Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Pop-Tarts Sushi, Anyone?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

One of the most challenging aspects of my internship has nothing to do with work. Rather, it’s where to go for lunch. (Being based in midtown Manhattan certainly has its advantages!)

For instance, do you know what Pop-Tarts Sushi tastes like?

Yes, yes – I did say “Pop-Tarts Sushi.”

Don’t worry, I am not talking about some horrible concoction made with raw fish and breakfast pastry. Now, that really would be gross.

What I am actually talking about is the most popular menu item at Kellogg’s newest promo tool, Pop-Tarts World. Chefs at the store, which opened in Times Square on Tuesday, make this treat by chopping up three types of Pop-Tarts and rolling them up inside a Fruit Roll-Up. Then all they do is cut the roll into pieces and, Voila! Pop-Tarts Sushi!

Dedicating an entire store to one breakfast pastry might seem like a bit much, but, from a PR standpoint, it’s pretty smart thinking. Kellogg’s has not only gotten a ton of press for the opening, but also it has earned a place next to the other well-known Time Square sweet stops, such as the M&Ms World and Hershey’s.

After two days of reading articles about the launch of Pop-Tarts World and listening to people here talk about it, my curiosity got the better of me. I headed down there one lunch-period, bring back a few menu items for my colleagues. In addition to Pop-Tarts Sushi, there was “Ants on a Log,” which is essentially celery with peanut butter and crushed Wild Grape Pop-Tarts on top.

Sooo…was the Pop-Tarts Sushi worth the buzz it was getting?

Well, it’s not terrible (although Jeff might disagree; he couldn’t stand the taste for more than five seconds before getting rid of it), but it’s not the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It tastes as you might imagine: a really sweet chewiness mixed with bits of pastry. (I’d recommend “Ants on a Log” before the roll-up.)

Honestly, the best part of my adventure was being able to head out into the city and try something new on a whim.

Over the past seven weeks, I have spent almost every lunch-break exploring mid-town Manhattan and learning to appreciate everything that this city has to offer. Being in the area of Grand Central, Times Square, and the Empire State Building, you can understand just how many options I have around me. If I want to walk around Bryant Park or visit the New York Public Library, I only have to walk a few blocks and I’m there.

I’m pretty sure that if I ate at a different place everyday (which is not something my bank account would like very much), I wouldn’t get through more than a few blocks of eateries before the end of my internship.

Beyond the varying food choices, New York offers numerous possibilities for having a great summer and gaining experience as an intern, especially as a PR intern.

I know that many students feel hesitant about applying for an internship that is located in a large city – honestly, if I hadn’t lived abroad for a year, I might feel a bit hesitant myself – but, there is something about New York that guarantees you will have an amazing experience.There is an energy throughout New York that you can’t find anywhere else. Everywhere you look, things are happening – just last week, I stumbled across Russell Brand filming the remake of the classic 1980s movie Arthur.

But, it is more than seeing movie stars and eating Pop-Tarts. When Wall Street and Times Square are only a few blocks away, you feel connected to the things you are reading about in the news paper each morning. You feel involved in the work you are producing and that you are really there for your clients when they need you.

In the end, working in the city is like trying Pop-Tarts Sushi: it might be amazing, it might be terrible, but no matter what, it will be an unforgettable experience.

And, I might be biased, but I’m sure that you will find it to be a pretty amazing experience.

First Day at the Internship — Can Someone Help Me Find the Light Switch?

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

[tap tap tap] Is this thing on?

Testing, testing…

Well hello there and welcome to my blog!

I am Erin Carpenter and an English major looking forward to beginning my senior year in the fall. Before that happens, however, I will be doing a summer internship with Starkman & Associates (a business and finance public relations agency in Manhattan) for the next 9 weeks and bringing you along for the journey. In past years, I spent my summers working as an assistant manager of an exotic pet store and camp counselor. This summer, I am abandoning my traditional work routine and pursuing my future career in public relations.

Luckily, I did not have to find housing because our home is within commuting distance from New York City. Unluckily, my house is almost 70 miles from Grand Central. Each morning, I will be taking the 6:13am train into Manhattan in order to arrive at work by 8am. Still, since Holy Cross generously provided me with travel compensation, in addition to the stipend I receive from the Holy Cross Leadership Council of New York, I really can’t complain. Plus, I am telling myself that the 80 minute commute will allow me to catch up on some reading … or a bit more sleep.

My internship started a mere three days ago, but I am already up to my elbows in several projects – and I couldn’t be happier. Due to my late arrival back in the States after my year studying abroad at Oxford, my internship started later than most. To make-up for lost time, I want to dive in headfirst and immerse myself in public relations. I am learning about our clients, proof reading blogs and press releases, and conducting research for one of the company’s founders, Eric Starkman.

If there is one thing I have realized this week, it is that even the simplest things may need qualifying. In business, saying or doing the wrong thing can lead to catastrophic problems, something the folks in the PR profession know too well. Poor word choice in an employee communication can generate morale issues or a loss of confidence in the company’s leadership, a slow response to consumer complaints on twitter can lead to a backlash, and, as a certain CEO of an oil company in the Gulf can attest, poor word choice can make a crisis situation much, much worse.

Rather than risking such a mistake, it is far better to simply ask for guidance when needed.  As that ancient Chinese proverb states: “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask remains a fool forever.” This applies to the big questions as much as the small ones. In fact, a perfect example of this occurred today. As the first one in the office this morning, the majority of the overhead lights were off when I arrived. I searched and searched, but to no avail – the light switch was nowhere to be found. Fortunately, there was a security light on, so I wasn’t totally in the dark. Shortly after I gave up the quest for the light, Jeff and Jim, two of my newfound colleagues here, arrived. And the lights popped on.

To avoid embarrassment, I could have stayed at my desk and pretended that I had not just been sitting in the dark; however, I don’t think that absurd action would have remained unnoticed. Instead, I said “Hello” with a laugh, admitted my defeat in locating the switch, and asked where I could find it. To my defense, the switch was located outside the office. Pheew – so I don’t need to have my contact prescription checked after all!

As I continue with my first few weeks, I am sure this will only be one of many moments when I will realize I have much to learn from S&A. But, I am looking forward to these moments, for everything I learn will help me become part of the S&A team and broaden my knowledge of PR – even if it only involves finding a light switch.