Phillip Pyle ’22

Open Road Brands, Kansas City, MO

This summer I worked as a remote intern for Open Roads Brands, located in Wichita and Kansas City. The design-focused company works with national brands to license and design products to sell in retail stores across the U.S. They partner with brands such as Disney, Chevrolet, Major League Baseball, and Coca-Cola to create wall décor and other home products. With their products in stores such as Hobby Lobby and Urban Outfitters, Open Road Brands sells their designs to a wide array of audiences and markets.

As a Marketing and PR intern, I started by creating a detailed schedule and marketing plan for the company. This entailed many Excel spreadsheets, cross-references to other documents, and conversations with my supervisors and others at the company. The timetables for major Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars film releases proved crucial for this project, as it provided a baseline for when to begin marketing for upcoming movies and television shows. By working with my supervisor, I was able to decide what marketing tools, such as social media posts, videos, and other content, were suitable for each release.

While the Excel spreadsheet and marketing plan were great learning tools for finding organization and structure within corporate advertising and publicity, I found the writing portions of the internship to be the most engaging. I wrote over fifty property descriptions to be placed on the backs of products. These single, sometimes longer, paragraph descriptions were meant to introduce potential wholesale buyers, licensers, and other customers to the brands displayed on the décor. These descriptions ranged from specific car models like a Chevrolet Camaro, to the entirety of the Major League Baseball association, to specific historical figures like John Wayne. In researching these brands, I became well-versed in sifting through information and writing in succinct and playful language. Sometimes this meant writing funny hooks or puns or alluding to specific pop culture events the brand could be tied 
to. In particular, this project, taught me another dimension and use of writing. At Williams, I have greatly improved in my academic writing, but this was my first time meaningfully engaging with writing for marketing and business purposes. I hope to be able to use these skills gained in organization, writing, and marketing structures in my activities at Williams, such as WCFM, where I serve as the PR, News, and Community Director, and The Record, where I serve as the Executive Arts Editor. Additionally, I believe this experience will inform my future career choices, as I’ve learned that I prefer the creativity involved in writing to the strict organization required with Excel and scheduling. That said, my experiences with Excel will certainly serve me well in whatever field I pursue post-Williams.

As with last summer’s formative internship experience, I am grateful for the learning and growth I experienced this summer as a marketing intern for Open Road Brands. I am especially grateful to the Class of 1966 and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for making this opportunity possible.