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Leo Burnett Company, Limited
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Chicago

Intern Spotlight: Kevin Simcox

We were finally able to catch up with the infamous Kevin Simcox (thanks again, Timmy Parker), former 2013 summer intern at Leo Burnett Chicago as a copywriter for MillerCoors and now a copywriter for the Altria Group. The self-proclaimed “lake house weasel” talks thinking conceptually and channeling his inner elephant.

Hey, Kevin! It’s nice to meet you. We heard great things from Timmy. Do you have anything to say about him? I know Timmy called me out but I don’t want to call him out. (Touché.)

Interesting. Let’s get down to it. What advice do you have for the 2014 summer interns? DO NOT act like an intern. I didn’t, and that was something I did that my bosses appreciated. I treated my internship like a real job and because of that they took me seriously. If you treat it like an internship, people are going to treat you like an intern.

The biggest difference between college and the real world is: In college, when I was at the University of Colorado Boulder, some days you don’t have to do anything. In the real world, no matter what — if you’re not in the mood, if you’re tired — there’s stuff you’ve gotta get done in a certain amount of time.

How would you describe your position as a copywriter in three words? 1. Write 2. More 3. Headlines

Where do you do your best thinking? I do a lot of “thinking laps.” I walk around my floor or go downstairs and walk around the building. I do my best thinking moving. I like to move and think; sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk my thoughts go stale.

Favorite part of work: I’ve gotten to work on some new pitches, which have been great on the Altria team. I love thinking conceptually — thinking big ideas for new products is my favorite.

Tips for making it through a long afternoon: Just don’t get lost on the Internet, kids. Just get what you have to get done finished. Oh, and don’t drink too much coffee.

Speaking of coffee…do you drink it? I drink Cherry Coke. I’ve just always loved it — it’s my go to. I go down every day to the 26th floor to get it.

What’s your favorite food? Oysters. They’re just fun.

Do you eat oysters a lot in Chicago? Of course. My favorite restaurant though is a place called Chicken Hut in Lakeview — it has great hangover food. You get half a grilled chicken, a glob of mashed potatoes and this weird pita bread that I really never know what to do with.

What creative talent would you most like to have? I wish I could play the drums. Drummers are always the most interesting members of the band to watch; they don’t have to sing or be in the front or be a part of the music. But they’re running the rhythm of the song — that’s the most important part.

What is your dream brand? Nike.

What was your first job? I was a caddy for 12 years at the Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, Ill. Apparently Caddyshack is loosely based off of that place (but I don’t believe that).

If you could listen to only one song on repeat, what would it be? “Atlantic City” by The Band. It reminds me of good times with my college buddies.

What’s on your to-do list for this summer? All my friends call me a lakehouse weasel because if anyone has a lakehouse I’ll weasel myself into going. So, to answer your question, I’m going to go to as many lake houses as possible. (Calling anyone with a lakehouse!)

Who is your role model and why? Professor Brett Robbs from college. He was my advertising professor and was just really interesting and intelligent and didn’t give two shits about what anyone thought. People just loved him for that, and I’ll always admire him for that quality. He was extremely passionate about what he had and did and didn’t waste energy on other people’s opinions.

The weirdest thing that has ever happened to you was: When I was little I fell into a sewer. My brother ran and got my dad and saved me. He’s one of my personal heroes and role models as well.

What’s your spirit animal? Elephants. It’s hard to put into words. It’s just something I know to be true. I just feel a deep connection with elephants.

Kevin truly is one of a kind. Stay tuned for more another Intern Spotlight next week!