The Intern Diaries: It's Silver, Agent Silver

August 23, 2013

Editor’s note: This is the first post in an ongoing series focusing on the intern experience at Richards Partners. Allye Foster, a recent graduate of Abilene Christian University, shares lessons learned as a Grouper this summer.

This summer, I was sent on a mission. No, not to fetch coffee or complete piles of busywork. Rather, I played a pivotal role in a client’s product launch, proving the power of interns and a little creativity.  

Enter Silvercar, the upstart car rental company reimagining the renter’s experience. Silvercar exclusively rents 2013 Audi A4s (in silver, of course) and interacts with customers completely through a smartphone app. 

My mission: help orchestrate the launch of Silvercar’s fourth operation at Houston's Hobby Airport by spreading the news of the new location in a nontraditional way.

The brainstorm

We started where many folks do their best thinking – no, not the shower – in a room full of seasoned Groupers and interns, letting our creative juices flow. Ideas spanned from realistic to off the wall. (I believe someone even suggested we drive Silvercars across Houston’s Reliant Astrodome.) 

The concept that actually came to fruition was  “Agent Silver,” a sleek, James Bond-esque man dressed in silver from head to toe, on a “mission” to tell others about Silvercar. A spokesperson from Silvercar would assume the persona of Agent Silver and fly from the DFW Airport to Houston Hobby, interacting with travelers and visiting major media outlets (ABC, FOX, NBC and CBS affiliates, The Houston Chronicle and The Houston Business Journal) to share the story of Silvercar and to show off the ride.

The plan

Planning started with, “What would Agent Silver wear?” Along with fellow interns, I scoured Dallas’ best thrift shops for a silver suit and silver shoes. Alas, the perfect silver suit was later to be found on eBay.

Now that we had a look, we were tasked with giving Agent Silver a personality. Channeling James Bond, my account supervisors helped me craft unique messages for Agent Silver to share with travelers and journalists along his journey.

After looks and personality came logistics. Agent Silver would be in Houston for a total of seven hours, during which he needed to visit seven major television stations and newspapers, spend quality time at each location, navigate crazy Houston traffic and make his 4:35 p.m. flight on time. Needless to say, attention to detail was essential.

Making it happen

On the day of the Houston launch, Agent Silver pulled off his mission and escaped unscathed – a definite win in our PR book. Thanks to the pre-planning, Agent Silver was a hit among the media he met, even giving them a special treat – cookies that looked like smartphones, complete with the Silvercar app. 

The Houston Business Journal sent a thank-you tweet, and The Houston Chronicle penned a front-page article about Silvercar’s expansion to Houston. 

Learning from the experience

Agent Silver was a strategic way to tell the client’s story through a relatable and attention-getting medium. He represented everything Silvercar stands for – personable, smooth, sleek and modern service. Agent Silver proved that product launches sometimes do not need to be expensive and drawn out, but can instead gain traction by taking the time and initiative to build one-on-one relationships with media. 

A final takeaway: In collaboration with team members, interns can and do execute important tasks for clients. With help from my team members, I touched every piece of this campaign, from concepting to planning to implementation. When given the freedom to attack significant tasks for a client, interns can dive in with passion that helps free up other team members’ time, ultimately increasing the efficiency of the entire team. 

For Silvercar – and this intern – this summer proved to be a valuable “mission accomplished.”