by Lindsay Odom

MEET THE AUTHOR: Communications Coordinator and Columbia native Lindsay Odom received her degree from Clemson University before joining the Endeavor team in May 2017. In addition to social media responsibilities, Lindsay is interviewing Endeavor members to learn (and share) more about marketing, agency life, entrepreneurship, and what it means to create meaningful work for clients. 

When I was a freshman at Clemson, everyone told me how important it was to get to know your professors. I would smile, but really roll my eyes on the inside. I assumed that college professors had much more to do than worry about forming a relationship with their students.

Fast forward to my senior year. I had the typical first-day-of-school butterflies, even though it was my fourth time around. I was both excited and nervous for my Erwin Center class that day, especially because I knew this was a client-based curriculum, so I had the opportunity to do work that could be recognized by real-world professionals.

To my surprise, my professor Andy Mendelsohn went above and beyond not only for me, but also for all of the students that came through his classroom door. Little did I know that at the end of the year, he would connect me with an internship opportunity at this really cool new company called Endeavor. It really is important to get to know your professors.

If you know Andy, you’ve probably heard him say: “before I got into advertising, I worked at a butcher shop in Newark, New Jersey, and that’s a sentence that no-one should ever have to say.” He began his advertising career as a copywriter in New York City working on “booze, bumps and bikinis,” better known as Seagram’s, Stri-Dex, and Coppertone. One opportunity led to another as he built a portfolio with notable brands, including Heineken, Verizon, Denny’s and numerous Procter & Gamble products. Andy was a member of the creative team at Warwick Baker & O’Neill, SSC&B Lintas, Erwin Penland, and was the youngest associate creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide. Casual.

After nearly 30 years in advertising, Andy sensed that it was time to start his own thing. “I started freelancing in March of 2014, and the phone started ringing, which was a good thing,” he said. Eventually, he began his own advertising firm called Upper West Creative, inspired by his New York City background. “It’s been an incredibly great three years, and I kick myself for not starting it a few years earlier.”

“A lot of digital and PR agencies that don’t really have a full-service creative staff hire me to do creative projects,” Andy explained. For example, he partners with a small marketing consortium in Greenville called BRIGHT+CO. “We work with local and national clients as far away as Illinois, Maryland, and New York, to give them a more modern and relevant sensibility.”

Upper West Creative’s most recent project has been a new admissions campaign for a well-known university. Over the summer, I was able to observe the creative process, share my opinion, and even pick out my favorite campaign materials. I was reminded what Andy taught me just a few months before at Clemson: “the best advertising doesn’t make you think something, it makes you feel something.”

It’s been an honor to be Andy’s student and shadow him outside of the classroom. I’ve picked his brain on many things, but the last and perhaps most important question I asked him was what he would tell his 22-year-old self today. “Don’t be afraid to screw up a lot, because you will learn from your mistakes and enjoy them,” he advised. “It’s all part of life, so don’t get down on yourself and don’t think that your life and career is over if things don’t work out immediately. The climb is just as much fun as when you get there, so try to enjoy it.”