RealArts@Penn internship with Viacom Catalyst: Creative + Strategy


Viacom Catalyst is Viacom’s award-winning in-house advertising, marketing and branding studio.

We provide strategic creative solutions from start to finish — with all of our departments (brand strategy, copy, design, video, digital, account services, production and more) — on a diverse range of projects including:

Catalyst partners closely with other Viacom departments and business units to ensure that all work is true to the company’s cutting-edge identity while also driving its business objectives. Ever on the pulse, Catalyst helps to promote the one-of-a-kind culture that embraces and fosters talent, celebrates diversity and works to merge innovation, technology and creativity to be a worldwide leader in entertainment.

What You Can Expect…

Editorial interns work alongside Catalyst’s writers, and in tandem with designers, digital, video and other team members, on projects including brainstorming ideas for ads, videos, social media and more; cranking out taglines and names; research; and various other tasks to support the group.

Editorial interns work alongside Catalyst’s writers, and in tandem with designers, digital, video and other team members, on projects including brainstorming ideas for ads, videos, social media and more; cranking out taglines and names; research; and various other tasks to support the group. Interns attend meetings and follow the creative process from concept to completion. Work with fellow interns in design, digital and video on an intern creative project that helps move Catalyst or Viacom as a whole forward.

One thing to know before applying: This is not a journalism position. However, those interested in journalism are welcome to apply as long as they are interested in learning about — and potentially pursuing a career in — creative marketing, advertising and/or branding.

What else you can expect...

What we bring

We look to immerse candidates in every phase of what we do –– from the creation of advertising to branding to strategic partnering to the day-to-day functioning of a corporate workplace –– with the mission of allowing interns unique opportunities to accrue valuable experience, to have fun, to express themselves, and to hone the skill sets that will benefit them in the real world.

What you bring

First and foremost, we want someone with a passion for writing, who is interested in learning about branding, advertising, copywriting (both business- and consumer-targeted work) and other aspects of what we do.

The ideal candidate:

  • Will be interested in and active in the craft of writing, whether it’s through fiction, poetry, journalism, essay writing, blogs and social media, etc.
  • Will be able to articulate (in writing and in person) their viewpoints, ideas and creativity in healthy, clear and constructive ways.
  • Should bring a fresh approach to writing and communication — for example someone who lives for entertainment and pop culture, someone with unique experience(s), an offbeat or creative way of looking at the world, a great sense of humor, etc.
  • Should be motivated, quick-thinking, creative and able to function well in teams and on his/her own.
  • Must be flexible and understand that the internship requires playing many different roles— they will be responsible for a variety of tasks ranging from the mundane to the exciting, but they should approach it all with enthusiasm and a can-do attitude.
  • We paid them to say this!

    “I was viewed as an integral member of the editorial team from day one. If you’re looking to work in an environment filled with passionate people who always bring their A-game, then look no further than Catalyst. Throughout the summer, I was encouraged to become involved in a variety of projects that were fun, challenging and impactful. From writing headlines for Viacom initiatives to researching trends in the media industry to contemplating ideas for my intern project, there was never a dull moment. Contemplating ideas to pitch for projects with different teams across the department was my favorite part of the experience — there’s nothing better than the moment when a good idea just clicks (along with a good laugh in the ‘Zen den’). I also had access to unbelievable mentors both inside and outside of my department, career-building workshops, intern parties (did I mention the donuts stuffed with ice-cream yet?!?), and networking events. I could not have had a better Summer than I had at 1515 Broadway and will cherish this opportunity forever!”

    – Lauren Donato, 2018 RealArts@Penn Intern

    “I've never worked in an environment as open and encouraging as Catalyst. I was able to branch out and work with teams across the department on a variety of projects. The brainstorms and pitch meetings were so fun. I just had so much freedom to get involved with whatever I was curious about. I learned a ton about copywriting — which I had never done before — and my general writing skills definitely improved. I also learned a lot about Viacom and the broader entertainment industry itself! And yeah, the position was super creative. Having worked at other places, I can say that it's a truly special experience when you look forward to going to work in the morning. I always looked forward to starting my day at Catalyst and I'll treasure my internship there forever!

    – Micaela Tenenbaum, 2017 RealArts@Penn Intern

    “Working at Viacom Catalyst was an experience unlike any I’ve ever had before. I got to bounce ideas off other copywriters while coming up with new and creative ways to showcase Viacom and its brands. Whether it was pitching concepts for our intern project, helping develop and launch the departments Instagram account, participating in naming projects and brand strategy brainstorms, my internship had me rethink my creative approach to writing.”

    – Harley Geffner, 2016 RealArts@Penn Intern

    “I could not have had a better summer working at Viacom. It was an unparalleled opportunity. I thought working at such a large company might be overwhelming, but on the contrary, this internship gave me a voice and let me have an impact. I loved the work that I did–whether it was collaborating with other interns on various independent projects, hashing out copy for brand campaigns, or bouncing ideas off of the other copywriters. What I valued most about the Catalyst internship was the independence I had. I was put on so many projects with different copywriters in the department and through that, I got so much exposure to the company’s products and people. I learned what Viacom is really all about. Anyone looking to spend their summer working with incredibly driven, hilarious individuals in a creative, innovative environment should apply to this internship. I will always feel lucky to have had this experience.”

    – Rachel Bass, 2015 RealArts@Penn Intern

    “What I loved about working at Viacom Catalyst was the creative atmosphere. My colleagues discussed summer reality television passionately, and brainstorming sessions were held in the “breakout area,” a nook filled with comfy couches, funky lamps, and a beautiful view of the Hudson River. Our amazing department head often celebrated the team's hard work with bagel breakfasts and ice cream parties. Never before had I worked in an environment that catered so much to creativity, and I found myself becoming interested and engaged with different things each day. As the RealArts intern, I was exposed to an entirely new skillset: copy writing. I quickly learned that Viacom has a distinct, unique voice, and our work had to reflect that voice. You can’t just rattle off a pun and pass it off as a good tagline. Sometimes, it can take you hours just to find the right adjective.It really made me realize the power and the value of words. For a writer/pop culture aficionado like me, there was no better place to work than Viacom Catalyst. Anybody who values intense literary debates, writing catchy slogans, free t-shirts, creative colleagues and should apply to this internship.”

    – Julia Liebergal, 2014 RealArts@Penn Intern

    “Interning at Viacom was an incredibly enriching experience. From day one, the team included me on meaningful projects that both excited and challenged me as a writer. I learned what goes into crafting a successful branding campaign and how great writing plays an integral role. I became a better writer—but I also gained confidence in everything from idea generation and design thinking to client presentations. I was lucky enough to work closely with the design and production teams, collaborating on shoots, mock-ups, marketing proposals and so much more. But what really made my internship experience were the people. The office is the perfect environment to have fun and try out new ideas. Our brainstorming meetings were the highlight of every project; I loved sitting at a table of people trying to come up with the next best idea, or the one that would make us laugh the most. In those moments of synergy, I gained a better understanding of the overarching creative process. The fact that my ideas and copy were often used in our final products was extremely rewarding. Looking at something and saying, ‘I helped to make this’ is the coolest feeling in the world.”

    – Frida Garza, 2013 RealArts@Penn Intern