Rachel Tompkins

Visual thinkers, clever word jockeys—Rachel Tompkins notes one major similarity between creative professionals you find in the advertising industry. They’re all “idea people.”

“As someone who started at College for Creative Studies (CCS) with an interest in art direction, working as a copywriter has been very rewarding for me,” said Tompkins. “Sometimes a visual just can’t do what a great line can. And of course, sometimes it’s the other way around.

“Either way, I love the thinking that goes into ads. ‘Art Director’ or ‘Copywriter’—we’re all idea people. And seeing something go from a silly sketch or line in my notebook to a finished commercial or print campaign is the best feeling. It’s what keeps us (my art director partner and I) going.”

And “going” they are. Tompkins and her creative partner, Carla Butwin, recently accepted positions with Saatchi & Saatchi in New York City. The two partnered up in 2010 and quickly grew as a team, producing work for brands like Sports Authority, Minute Maid, Warrior and Carhartt.

“We're excited for the change,” Tompkins said. “Finding a good partner made a huge difference in my career. I consider the work we did for Warrior as one of our greatest feats. No one expected a female team to be the voice behind such a masculine brand! It’s a refreshing change. More recently, we’ve done some work for Etch A Sketch and NanoBlock. Sometimes it’s the smaller companies (with even smaller budgets) that give the best projects! I can’t say what we did yet, but one of them involved the police shutting down production! Fun stuff.

“I feel lucky to have a creative partner I enjoy working with. Even if we eventually part ways, I know we’ll cross paths again in the future. But right now we work well together, so we’re sticking together on this new path in our careers.”

Prior to her position at Team Detroit, Tompkins worked at Doner, Young & Rubicam and White Pine Press.

“A big thing for me is the ability to work on a diverse group of clients,” she said. “Some people work on just one client for years, but I’ve heard it can be tough. I’ve been lucky to work at agencies with a good mix of brands.

“The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is having to prove myself. When you start a new job, you want to be respected as a good idea person. An exceptional writer. Someone who is clutch with headlines. It gets easier the more shops you’ve worked at, but when you’re fresh out of school, there’s a lot to prove! But I suppose we’ll always have something to prove, no matter where we are in our careers. In my opinion, when you start to get too comfortable in your current position, it’s time for a change—time to prove yourself some place new.”

Tomkins’ insight into the industry has provided her with valuable advice to those considering a career in advertising.

“I once heard someone say, ‘May the bridges I burn, light my way’…I couldn’t disagree more,” Tompkins said. “My humble advice to any advertising student coming out of college: Don’t burn bridges. Ever. It’s a small industry, and everyone knows everyone. That person you just talked crap about could help you land a job one day!”

In her spare time, Tompkins enjoys blogging (http://www.talkingovercoffee.com/), learning/researching, craiglisting and frolicking with her two puggle pups. Her portfolio can be viewed at http://www.rachelandcarla.com/.

  • Graduation Year: 2010
  • Employer: Saatchi & Saatchi (New York City)
  • Title: Integrated Copywriter

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