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Interns battle to be part of creative hub

The only thing missing was Donald Trump's hair and his trademark blast: 'You're fired.'

But the Colaboratory internship program, established by the Portland Advertising Federation to recruit and groom aspiring creative ad people, had all the makings of an 'Apprentice' show. Two teams of five people each vying for approval from Tillamook, the Oregon cheese maker, the account. Two presentations after six weeks of working with Portland ad agencies, of which 10 are involved each year in Colaboratory.

'Delicious Local Love' was the theme of the winning Tillamook presentation, by Team Knack, which included Andrew Abraham, Carrie Dunn, Karly Bolton (Oregon), Ken Langdon and Nicole Jordan.

'It was definitely a combination of 'Apprentice,' 'Mad Men' and 'Real World,' ' says Abraham, a 21-year-old DePaul University senior, of the unique internship program, where 10 competitive ad agencies collaborate. 'There was the 'Apprentice' side, the ad ('Mad Men') side and the side where all these college students became friends and live in dorms together ('Real World').'

Tillamook won't necessarily integrate Team Knack's 'Delicious Local Love' campaign. It was just an idea generating endeavor. Runner-up HI-Res included Alec Jankowski, David Huecker (PSU), Megs Senk, Sam Lee (OSU) and Alanna Geoghegan.

'Winning and losing wasn't as much of a focus as giving it all we had and producing something we were proud of,' Abraham says. 'We had friends on the other team, and it was more like a formality to present our ideas.'

It was the third year of Colaboratory.

'The goal is to promote the Portland creative environment to the rest of the nation,' spokesperson Sarah Lemmon says. 'We want to continue to grow Portland as a creative hub, and recruit the next brightest and best stars from across the country.'

As far as 10 ad agencies sharing interns and resources, a statement on the PAF website says it all: 'Being competitive doesn't mean being harmful.'

- Jason Vondersmith