August 19, 2010

Brand Marketing in the Big Apple — Pete Carril ’12 Writes about His Summer Internship at MSNBC

Pete Carril '12 (right) stands with Chris McCumber '89 in the MSNBC news studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where Carril served a summer internship.

Pete Carril ’12 (Princeton, N.J.), an American studies major, spent the summer working as an intern in the marketing department of MSNBC in New York City.

I can safely say there has not been a day during my internship that I found unfulfilling or where I did not learn something. With MSNBC I was given the opportunity to invigorate my creative spirits, to be a part of a team striving for a goal, and to get the hands-on experience that you can only get by working outside the classroom.

I entered the company at a unique time, as MSNBC is going through a rebranding in an attempt to change its image and what people think about the company. The rebranding involved everyone in the marketing department doing a wide array of tasks such as approving a new slogan, developing ideas for future shows, creating new on-air promotional spots, and gathering consumer insights about our talent and station through focus groups as well as social networking sites.

My responsibilities were to assist the on-air creative team as well as the network brand managers. I was asked to do a wide array of tasks, such as choosing clips of our newscasters discussing the most pressing events to incorporate into promos, studying other cable news networks and analyzing their marketing strategies, working with our ad agency on creation of various brand promos, as well as writing copy for potential commercials. These tasks gave me the opportunity to get an in-depth look at how a marketing team functions in a very unique and exciting time.

I was relieved to have a member of the Lafayette community nearby. Chris McCumber ’89, executive vice president of marketing and brand strategy for USA Network, provided words of wisdom to me not just during my internship, but also during visits to campus. In his visit and discussion on campus last winter, I was able to speak with Chris, where he introduced me to the possibilities at NBC Universal and inspired me to achieve. While Chris and I did not work together, our interaction was vital to my learning experience, and I would not have been able to succeed without his help.

I leave this internship with new tools in my tool belt. I will continue to harness my interest in television marketing; my internship this summer provided me with much-needed experience as well as knowledge of the industry. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a highly functional, highly determined team working to reach a goal that will benefit MSNBC to an enormous extent. I met a lot of great people, did a lot of really interesting tasks, and have been a part of something great.

Pete also plays lead guitar in the campus band Tiny Hero Cavalry and organized a campus-wide Haiti benefit concert last winter.

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