like equal players on the team. We were exposed to both large commercial work and small passion projects, all of which helped us form a well-rounded understanding of creative success. We were encouraged to share any idea that we felt was strong—even if the idea didn’t fit a particular client or brief.

As interns, our desks shared a corkboard. Each day, we took turns choosing and then decorating a new word, and finally pinning it to the board. It began as a silly piece of art, but over time, it became an exercise in teamwork. Toward the end, we were collecting guest contributions from around the office.

"Our goal was to bring the city of Toronto together in the same way that our daily word project brought us together."

The process was fun and ultimately helped strengthen our partnership. We loved the project so much that we wanted to expand it. With the support of our creative directors, Brian Allen and Cory Eisentraut, Havas Canada approached the Toronto Public Library (TPL) with the idea.

Our goal was to bring the city of Toronto together in the same way that our daily word project brought us together. Twitter proved to be a great platform for this idea. Leveraging its Twitter polls was integral to the success of the project.

It’s simple: Anyone can contribute to the story by using the hashtag #TorontoWritesABook. Staffers at the TPL then select two entries that their Twitter followers, most likely residents of Toronto, can vote for in a Twitter poll. The winning line becomes the next development in the story.

The project has garnered more engagement for the library. And the success of the project still feels surreal. Mariam and I often think back to its conception and wonder how our silly corkboard idea became a citywide campaign. A healthy dose of confidence, plus the support and encouragement from our creative team, pushed this idea forward. We’re grateful for the opportunity, and we can’t wait to see the next development in the story.

"We didn’t feel like interns. We felt like equal players on the team."

Mariam Alqasim and I joined Havas Canada in May 2017 as creative interns. At that time, we were blank slates in the ad industry. In school, we had heard that junior-level workers do the grunt work while real opportunities go to those who are more experienced.

Although that may be true for some agencies, it’s not for Havas.

From the beginning, our creative directors included us in every brainstorming session and on every call. We didn’t feel like interns. We felt like equal players on the team. We were exposed to both large commercial work and small passion projects, all of which helped us form a well-rounded understanding of creative success. We were encouraged to share any idea that we felt was strong—even if the idea didn’t fit a particular client or brief.

As interns, our desks shared a corkboard. Each day, we took turns choosing and then decorating a new word, and finally pinning it to the board. It began as a silly piece of art, but over time, it became an exercise in teamwork. Toward the end, we were collecting guest contributions from around the office.

"Our goal was to bring the city of Toronto together in the same way that our daily word project brought us together."

The process was fun and ultimately helped strengthen our partnership. We loved the project so much that we wanted to expand it. With the support of our creative directors, Brian Allen and Cory Eisentraut, Havas Canada approached the Toronto Public Library (TPL) with the idea.

Our goal was to bring the city of Toronto together in the same way that our daily word project brought us together. Twitter proved to be a great platform for this idea. Leveraging its Twitter polls was integral to the success of the project.

It’s simple: Anyone can contribute to the story by using the hashtag #TorontoWritesABook. Staffers at the TPL then select two entries that their Twitter followers, most likely residents of Toronto, can vote for in a Twitter poll. The winning line becomes the next development in the story.

The project has garnered more engagement for the library. And the success of the project still feels surreal. Mariam and I often think back to its conception and wonder how our silly corkboard idea became a citywide campaign. A healthy dose of confidence, plus the support and encouragement from our creative team, pushed this idea forward. We’re grateful for the opportunity, and we can’t wait to see the next development in the story.

Michael loves water, music, and friendship. He dislikes writing bios in third person because it feels insincere.

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