Summer 2018 Intern Spotlight: JWT Canada’s Astrid Walker-Stewart
Astrid Walker-Stewart is a student at New York’s Columbia University and a Social & Strategy Intern at J. Walter Thompson Toronto. We sat down with Astrid to find out a little bit more about her interest in advertising and what she’s learned during her internship
What sparked your interest in the Advertising industry?
I wasn’t very keen on reading when I was younger, but my parents would encourage me to pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper. I was immediately drawn to the visually dominant pages whenever I was reading. Inevitably, in magazines, these were advertisements. I loved flipping through page after page and peering into these hyperbolized yet fascinating worlds companies created to curate a unique image for themselves. Vanity Fair was among my favorite magazines, and the featured print ads were typically for high-end fashion houses. In the hopes of differentiating themselves from one another, each ad portrayed over-the-top tales for purposes of best positioning the brand. I could always count on Dolce & Gabbana to deliver sumptuous, yet eerily alien scenes. Through this exposure, I became fascinated by brands’ storytelling and the power they hold over consumers’ perceptions.
What’s your favorite J. Walter Thompson campaign, and why is it your favorite?
The “Test Drive Canada” campaign for Air Canada is my favorite campaign to date. In the increasingly polarized world we live in, creating an ad that is successful without alienating or showing support for one side is challenging. “Test Drive Canada” not only makes light of the contested and controversial American presidential election, but capitalizes on an existing conversation presenting Air Canada as the solution to people’s woes. I wanted to be a part of, and learn from, a company that saw opportunities for positivity and growth in traditionally barren subject matter or problems.
What are you most looking forward to during the remainder of your internship and what have you learned thus far?
I am looking forward to learning more from my co-workers in the Toronto office. They approach every problem with a creative, risk-taking attitude, and I have learned many invaluable things from them already. One of the most important things I have learned so far is that creativity can be inspired by anything. During the first few weeks of my internship, I would presume that a piece of information that did not appear as applicable or valuable to the topic I was researching should not be included in my notes. I now appreciate that I had a narrow understanding of what could spur creative thought. From observing my co-workers, I learned that no piece of knowledge or insight, no matter how seemingly remote from the subject matter, was unimportant. This was liberating, and it prompted me to dig deeper into topics and produce better content. My co-workers inspired me to exercise the without-borders approach to creativity.