Convocation for the School of Communications will take place at 2 p.m. on April 27
What do anthropology and advertising have to do with one another? Convocation speaker Britt Thomas plans to pursue a career answering exactly that question. As a communications major and anthropology minor, Thomas hopes to tie her two passions together as she finishes her undergraduate studies.
“I worked on a relatively unknown brand called So La La,” said Thomas, “but it was the first time I knew I was in the right spot and knew advertising was the right major for me. I finally found where I’m supposed to be. It involved a lot of all-nighters but that’s the experience that sticks out.”
The biggest benefit Thomas said she received from BYU was the many opportunities to learn through hands-on experiences. Everything she has learned in the advertising program was through working with real brands, clients and research. With her minor, Thomas also participated in a study abroad where she conducted ethnographic research.
“My favorite class at BYU was Professor Emmett’s Intro to Geography class,” Thomas said. “His love for people inspired me to live and focus my life in that same way. I took it my first semester and have loved working with people and understanding their cultures ever since. I wanted to learn how to connect brands with people and that geography class was the first time I delved into different communities. It sparked my love for people and the desire to spend my life studying and understanding them in a useful way.”
A big part of her efforts to fulfill that desire was participating in the School of Communications AdLab. For the past year, Thomas has been the senior account planner for the AdLab. She and five others make the executive decisions on how the lab moves forward, oversees clients and mentors and trains other advertising students.
“I distinctly remember when I got into the ad program,” said Thomas, “I looked at that position and thought ‘if I can become that, that would be a dream.’ Serving in this position and getting to the point where I am knowledgeable and trusted is gratifying. I worked incredibly hard to get that position and I had amazing professors and others help me along the way. It’s been a big honor and blessing.
“Everyone comes in with dreams and aspirations and this program gives you the ability to actually earn your dream which is so satisfying. Because of this program’s caliber and the way it works, you can accomplish whatever dream you have if you work for it.”
As Thomas sets looks to the future, her goal is to bond people in different cultures and to connect them with brands. She said it would bring her a lot of fulfillment to create ad campaigns that are fun and inspiring.
“I’ve always wanted to work for Burberry,” said Thomas. “I would love to work for that brand in fashion prediction and use the skills I’ve gained here. I love fashion and I love how it makes people feel. It is living and breathing art. Honestly, what would bring me the most joy would be to utilize my position as an account planner to create meaningful changes in culture and to help brands help people solve problems that are happening in the world. To be able to create a really cool and meaningful cultural change is something that’s important to me.”
What did you want to be when you grew up?
“I wanted to be a marine biologist until I was 12. Then I wanted to be a fashion designer and that didn’t die until I found advertising.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“I am inspired by other people’s inspiration — people who create and break boundaries and make you reevaluate how you think about things. Also, people’s stories inspire me to act and create differently.”
What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome at BYU?
“For me, it was finding community. I don’t have a typical personality and I was inactive in the Church for a long time. It was hard to find a group of people where I felt I could be 100 percent myself. For me, the advertising program was a big blessing in that way because it provided the ultimate community of people who are so incredibly different that they made me feel at home.”
What is your favorite snack to eat?
“Everyone makes fun of me but I love sugar snap peas and I will eat them by the gallon because you can binge eat them and you don’t feel gross. You feel full and you’re getting nutrients but you don’t have to commit to a salad. They have a funky taste that I just love.”