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College of Information and Communications

  • Jay Goodwin

Student spotlight: From anthropology to advertising

Posted April 4, 2018
By Blaire Taylor, CIC graduate assistant

After one semester in the Master of Mass Communication program at the University of South Carolina, Ja’Qor (Jay) Goodwin found himself with a coveted summer internship at BBDO San Francisco. His work at the advertising agency provided him with valuable experience and a clearer picture of where he wants to go after graduation, and it was made possible thanks to connections he made at the J-school.

Goodwin majored in anthropology and geography at the University of South Carolina, where he focused on cultural and linguistic anthropology. The major sheds light on how people act, why they act in that matter and what those actions mean.  Though he enjoyed anthropology, Goodwin was interested in how his studies might be incorporated into a business setting. With the help of Google, he stumbled into the field of advertising and consumer behavior. 

“After I graduated college, I had an interview with Augie Grant for a part-time job in the journalism school at the faculty senate,” said Goodwin. “I explained to him what career I was looking for and he immediately suggested taking some advertising classes in the J-school. Exactly a year later, I started my first semester in the master’s program.”

The new student worked as a graduate assistant for Professor Bonnie Drewniany’s Super Bowl of Advertising class.  She suggested that he apply for the BBDO summer internship in part because of how "delighted" she was with his work for her.

"His strong work ethic is in the top one percent of students I have observed during my 25-plus teaching career," she said. "Jay’s positive, can-do attitude was a tremendous help." 

At BBDO, Goodwin served as a strategy intern, working with clients such as Wells Fargo, HP, Uncle Ben’s and other new business. The position included brand strategy and research on how to position products. Goodwin was a part of the communications planning for HP Damon, a computer marketed toward creative people, and was able to present the consumer journey to the client.

For his internship project, he was tasked with building a strategy for Uncle Ben’s from the ground up. This included working from a client brief, developing a strategy, writing the creative brief, and producing creative assets. The intern team presented their pitch to the agency’s C-suite.

“The campaign was for Uncle Ben’s Beginners program,” said Goodwin. “It was almost a corporate social responsibility campaign to encourage kids to cook as well as they can read and write. It was so cool because I didn’t have a true communications background at the time, and it was my first chance to be a part of the process.”

Neil Slotterback, senior strategist for BBDO, said Jay was able to contribute more than a summer’s worth of strategic thinking to the team.  "Jay took a front seat to helping our clients solve complex problems," Slotterback said. "By identifying key consumer insights and understanding trends in technology and culture, Jay not only kept the team informed on shifts within the marketplace, he developed strategies to help some of our most established and iconic brands evolve with them.

Goodwin plans to return to San Francisco and work full time for BBDO this summer. He wants to focus on strategy in hopes of becoming a senior strategist.  His long-term goal is to work in New York for one of the top agencies.

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Blaire Taylor

Blaire Taylor is a first-year graduate communications student with an assistantship in the web communications office of the college. She is working towards a career in visual communications and public relations. Outside of school, she loves to travel and explore.

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