College of Art, Media, and Design (CAMD) student James Vassallo spent his fall semester completing a co-op at Gupta Media, a Boston-based digital advertising agency that specializes in the music and entertainment industries. In his role as Media Intern, James had the opportunity to work with clients like Sony Music Entertainment, Disney, Redbull, Amazon, Warner Music Group, and Boston Calling, among others. James, who still works for Gupta Media part-time while taking classes, spoke to us about his invaluable experience there. Learn more below.
Tell us a little bit about your role! What are some of your responsibilities at Gupta?
The open-ended title of “Media Intern” serves as a nice fit for the variety of work I was able to do when I was a co-op there! The company in itself is a digital marketing agency that does a lot of work within the music and entertainment industries. My daily activities can be divided into a few different categories: Media Planning, Media Buying and Data/Analytics. The Media Planning portion consisted of client-facing strategies, such as budgetary recommendations based on audience sizes, client pitches, creative brainstorming and mock-up advertisements for clients on all social media platforms. These sorts of tasks were great experiences for learning how marketing campaigns are planned and set in place. I was able to get a glimpse into how marketing agencies creatively strategize campaigns and communicate with clients to find the best fit for their goals.
The next part of my job focused on actually working within these different social media platforms. I learned how to build campaigns to launch on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and other platforms.
I learned to analyze the data from these campaigns and convey them back to the clients.
Gupta Media has its own proprietary reporting suite which provides campaign insights as well as the individual platform interfaces. I would look through these platforms and make reports which summarized campaigns and provided actionable recommendations to clients.
How did classes prepare you for your co-op experience?
Some of the more direct connections from my classes to the work came from taking courses in marketing and business. I’ve learned how to manage my time and problem solve in ways that were extremely beneficial to my job. I came to the job prepared and ready to work and I’m thankful to the co-op program and CAMD for getting me up to speed. Because of that…
I was able to hit the ground running in an industry I didn’t have much experience in prior to that.
Did you have a favorite project that you worked on at Gupta?
There were a few moments that stood out to me. A lot of these came from different creative brainstorms I was able to join. One, in particular, was for a new guitar series for Fender. As a guitar player and Fender user, I was super excited to join the conversation and think of new and exciting ways to market their product. It was surreal working on ways to advertise a product for a company that I’ve loved and adored my whole life. Another project that I really enjoyed working on was helping pitch our services to Amazon for their re:Invent 2019 conference. I ended up sitting in on the call where the founder, Gogi Gupta, pitched our work to Amazon executives. Long story short, we ended up winning over the business! It was super exciting to know that the work I did directly impacted new business for the company. Some other exciting work I did was working on campaigns for artists I love like Jason Mraz, Beyoncé and Post Malone.
Why the music industry? Feel free to share your musical background or any past co-op experiences.
I came to Northeastern to study the music industry because it’s what I’ve been passionate about my whole life. I’ve been playing guitar and singing for as long as I can remember and I developed an interest in the business side of things after getting some experience running and managing my own band Above Water. We’re a pop/rock group that’s played around the area for the past few years in venues such as The Middle East Club, City Winery and Sofar Sounds. Learning how to market ourselves to booking agents, radio stations, playlist curators and all other gatekeepers has been a great experience that contributed to my interest in this side of the industry. I loved my position at Gupta Media because it combined so many different interests of mine. I’m super excited to be returning their after I graduate this summer for a full-time position!