Kelley alumna part of intern team featured in AdAge, Adweek

Who knew that Tinder could be used for marketing a city or a potential new job?

Bridget Barbara, BS’17, was part of a group of interns at digital ad agency Possible in Cincinnati, tasked with making the agency more attractive to out-of-state talent.

Barbara says the interns at Possible are typically tasked with an open-ended project each summer. This year, the interns were given a budget of $2,000, and they started with a bit of brainstorming and research. They looked into what their target audience may want (people who are 3-5 years into their career), and they considered what Possible has and what Cincinnati has to offer.

“We found Cincinnati doesn’t really sell itself – It doesn’t have a lot of web content based around all the things you can do here. There are some things geared toward tourism, but not toward relocation. We wanted to let people know that if you work with us, here’s where you can live, where you can eat, what you can do here, and we wanted to show how comparable Cincinnati is to any other big city,” explained Barbara, who graduated in May from the Kelley School at IUPUI with majors in marketing and finance.

We also realized that if you haven’t been to Cincinnati, you really don’t know what’s here. We realized we had to get people to the city to experience all it has to offer, before they may want to work here.

Bridget Barbara, BS'17.

“That’s when we started talking about a first date – finding out all about a new person or in this case, a place. That’s when another intern suggested Tinder.”

The group of interns made a profile for the city of Cincinnati on Tinder, and they paid to put it in bigger cities like Chicago and New York. They also made a localized website featuring Possible - and Cincinnati. They had a ton of responses on Tinder and ended up picking an account executive named Daniel to come and learn about Cincinnati. They flew him in, put him up in an Airbnb, and the group showed him the best sights and experiences throughout Cincinnati over the weekend.

"This class of interns did some amazing things to identify and communicate what was special about us and about Cincinnati," Executive VP of strategy and insights Brian LeCount told AdAge on August 17.

Barbara says they never expected to have their summer project end up in both AdAge and Adweek, but they were pleasantly surprised and very excited. She says she used much of her knowledge gained at Kelley to complete the project over the summer with her peers.

“I felt like I already spoke the language, and I didn’t have to ask as many questions. I used a lot of what I learned in professor Mayer’s advertising class, in terms of thinking strategically when I conducted my research. Also, my M450 marketing strategy class with professor Saxton helped – The KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and other things she warned me about – they came back!” said Barbara.

Barbara says she gained interest in advertising after serving as a research assistant to marketing professor Mark Mayer last year. Barbara not only conducted research, but she also was able to present it at a poster session through IUPUI’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

"For current Kelley students, my advice would be - Find what you like, and go for it," Barbara explained.

“Don’t just do things because other people tell you to, or because it seems like an easier choice. Make your own path, because there are hidden opportunities you can find for yourself. Also – get to know your professors. They’re incredibly willing to help, and I wouldn’t have gotten here without professor Mayer’s guidance throughout the year," she added.

As far as what’s next for the intern group’s Tinder recruiting tool? Barbara says the company is looking into it.

And -- what’s next for the Kelley alumna’s career after her summer internship? Barbara too is considering several opportunities in advertising.