Name: McKenzie Badger
Title and Organization: Brand Director at Mekanism
Graduation Year and Degree: 2013 BA in Journalism and Mass Communication with a Business Certificate
In 2018, the team at Mekanism advertising and creative agency were approached with a top secret project: creating the branding for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. After countless hours of development, feedback and presenting to Biden himself, the branding was solidified. Since then, it has appeared everywhere from t-shirts and mugs to cookies made by Taylor Swift and a face mask worn by Beyoncé. J-School alum McKenzie Badger was part of the team that made it all possible. We caught up with her to hear more about this exciting opportunity.
When it comes to this project, what are you most proud of?
In advertising we get access to some of the nation’s and world’s largest microphones. The importance of that gets overlooked sometimes, but in this instance it was glaringly apparent. Branding the campaign of a presidential candidate is tough, it’s political, it’s polarizing and it’s different than advertising a product or a service…you’re advertising a human and a promise to a country! It was hard work, but we persevered and we overcame obstacles. Don’t stop just because something is in your way—there is always more than one way around it with a little creativity and determination.
What’s the best advice you have for a J-School student who wants to do what you do?
Always, always be curious. Ask questions. Ask questions to learn more, and ask questions that lead to opportunities. Once I got turned down for a job and I asked the HR recruiter why so that I could improve. They’d never had anyone ask WHY they got turned down, so I got hired. Ask questions.
And also…listen intently just as much as you talk, that’ll be your greatest weapon.
When we say “J-School,” what do you think of?
A beautiful community. These are people you’ll keep in contact with, and you’ll watch on LinkedIn throughout the years, and they’ll always be in your network. Get to know each other, and most importantly cheer each other on! It’s unique and it’s awesome.