Nina Altadonna is a copywriter at BatesMeron Sweet Design. She spends her days brainstorming concepts that wow our clients and writing copy that moves their audiences.
I interviewed Nina as part of our 6 Questions feature: a series of one-on-one interviews with people we work with who’ve made us proud. In addition to speaking with our clients to see how they’re rocking their brands, I also like to put BMSDers on the hot seat so you can find out what each of our team members brings to the table.
Read on to learn about Nina’s path to copywriting, how she puts her creative mind to use and what she has in common with The Little Mermaid.
1. How did you become a copywriter?
My love for copywriting fell into place while I was studying at Michigan State University. I went into my freshman year with my mind set on an advertising degree, but once I got there, I realized there were a lot of different facets within advertising I could study: account, creative, media, etc. To ease my confusion on what I should focus on and to (hopefully) make some friends, I immediately joined my school’s chapter of the American Advertising Federation, aka Cedar Banks. From there, everything fell into place. I realized that my off-the-wall creative ideas could be put to use and that my passion for writing was good for something other than Psych 101 essays. (And don’t worry, I made some friends too.)
2. You’ve been working at BatesMeron for almost 2 years now and have been involved in many of our writing projects since your arrival. What is one of your favorite projects you’ve worked on and why?
One of my favorite projects was working on a consumer-driven campaign for RCN. Earlier this year, RCN came to BatesMeron with the objective of creating a marketing campaign that focused on the residents of Skokie. This campaign would offer a special Skokie-only price to residents, making it truly unique and not just a hand-me-down of Chicago.
During the brainstorming process we created multiple campaign concepts and pulled through an array of art and writing styles. From illustration to photography, we presented RCN with three great and very different ideas—each focused on providing Skokie with excellent RCN service. It was exciting to present each idea and see RCN’s response and final decision, which then turned into a full campaign. Overall, I loved being a part of the team that brought the campaign to life. (Also, seeing the end result on a CTA billboard was definitely something I bragged about to my friends.)
3. What’s the most unexpected way you’ve put your creative talents to use?
I’d have to say my Halloween costumes. I’ve turned into quite the advocate of Halloween and I LOVE a great costume. I always admire the clever, creative and homemade costumes I see out n’ about or while perusing through pictures online—and I even enjoy helping my friends with their costume brainstorming/creation. (I once single-handedly turned my roommate into a giant loofah. Lots of tulle and a dizzying amount of spinning was involved.)
And I have to say, I’ve had some winners in the past. Top selects: Rambo (First Blood Part II), Oompa Loompa and The Black Swan.
4. What do you want to be when you grow up?
When I grow up I want to be a screen/TV writer and/or part of the Disney creative team. I am lover of all things cinema (script writing, casting, musical score, costume, don’t get me started on the Oscars, etc.) and am a fan of television series that make audiences feel a part of the story. And by “Disney creative team,” I mean the brains behind the amazing animated movies they create and stories they tell. One of the coolest documentaries I’ve ever seen was The Pixar Story, which details the first years of Pixar Animation Studios. It was eye opening to learn about the struggles, creative process and roots of such a successful company—and it was also fun to see the early stages and first hand-drawn renderings of my favorite Pixar characters. Watching it inspired me to never limit my creativity and to always keep pushing myself further.
5. You have a passion for all things Disney. If you were a Disney Princess, who would you be?
Ariel (The Little Mermaid). She’s got big hair, she’s fierce, she loves to sing and she’s always down for a good adventure. We’re basically the same person…minus the whole part human, part fish thing.
Ed. Note: It took Nina an entire weekend to make this decision.
6. If our clients could watch you at work, what would they be surprised about?
My creative process first begins visually and then makes its way into text. I tend to be a very visual person, especially when I’m trying to get my head into the creative state of mind. Because of that, you can often find me scrolling through Pinterest, gazing through our design books and browsing through Google images before my pencil even touches a piece of paper.
I also love working closely with our designers to discuss how the piece or project we are working on will look and feel once completed. Having that understanding and communication acts as a guide for my writing. Even if I don’t brainstorm with a designer first, you’ll find my notebook filled with a combination of text and illustrations of how I imagine that project to be executed. Whether or not my visual inspiration makes it into the finished product, you can always count on me to have a drawing or picture at hand to help describe my big idea and copy.
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