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2019 SIXTY

A PUBLICATION FROM VCU BRANDCENTER V.22

VOLUME 22


general info

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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ART DIRECTION (AD) Overview and Curriculum Student Work Tales From Sixty - Lauren Acampora and Chloe Friedman Job Placement What Alumni are Saying - Kevin Weir (‘12), Jansen Yoder (‘17), Caitlin Bradley (‘14) Alumni Success - Droga5, Casey Rand (‘08) and Karen Land Short (‘08) COPYWRITING (CW) Overview and Curriculum Student Work Tales From Sixty - Josh Perry Job Placement What Alumni are Saying - Claire Wyckoff (‘11), Kris Kennedy (‘09), Christa Prater (‘18) Alumni Success - Arts & Letters Creative Co., Charles Hodges (‘09) STRATEGY (ST) Overview and Curriculum Student Work Tales From Sixty - Kyle Stolcis Job Placement What Alumni are Saying - Gautam Ramdurai (‘11), Nitin Dua (‘16), Caitlin Blumer (‘17) Alumni Success - MullenLowe, Mollie Partesotti (‘09) EXPERIENCE DESIGN (XD) Overview and Curriculum Student Work Tales From Sixty - Ruthie Edwards Job Placement What Alumni are Saying - Raj Kuppusamy (‘12), Fitz Maro (‘13), Christine Pizzo (‘14) Alumni Success - R/GA, Tommy Carroll (‘18) and WeWork, Berfin Ayhan (‘18) CREATIVE BRAND MANAGEMENT (CBM) Overview and Curriculum Student Work Tales From Sixty - Gabi Levi Job Placement What Alumni are Saying - Nick Koutris (‘18), Jordan Childs (‘09), Hannah Levy Luse (‘18) Alumni Success - Flip the Script, Yichi Zhang (‘15)

57 59 61 63 64 66 67 69 71

BC Collective Internship Placement - Summer 2018 My Time in Cannes - Gloryah Allen and Zak Vono Friday Forum Recruiter Session Class of 2019 Student Websites Graduation Joyce King Thomas - Collaborate Fearlessly HOW TO APPLY

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track info

23 25 27 29 29 30 31 33 37 39 39 40 41 43 45 47 47 48

student experience

Brand Mission Letter From the Director Overview Welcoming the Class of 2020 Scholarships and Tuition Director’s Council, Faculty, and Staff Alumni Info Staying Connected - Networking Giving Back - Pop-Up Shop


THE ELITE TRAINING GROUND FOR THE WORLD’S BEST CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVERS.

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VCU BRANDCENTER


“There is emphasis placed on the power of unexpected ideas, alternative approaches, and uncommon perspectives. The program values seeing a problem from multiple angles and thrives on diverse points of view. At its best, the program celebrates and rewards ideas that challenge the status quo. This is the creative industry’s most prized resource and the DNA most coveted in hires. Good ideas rarely come from playing it safe. They come from bucking the system, are born from approaches that don’t seem to be working, and run counter to category convention. This is the Brandcenter’s secret sauce, so don’t overcook it with too much structure, too many boxes to check, or overexposure to flash-in-pan “trends.” Leave room for some chaos to focus on cultivating an atmosphere that prizes the power of purposeful creativity and the Brandcenter will never lose its magic.”


Director of Strategy at Arts & Letters Creative Co., and truly express how unique the Brandcenter is. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The Brandcenter is a special place; a dream brought to fruition by the sheer force of will

of the school’s founding director, Diane Cook-Tench. Yes, many things have changed over

the years (technology, our tracks, our faculty and directors, and even Sixty magazine itself), but the heart of what Diane created is still here in these walls and in the hearts of our students, alumni, faculty and staff alike.

Forged by grit and determination, the Brandcenter has never been for the faint of heart; it’s for the fighter, the thinker, the underdog, the artist, the perfectionist, the joker, the

nerd, the jock, and the “crazy ones.” Yeah, you know who you are and we are glad to have you. Because here, every day, we bump heads, we figure it out, we push through, we create

and collaborate, we work hard and play hard, we design, we laugh, we fail, we overcome, we transform, and then, graduate.

That’s the Brandcenter. Thanks for coming. VANN GRAVES Executive Director

copywriting 4 letter from the director

These thoughtful words were written by our esteemed alum, Andy Grayson (ST, 2002),


OVERVIEW

The VCU Brandcenter is a TWO-YEAR, FULL-TIME master’s program for students interested in advertising/branding careers. You gain a MASTER OF SCIENCE DEGREE in business and a portfolio of creative work.

FIVE TRACKS OF STUDY Brandcenter students concentrate in one of the five tracks - art direction, copywriting, strategy, creative brand management, or experience design. They study within their given track, as well as collaborate with all tracks on team projects that culminate in presentations to their faculty, peers, and real-world clients.

WELCOMING THE CLASS OF 2020

ART DIRECTORS COPYWRITERS STRATEGISTS CREATIVE BRAND MANAGERS EXPERIENCE DESIGNERS

24 23 21 16 22

PEOPLE OF COLOR 25% AVERAGE AGE 26 MALE 39% FEMALE 61% HAVE PRIOR WORK EXPERIENCE 73% OUT-OF-STATE 56% STATES 22 COUNTRIES 5 TOP MAJORS Marketing English Communication Journalism Graphic Design HEARD ABOUT BRANDCENTER FROM 39% AN ALUM OR CURRENT STUDENT #BRANDFAM GET TO KNOW OUR STUDENTS TALESFROMSIXTY.COM


6 class of 2020

DAY 1 ORIENTATION 9:00 am 9:20 am 9:30 am 10:00 am 10:30 am 11:00 am 11:45 am 1:00 pm 1:30 pm

Welcome Scholarship Info IT Info Financial Aid Q&A Student Affairs Campus Safety LUNCH “The Well at VCU” Brandcentral Intro


SCHOLARSHIPS

$107,120 WAS AWARDED IN SCHOLARSHIPS IN 2018 VCU Brandcenter students have access to financial aid and other funding programs. Approximately 75% of our students are financing their education with federal financial aid (FAFSA) and/or Graduate Plus Loans.

WE PARTNER WITH BRANDS TO HELP SOLVE THEIR MARKETING CHALLENGES. THEIR DONATIONS FUEL OUR SCHOLARSHIP FUND. HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF OUR PARTNERS.

TUITION

TUITION & FEES IN-STATE: $25,643 (annual tuition & fees) OUT-OF-STATE: $26,303 (annual tuition & fees)

DAY OF GIVING

Alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the Brandcenter give back on a designated date in April each year. All proceeds from the Day of Giving go toward Brandcenter scholarships.


– AGENT OF CHANGE SCHOLARSHIP FUND MISSION

Based on this shared belief in the importance of diversity, supporters of the VCU Brandcenter, the country’s premier graduate program for branding and advertising, came together over the summer of 2018 to create the Agent of Change Scholarship Fund.

“Having played an integral role in the Brandcenter since its inception, Martin is proud to continue our support

through the Agent of Change scholarship,” said Kristen Cavallo, CEO of The Martin Agency. “This scholarship is designed to attract a greater number of students with diverse backgrounds – something our industry is critically lacking. We are honored to help promote this vital initiative to help change advertising for the better.” “It was easy to be in on the ground floor of this scholarship,” recalled faculty member, Caley Cantrell. “The Brandcenter program thrives on collaboration among people with different perspectives and opinions.” Elisha Greenwell, senior brand strategist for Facebook’s Factory, cited the important role that a diverse workforce plays

in serving global communities. “Facebook’s Factory aims to create work that elevates the best part of our platform

which is, unsurprisingly, the people that use it and all the good that comes from the communities they build together. With 2B+ users, Facebook’s communities are both diverse and global, and it’s important that we nurture talent that reflects them.” “Scholarships are critical to recruitment and provide vital support for students. The VCU Brandcenter is thankful for the vision and generosity of our Agent of Change Scholarship Fund donors,” said Vann Graves, executive director of the VCU Brandcenter.

Supporters to date include: Caley Cantrell, Kristen Cavallo, The Martin Agency, Facebook’s Factory, and Sylvain Labs. They invite others to join them, with the goal of building the fund to $1 million.

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CHANGE IS HARD. CHANGE BRINGS OPPORTUNITY. ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES THE ADVERTISING, MARKETING AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIES NEED TO MAKE IS DIVERSITY. IMPROVING DIVERSITY ADVANCES BIG IDEAS. LEADS TO BETTER WORK. CREATES MORE OPPORTUNITY.


VANN GRAVES Executive Director

DIRECTOR’S COUNCIL, FACULTY, AND STAFF

CALEY CANTRELL Professor, Strategy PETER COUGHTER Professor, Persuasion WAYNE GIBSON Professor, Creative BERWYN HUNG Professor, Creative faculty

The Brandcenter Director’s Council is comprised of brand leaders and visionaries that represent some of today’s most innovative businesses. This group of founding council members, representing a wide range of professional diversity and highly specialized expertise, will help reimagine how the Brandcenter prepares its students to lead the workforce of tomorrow. They are our direct link to the business world, poised to support the development and advocacy of the Brandcenter.

BRAD BLONDES VP, Global Brand Design - MetLife

DON JUST Professor, Creative Brand Management ANDREW LEVASSEUR Professor, Experience Design MICHAEL MULLEN Professor, Creative

KRISTEN CAVALLO CEO - The Martin Agency

KELLY O’KEEFE Professor, Creative Brand Management

MICHAEL CHANEY Co-founder and Managing Member - Sephina Spirits

KEVIN ROTHERMEL Professor, Strategy

CARL DESIR Diversity and Inclusion Director - R/GA

SCOTT WITTHAUS Professor, Film/Technology

AMBER GUILD President - The New York Times / T Brand Studio

DEAN COLLINS Network Analyst

BEN HUGHES Creative Director - Squarespace

ANDREA GROAT Sr. Director of Finance and Administration

SLOANE HUMPHREY President - Powell Communications

KATHERINE KEOGH Student Affairs & Communications Manager

HOWARD JORDAN, JR. (CW, 1999) Story Editor / TV Writer - Netflix

ISABELLE MOUTON Program Administrator

DARYL LEE Global CEO - Universal McCann

DIANA OJIBWAY Designer in Residence

VAL MIDDLETON Head of Marketing, Brand Curry - Under Armour

JONATHAN PITTS IT Support Specialist

staff

director’s council

HERMON GHERMAY Director - GraceBlue

PAM KIECKER ROYALL Head of Research, Enrollment Services - EAB

AMY ROBINSON Office Manager

PETER SHERMAN Executive Vice President - Omnicom

ASHLEY SOMMARDAHL Director of Student Affairs & Industry Outreach

SHERICE TORRES Marketing Director - Google

PJ SYKES Administrative Assistant

KHARTOON WEISS Global Head of Verticals - Spotify

EMILY TOALSON Director of Development

ALI WYSONG Account Executive - Waze

SHANNON WILKE Executive Coordinator


CREATIVE VETS DESIGN A BARRICADE TO STOP SCHOOL SHOOTERS IN THEIR TRACKS VCU Brandcenter professor and former Hollywood set designer create simple device to deter attackers

This week we saw yet another shooting tragedy in Thousand Oaks, California. This repeat cycle of gun violence in our country has inspired many in the industry to conceive remarkable messaging ideas trying to tackle the issue. But a pair of creative vets have gone a step further--they’ve invented an actual product designed to stop shooters in their tracks when they try to attack children in schools. SCOTT WITTHAUS, a professor at VCU Brandcenter and his late creative partner Chris McCann have created DropLock, a simple barricade system that affixes to doors and can be activated in seconds. Once deployed, it serves as a deterrent that can keep perpetrators at bay for about 10 minutes--buying more time for law enforcement to secure a school premises during an incident. Witthaus began thinking up the idea after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012. “I was flying home from a recruiting event for the VCU Brandcenter in San Francisco, and I kept thinking that something had to be done--anything,” he says. “I wrote down ideas and wondered what the product might be, how it might work and who I could ask to help me on it.” He then turned to his friend, Chris McCann, a former Hollywood set builder. “He was as passionate about the idea as I was and we set out to create something.” Together, on a rainy May day on Witthaus’ back porch, they “bounced ideas back and forth, scribbling on paper scraps, just getting ideas out,” he recalls. “Research shows that most active shooter incidents last between eight and 12 minutes. My initial thought was, 'How do we buy time during an incident to keep students safe until law enforcement arrives?'” After about four hours, they had a rough idea of what they wanted and McCann then created a balsa wood model of their concept. During the brainstorming session, Witthaus and McCann considered several factors: “We kept coming back to simple mechanics--one gross muscle movement versus fine motor movements, easy to

Creating the product presented numerous obstacles, Witthaus says. He and McCann tested out many iterations and saw many failures. Also, “the IP to patent process is incredibly long and complex,” Witthaus says. DropLock acquired its U.S. patent in early 2017. Witthaus says his biggest challenge, however, was the loss of his creative partner McCann. “In late 2014 he developed a rare and aggressive form of cancer and passed away in early 2015,” Witthaus says. “That set me back on many levels, but fortunately I was able to tell him before he died that we had a product that could be patented and the process had started.” McCann’s wife Lisa is now partner in the company, and DropLock is currently in its third beta version. Witthaus and team are positioning DropLock as a step in a school's active shooter protocol, though it’s a product that could easily travel beyond, to government, healthcare and corporate facilities. He hopes to keep the product under $200 per unit. “If the average school has 30 doors that qualify it would only be $6,000 or less to protect students,” he says. “We don't want this to be a major budget line item for school districts.” Witthaus says the product has been reviewed by teachers, sheriffs, adminstrators, Navy Seals and the Dean of the VCU School of Business. The DropLock team worked with The Martin Agency on a brand style book, site design and competitive analysis, and Witthaus says he's grateful for how supportive VCU has been throughout the whole process. Now, he and his team are in the process of finalizing materials and design and then hope to get test products to schools and teachers. Ultimately, “I'm hoping to find a partner company, ideally in the security market, that is as passionate about doing something to protect our kids as we are, and license the IP to them to speed up the process in getting the product to market," Witthaus says. "I realize that means giving up a fair amount of profit, but it's about keeping kids safe first.”

by Ann-Christine Diaz, adage.com/creativity

10 director’s council, faculty, and staff

install, easy to deploy and cost efficient, seeing that most school districts are financially challenged. We know shooters are looking for the most targets in the shortest amount of time, so our goal was to create a product that can buy time.”


ALUMNI INFO

1600 ALUMNI AND COUNTING

Adobe Airbnb American Eagle Outfitters Apple Boeing Capital One CarMax Casper Chewy Chipotle Chobani Columbia Discover Dyson Etsy Facebook Google Hilton Worldwide IBM iX LinkedIn Lyft Marriott International Microsoft NBA NBC Universal Nestle Nike Norwegian Cruise Lines Pinterest REI Target Urban Outfitters Under Armour UNIQLO Walt Disney Imagineering Wyndam Hotel Group Zipcar

consultancy

72andSunny AKQA Anomaly Arts & Letters Creative Co. barrettSF Barton F. Graf BBDO BBH Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners CP+B David & Goliath DDB Deutsch Droga5 Fallon Goodby, Silverstein & Partners GSD&M Heat Leo Burnett McCann McGarrah Jessee McKinney Media Arts Lab Mono MullenLowe Ogilvy Olson Omelet Preacher R/GA Saatchi & Saatchi TBWA\Chiat\Day The Community The Martin Agency The Richards Group Venables Bell & Partners Wieden+Kennedy Y&R

brand

agency

JOB PLACEMENT RATE WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF GRADUATION AT PLACES LIKE... Accenture Digital BCG Digital Ventures Brand Apart Bullish Butchershop Chapter Co:Collective Collins Deloitte Digital Frog IDEO Inamoto & Co Joe Smith Brand Strategy Phenomenon Red Antler Redscout Siegel+Gale SingleStone Sterling Brands Sterling Rice Group Sylvain Labs Taylor Strategy The Mom Complex VBP Orange Webb deVlam West Zeus Jones

OUR ALUMNI ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN MENTORING AND RECRUITING OUR STUDENTS.


RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS BY OUR ALUMNI

12 alumni info

KATHERINE WINTSCH (ST, 2001) is the CEO of The Mom

JENNIFER CLINEHENS (CBM, 2013) is an American

Complex, a consulting company in Richmond, Virginia that

marketing professional currently living in London where

frequently works with Fortune 500 companies such as

she's Head of Customer Experience at The Marketing Store.

Walmart, Unilever, HGTV, Kraft, and Johnson & Johnson.

During her career, she's crafted experiences for brands like

Her research has been featured by The Today Show, The

AT&T, McDonald's, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, and

New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company,

more. She specializes in helping companies create seam-

along with a 2013 TedX talk.

less customer experiences across international markets. Ms.Clinehens has worked across Asia, Australia, Canada, the States, Mexico, and Europe. She holds a master’s degree in Brand Management from the VCU Brandcenter as well as an MBA in marketing from Emory University.


STAYING CONNECTED

OUR ALUMNI NETWORK IS SECOND TO NONE. #BRANDFAM

SUMMER HAPPY HOUR, JULY 19TH - 6PM

SEATTLE

LOS ANGELES

SAN FRANCISCO

BOULDER/DENVER

AUSTIN

CORTINA

PRINCE O’WHALES

GRUMPY’S

IRENE’S

621 UNION STREET

335 CULVER BOULEVARD (PLAYA DEL REY)

125 VALLEJO STREET

4 NOSES BREWING COMPANY

506 WEST AVE

8855 W 116TH CIRCLE #4 (BROOMFIELD)

PORTLAND

CHICAGO

RICHMOND

RALEIGH/DURHAM

ATLANTA

PAYMASTER LOUNGE

SHEFFIELD’S BEER AND WINE GARDEN

DON’T LOOK BACK TRIPLE

PONYSAURUS BREWING COMPANY

PAINTED DUCK

3258 N SHEFFIELD AVENUE

3306 W BROAD STREET

219 HOOD STREET (DURHAM)

1020 NW 17TH AVENUE

MINNEAPOLIS

DC METRO

NEW YORK

UNION BAR & GRILL

MISSION DUPONT CIRCLE

THE FRYING PAN

731 HENNEPIN AVENUE

1606 20TH STREET NW

PIER 66 @ WEST 26TH STREET IN HUDSON RIVER PARK

976 BRADY AVENUE NW

BOSTON CENTRAL WHARF 160 MILK STREET


ALUMNI GIVING BACK

The Annual Pop-Up Shop celebrates our talented alumni and raises money for the Brandcenter’s annual fund, which supports student scholarships, capital improvements, new equipment, and other important initiatives that enhance the quality of education for our students.

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ART DIRECTION Art directors are visual problem solvers with a strong sense of design and concepts. They participate in the development of concepts, then bring them to life with images, typography, and technology.

CURRICULUM SEMESTER 01 The Business of Branding Creative Thinking Visual Storytelling Problem Solving for Art Directors SEMESTER 02 Concept Development Craft User Participation Platforms SEMESTER 03 Brand Experiences Creative Fusion Portfolio Development Experimentation SEMESTER 04 Innovation Persuasion Advanced Portfolio


MRS. MEYER’S CLEAN DAY | AD: Katie Paxton / CW: Josh Perry

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ME UNDIES PACKAGING | AD: Joe Jones / CW: Donald Kim

ALASKA’S NATIONAL PARK | AD: Ariana Safari / CW: Kobby Amoako-Atta

TAZO TEA | AD: Molly McCarvill / CW: Josh Perry


18 art direction STUB HUB WILD POSTINGS | AD: Robert Arthur / CW: Danielle Ciccolo

AMERICAN CREW | AD: Alec Milton / CW: Josh Browne


TALES FROM SIXTY

Lauren Acampora and Chloe Friedman LEARNING THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION

Lauren: When I moved to Richmond last August, I didn’t know a single person who lived in this city. It was terrifying. Having lived in a shoebox in New York City for the prior three years, I decided to flex and get my own apartment in RVA (washer/dryer in unit and everything!). Being an adult in a new city is lonely, though, and I quickly realized that maybe that wasn’t the smartest choice… Luckily, on the first day of bootcamp I happened to sit next to Chloe Friedman, who is quite possibly the most outgoing human specimen I have ever encountered. Chloe: Haha, yes! We got lunch our very first day and the rest is history. Every introvert needs an extrovert sidekick. Lauren: Spoiler alert: we live together now in a sickkkk apartment with two other Brandcenter students, but, more importantly, we feed each other’s creativity. Whenever I feel stuck, talking things through with Chloe always leads to stumbling across a new and interesting way of approaching the problem at hand. Okay maybe not *always* but, you know, a lot of the time. Before I came to Brandcenter, I was a graphic designer who worked entirely on my own. If I didn’t have any meetings scheduled, entire days would go by where I didn’t talk to anyone. Honestly, I didn’t hate it — I listened to a lot of podcasts, and was incredibly well-informed on all things true crime. But coming here and suddenly working with a copywriting partner on all of my assignments, while simultaneously becoming a member of a close-knit community of aspiring art directors who inspire and challenge one another, made me realize that working solo as a creative is a horrible idea. Collaboration opens a million doors in your mind that would have otherwise remained locked.

“THE PEOPLE YOU’LL MEET ARE WHAT MAKE BRANDCENTER WORTH IT.”

Chloe: Exactly! Having come to the Brandcenter without a design background, it’s been incredibly helpful having a friend with killer design chops to bounce projects off. The art direction class, as a whole, is a hodge-podge of people with graphic design experience, more traditional fine art skills, and media and journalism training. Since our track is so diverse when it comes to our strengths and backgrounds, we lean on each other to help one another make the best work we possibly can. When one person comes to class with incredible art direction, it pushes the rest of us. Being surrounded by a talented and supportive group of people has been invaluable.


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JOB PLACEMENT

Art Direction graduates go on to roles as art directors, creative directors, and designers on the agency side. We also have art direction alums on the client side, working within the in-house creative studio for brands like Nike, Facebook, Google, and Target.

WHAT ALUMNI ARE SAYING

“Nothing makes you a better art director than spending two years in the same building with twenty other art directors who are all superior to you in some way. It’s a very intense osmosis. If you play nice, do the work, listen to your enigmatic professors, and let yourself get a little weird, you’ll have a good time at Brandcenter.” - Kevin Weir (AD, 2012), Creative Director, 72andSunny Amsterdam

“Looking at the big picture can seem impossible when you’re inhaling coffee at 3 AM, questioning a tagline for the 5th time or working with your not-so-favorite person. But looking back you will be proud of the work and overcoming the emotions and making new friends. You now have the grit to make it out in the real world and the network to help you grow in your career and as a person.” - Jansen Yoder (AD, 2017), Art Director, Facebook

“The Brandcenter is where you really learn who you are and what you’re good at, and that’s what really pushes you to become amazing. Or try to be.” - Caitlin Bradley (AD, 2014), Senior Designer, Redscout


ALUMNI SUCCESS

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DROGA5 PROMOTES CASEY RAND AND KAREN LAND SHORT TO EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTORS Meet the two newest members of Droga5’s creative leadership. The agency promoted Casey Rand (CW, 2008) and Karen Land Short (AD, 2008) from group creative directors to ECDs, effective immediately. They now join the team led by recently-appointed CCO Neil Heymann. “Casey and Karen are among our absolute best and brightest,” said Heymann. “Their sharp minds and exceptional talents have led to some of this agency’s most powerful work. They’re strong leaders with a conscience, compelled to use their considerable powers to help causes they believe in. We’re lucky to continue to have their influence at the highest levels of the Creative Department and the agency.” These two creative veterans, who joined the agency in 2013 and 2012, respectively, have since worked on some of its most notable projects such as Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” in addition to campaigns from Chase, the Clinton Foundation, YMCA, CoverGirl and more. They also shared Cannes Lions’ first Glass Lion in 2015 for the National Women’s Law Center’s “The Equal Payback Project.” “I’ve grown up at Droga5 and couldn’t be happier to help lead the agency that’s pushed me to find my voice as a writer, mentor and manager,” said Rand, who was formerly with Silver + Partners and BBDO. “There’s no place with better opportunities, nicer people and more creative ambition on the planet. I promise to wield my new powers for good and also buy a nicer blazer.” Karen Land Short added, “After seven years at Droga5, I’m fully indoctrinated into the David and Neil school of thought that we can do anything we set our mind to and that we can use our platform for good. I’m thrilled to help continue to grow the agency, keeping experimentation, creativity and an obsession with humanity at its core.” by Patrick Coffee, adweek.com/Agency Spy


COPYWRITING Copywriters can bring life to big ideas through storytelling that is bold, honest, and engaging. They must work across a range of styles from comedy, to serious prose, from long videos you can’t stop watching, to short social media messages that make you stop and think.

CURRICULUM SEMESTER 01 The Business of Branding Creative Thinking Visual Storytelling Problem Solving SEMESTER 02 Concept Development Craft Brand Engagement SEMESTER 03 Brand Experiences Creative Fusion Portfolio Development Experimentation SEMESTER 04 Innovation Persuasion Advanced Portfolio


24 copywriting HONEST AMISH BEARD OIL PACKAGING | CW: Ross Harris / AD: Amrit Sahni


MONOPOLY TWEETS | CW: Lauren Jones / AD: Charlotte Simons

HERMAN MILLER | CW: Ainsworth Kerr / AD: Robert Arthur

RAZOR | CW: Sean Johnson and Lauren Jones / AD: Lauren Acampora


26 copywriting

MOLESKINE | CW: Mitchell Moss / AD: Katie Paxton


TALES FROM SIXTY

Josh Perry REALIZING I SHOULD HAVE COME TO THE BRANDCENTER SOONER

In 2011, I was working odds and ends for a small agency when I discovered the Brandcenter. I was certain I wanted to go there…for about a month. Then I realized I didn’t want to go back to school. I wanted to work my way into the industry. So I took my shot as a freelance copywriter. I was bad at it. My writing wasn’t paying the bills so I began working on naval ships. It was supposed to be temporary but it went on for about three insanely houred, laborious years. Fortunately, the ships docked in cities with big ad agencies, so I tried to connect with creatives who worked there. I often went into the shipyard with a bag of interview clothes, resumes, and portfolio pieces, waiting for my team to need a hardware run so I could leave, interview, pick up the hardware, and return. I kept freelancing during that time and finally left the ship job. I landed an agency interview where a creative director told me I still needed to grow. He recommended the Brandcenter. He said if I kept my course, I’d work my way in after 5 or more years of fighting, but if I went to the Brandcenter, I’d be where I wanted to be in two years.

“GET IN HERE, GIVE IT ALL YOU’VE GOT FOR 60 WEEKS, AND THE ONLY REGRET YOU’LL HAVE IS NOT COMING HERE SOONER.”

Fast-forward a few years later and he was absolutely right. And not just for getting a portfolio or a job, but how this program has taught me to be a better creative.

I remember working in an engine room, being covered in exhaust dust and oil, trying to fix some ship and realizing I can’t keep doing this. I wanted to pursue my passion, but felt like I needed some proverbial “Mr. Miyagi” of sorts to teach me. I’m happy to say I found him…I just didn’t realize he would take the form of multiple professors and students. If somehow you’re in a similar situation to where I was, take that creative director’s advice. Get in here, give it all you’ve got for 60 weeks, and the only regret you’ll have is not coming here sooner.


28 copywriting


JOB PLACEMENT

Copywriting graduates go on to roles as copywriters and creative directors on the agency side at agencies like Mother, Droga5, Barton F. Graf, and 72andSunny. We also have copywriting alums on the client side, working within the in-house creative studio for brands like Apple, Facebook, Dyson, and Google.

WHAT ALUMNI ARE SAYING

“According to Hemingway, ‘the most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector.’ That’s what the Brandcenter gave me — a shit detector to call my own. My first one. I’ve been grossly mishandling it ever since, but I very much appreciate the gift.” - Claire Wyckoff (CW, 2011), Freelance Creative Director

“Learning how to write at Brandcenter is like breaking a bone. You’re happily skiing along when snap. Pain. Tears. Pointless self-questioning. See, Brandcenter uses writing ads to do something a lot bigger, harder, and more painful – change the way you think. That way you can change the way everyone else around you thinks, too. It’s a painful process. But don’t worry. They’ll put you back together with duct tape or something. And you’ll be better than new.” - Kris Kennedy (CW, 2009), Associate Creative Director, Barkley

“The Brandcenter experience is realizing you’re no longer the cleverest, funniest, brightest person in the room; but when you keep pushing and striving through your hardest days and insecurities, the same voices you envy will be the ones helping you find the strength in your own.” - Christa Prater (CW, 2018), Copywriter, Wieden+Kennedy Portland


ALUMNI SUCCESS

Q&A with CHARLES HODGES (CW, 2009), Executive Creative Director, Arts & Letters Creative Co. You did it. You became ECD, CCO or VP Grand Poobah of a large agency. After years of working your way up the ladder, balancing endless toil and late nights, and amassing shelves full of shiny award hardware, you became a big fish in a big pond. So, what’s the next challenge? Maybe it’s time to jump into the abyss and start your own shop. But, do you know how to incorporate? To secure financing? To set up a company 401(k) and health insurance? Do you even know how to fill out an invoice? This is the daily reality for the industry’s newest entrepreneurs. They’ve broken free from the hassles of agency life, but also its comforts and conveniences—and its safety net. Lately, there’s been a flood of new agencies starting up. What’s behind the trend to jump ship and chart an independent course? I chatted with seven new-agency leaders to discuss their motivations, their biggest challenges and what they’ve learned so far in their quest to be the next Droga. WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DID YOU DO BEFORE STARTING YOUR AGENCY? I actually interviewed more than 400 people in and out of the industry before I officially launched the company. I sat down with everyone from Lee Clow to my grandmother. It was a grand education in what truly matters, which is ultimately one thing: people. At the end of the day, you’re building a place for them to come together and dream. Everything else is just a by-product of that environment. HOW ARE YOU PLANNING TO MAKE YOUR AGENCY DIFFERENT? We don’t have a binary approach to what kind of partner we are. We’re comfortable working as an AOR, working alongside an internal creative group or working on the right kind of project. We’ve found it best to be flexible.

AGENCIES LOVE TO ROLL OUT A UNIQUE INTERNAL PROCESS WHEN PITCHING NEW CLIENTS. IT’S OFTEN A SNAZZY ACRONYM OR A CATCHY TAGLINE. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE ONE OF THESE WHEN PITCHING NEW BUSINESS? We don’t really have an agency process for pitching other than being honest about what we think will be the best solution for the problem. We hop on a phone or a plane, do a lot of listening, and then share a bit of our own story and perspective to see if it might make sense to work together. We have the words “We’ll figure it out” written on a huge wall in the middle of the office, so maybe that’s the closest we’ve come to defining it at this stage. HOW DO THE DAY-TO-DAY STRESSES OF RUNNING YOUR OWN SHOP DIFFER FROM WORKING FOR AN AGENCY? At the end of the day, all tough calls land on my plate. That’s the biggest difference. I do, however, know a lot more about 401(k) administration and health insurance than I did two years ago. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO’S WORKING AT AN AGENCY AND THINKING OF STARTING HER OWN SHOP? Don’t wait. And maybe do it in a place that you would actually want to live for the rest of your life. You’ll find a reservoir of patience and courage that you didn’t know existed within yourself. WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR AGENCY TO BE KNOWN FOR FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? If we could be known as one of the most talented and kind places in the business of ideas, I think we’d all be pretty proud. by David Kuhl, Communication Arts

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LIVING THE HARD-KNOCK STARTUP LIFE


STRATEGY Strategists are students of creativity, budding anthropologists, culture mavens, future forecasters, problem solvers, and insightful generators of ideas that inspire and move business forward.

CURRICULUM SEMESTER 01 The Business of Branding Strategic Thinking Creative Thinking Craft SEMESTER 02 Comms Planning & UX Strategy & Design Visual Storytelling & Design for Strategists Persuasion SEMESTER 03 Brand Experiences Advanced Portfolio Creative Fusion SEMESTER 04 Innovation Cultural Impact: Advance Account Planning Creating Gravitational Pull

THE FUTURE OF SWEETENER | ST: Catie Frech and Curtis Kingrea COMPLETE CASE STUDY www.curtiskingrea.com/sweeteners www.frechyeah.com/sweetener

ASK Forecast the future of sweeteners. SITUATION Human Desire for Sweets Looking at the role sugar plays in our lives today, we realize sweet has always had positive connotations for us. We celebrate birthdays, weddings and holidays with cakes, cookies, and candy. And as Americans, we consume almost 4x as much sugar as the rest of the world. But we’re learning. 84% of Americans are limiting sugar in their diet and 79% check labels for sugar/sweetener used. These behaviors have led companies to develop reduced sugar and alternative sweetener options (including natural alternatives) to maintain a perceived sweetness level without involving incriminating ingredients. But even these alternative options have health risks of their own.


neurogastronomy flavor hacking

SOLUTIONS Flavor hacking makes use of all five senses to enhance a food’s sweetness or trick the mind into Flavor Hacking, Flavor Tripping & More “tasting” sweet when it isn’t present, or present in high quantities.

touch

smell

sound

sight

Neurogastronomy is essentially the study of tricking the brain, which we’ll call “flavor hacking.” We experience flavor with *Harvard all five senses, and flavor hacking is a way we can manipulate all of those senses into thinking something contains sugar, or more sugar, than it actually does. Not only can we trick the mind into experiencing sweet, we can also use science to trick taste buds. Another way we can manipulate our perception of sweet is through flavor tripping with the miracle berry. The miraculin protein within this berry temporarily alters the sweet receptors on our tongue to signal and suppress sour tastes, making foods like lemons or tomatoes taste sweet. Currently, scientists are working to genetically modify tomatoes and lettuce to naturally produce miraculin. Scientists are also studying the modification of neural pathways, which would allow our brains to perceive sugar even when it isn’t present.

IMPLICATIONS Each of the methods we’ve explored holds beneficial, societal impact. Flavor hacking and miraculin may help chemo patients with taste distortion, potentially improving their nutrition and quality of life. For diabetics, miraculin could help protect against insulin resistance. These methods can also help fight obesity by enhancing the sweetness of low-sugar foods while limiting calorie intake. Flavor hacking can even be applied to the food service and retail industries, enabling us to set a sweetness scene in restaurants and homes. Americans will likely continue to lower their sugar intake, but it takes time to change our taste preferences and behaviors. In the meantime, flavor hacking and flavor tripping could help us wean ourselves off of sweeteners without giving up sweet flavors. Therefore, the future of sweetener isn’t sweetener at all.

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taste


ASK How can the PGA Tour enhance the fan experience during tournaments in order to drive downloads of their mobile application? PROBLEM The PGA Tour is unable to collect the necessary data to track event attendees, and the app lacks the utility needed to drive interest/ engagement with younger audiences at events. OPPORTUNITY Capitalize on latent interest for golf among younger audiences by creating touchpoints within the community and at PGA Tour events that will grow fan interaction. INSIGHT Contrary to popular belief, golf is a team sport. The caddie and the golfer are a team, attacking the course together. STRATEGY Provide fans with a companion to inspire confidence and provide a personalized fan journey. My Caddie Lounge

COMPLETE CASE STUDY www.grimesjulian.com/pga-tour-fan-experience

PGA TOUR | ST: Julian Grimes / CBM: Ryan Conner / XD: Zak Vono and Tobi Oluwo / CW: Mitchell Moss / AD: Katie Paxton


ASK Utilize the concept of arranged marriages in India and make it approachable in the U.S. market. OPPORTUNITY 40% of Americans use dating apps, but what about older single parents who have difficulty finding love again? We know our family members better than they know themselves, and can give them the nudge they need into the dating world.

IDEA Enter Nudge, a dating app that allows one’s adult children to create a profile for those they love. Once a profile is created, it’s sent off to the profiled person who can review what their loved ones said and begin the matching process. Nudge will also be a content hub with information from relationship therapists and thought leaders in dating. This will help guide parents, and their children, on how to navigate this environment and communicate with each other as new relationships blossom.

NUDGE | ST: Kate Fallon, Anna French, Chorong Kim, and Kyle Stolcis

COMPLETE CASE STUDY | www.anna-french.com/nudge

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INSIGHTS 1. It’s scary to take a first step into dating when you’ve been out of the game for a while 2. For parents, it’s important to get buy-in on your partners from your children


#BLACKTWITTER

Black Twitter is black users on Twitter. It’s also known as the “place” black Americans go to discuss issues of concern to themselves and their community. The term has gained huge traction due to its role in starting social movements, creating trends, and always being relatable.

FLOW OF INFLUENCE

Many trends start on Twitter but eventually grow and adapt to other platforms. If you ask any Twitter fanatic, Facebook is where everything dies.

POPULARITY

Minorities do not feel as though major media outlets represent them well. Black, Asian-American and Feminist Twitter use the platform to fill in the blanks from major media. While they like the recognition, they are not a fan of major outlets taking from them. These Twitter communities believe they are often misquoted or taken out of context from outsiders.

GEOGRAPHIC REPRESENTATION

Black Twitter/African-American English has the greatest source of linguistic creativity. The map represents the areas of influence.* 75% of black Americans say news media accurately reported on their communities only “moderately” or “slightly/not at all.”

OTHER SUBCULTURES

Although the first to be called out, Black Twitter is not the only subculture to exist on Twitter. Asian-American & Feminist Twitter have grown in popularity over the years. Each responsible for their own movements and sharing the intersectionality of their community.

IN·TER·SEC·TION·AL·I·TY (noun)

The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

BOTTOM LINE

Currently, media companies only represent the majority. In order to capture the essences of a story, it’s best to see the narrative from all perspectives. Journalists are always searching for a compelling story, but since they are not in charge of the final narrative, things seem to get misconstrued. If we start to track the start and growth of trends, we could convince media gatekeepers of the value within these subcultures. Companies would then need to suspend the belief that only certain people can create, influence, or innovate culture. For communities that intersect, it is imperative that the majority within speak up for the underrepresented. Give credit where it’s due. Let the community tell its story. Source: Knight Foundation /*Quartz

BLACK TWITTER | ST: Imani Lee Sherrill


ASK Unravel the tension and fear around teen sexting. INSIGHT The stages of teen sexual exploration are well established but cell phones have complicated the matter.

OPPORTUNITY Sexting can be a safe and positive part of teen sexual exploration if boundaries are set. STRATEGY Use positive peer-to-peer social pressure to encourage teens to talk about sexting and healthy boundaries.

Digital tool to help start conversations about drawing safe boundaries around sexting.

COMPLETE CASE STUDY | www.hannahbarr.com/sexting

A THIN LINE | ST: Hannah Barr and Mary Gray Johnson / XD: Missy Thieman

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PROBLEM Teen sexting is everywhere, but we’re acting like it’s only the “bad kids” (when 27% of 12-17-year-olds admit to having received a sext). The damaging narrative makes teens ashamed to even admit that they’re sexting.


TALES FROM SIXTY

Kyle Stolcis YOU ARE NOT HERE BECAUSE YOU ARE GREAT

Before Brandcenter my occupations ranged from blue-collar industrial worker to software trainer and corporate office manager. For years, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and my resume showed it. When I came into this program, I felt like the one oddball who was here by mistake. Everyone around me seemed to have these perfect linear paths, some even coming straight from undergrad with multiple internships under their belt. My first team meeting I was terrified to speak up, afraid that if I did everyone would realize that I didn’t belong here. I had no idea what I was doing and felt like an imposter. I soon realized I wasn’t alone. In the beginning, none of us knew what we were doing. Some would fake it, but at the end of the day, we were all terrified of looking foolish in front of each other because we had already convinced ourselves that everyone else deserved to be here and we didn’t.

“THE STRUGGLE WITH IMPOSTER SYNDROME IS BOTH A NECESSITY OF SUCCESS AS WELL AS THE QUICKEST ROUTE TO FAILURE.”

My most memorable day at Brandcenter was when I realized I wasn’t in the wrong place. Imposter syndrome was my biggest weakness, but when I finally embraced my background, I found my strategic superpower: tapping into the thoughts and feelings of all the different types of people who were a part of my life in the years before I came here. The struggle with imposter syndrome is both a necessity of success as well as the quickest route to failure. It’s a rite of passage for all those who walk through these doors. As I look back on these two years, I now realize that the single unifying trait my classmates and I shared on our first day wasn’t talent but potential. No one is here because they are great. You are here because you have the potential to be great.


38 strategy


JOB PLACEMENT

Strategists typically go on to roles with the strategy or planning department of an advertising agency. However, more and more strategy graduates are finding their way to brand consultancies, PR agencies, and consumer research companies. In addition, many have made the move to the client side, working as an in-house brand strategist for companies like REI, Google, Facebook, and Target.

WHAT ALUMNI ARE SAYING

“You can’t teach how to do advertising — in the same way you can’t teach how to do art, or even business for that matter. What you can teach is how to think about advertising, how to question it, and how to distinguish between good and bad advertising. And the Brandcenter is amazing at it.” - Gautam Ramdurai (ST, 2011), Head of Platforms Marketing, Asia Pacific at Google

“Brandcenter prepared me for the industry by giving me a way to think about any problem that’s come my way. I’ve never been tasked with something at work and thought, ‘I can’t do that.’” -Nitin Dua (ST, 2016), Senior Strategist, Fallon

“I came to Brandcenter expecting to learn research skills and how to write a brief. I left Brandcenter having learned how to be creative, entrepreneurial, collaborative, and innovative. It opened my eyes to infinite possibilities.” - Caitlin Blumer (ST, 2017), Strategist, R/GA


ALUMNI SUCCESS

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MULLENLOWE NAMES NEW HEAD OF STRATEGY FOR LOS ANGELES AND WINSTON-SALEM MullenLowe has a new strategic leader for its Los Angeles and Winston-Salem, North Carolina offices. MOLLIE PARTESOTTI (ST, 2009) joined MullenLowe as senior vice president, head of strategy for the Los Angeles and Winston-Salem offices. Partesotti arrives from CP+B, where she has served as head of strategy in Los Angeles since being promoted to that role last November, following a year and a half as global group director of brand strategy for CP+B L.A., working with clients including Hulu, PayPal, Jose Cuervo, 1800 Tequila and NBA 2K. Prior to joining CP+B, she spent three years at TBWA\ Media Arts Lab as global group strategy director. “While we love Mollie’s credentials and experience, what excites us most about her is her incredible drive and ambition,” MullenLowe U.S. CEO Lee Newman said in a statement. “Mollie’s tireless pursuit of unconventional solutions make her a natural fit for MullenLowe, and her influence across both Los Angeles and Winston-Salem can already be felt.” by Erik Oster, Adweek


EXPERIENCE DESIGN

OXO SPROUT | XD: Megan Gaffney and Elise Sokolowski www.elisesokolowski.com/oxo

Experience designers work on creative teams to concept, design, prototype and build brand experiences that help people and that push the envelope of what is technologically possible.

CURRICULUM 2020 SEMESTER 01 The Business of Branding Creative Thinking Craft Physical Computing I SEMESTER 02 Strategy & Design Visual Storytelling User Participation Platforms SEMESTER 03 Brand Experiences Creating Gravitational Pull Physical Computing II Experimentation SEMESTER 04 Innovation Persuasion Advanced Portfolio

Physical Product Design


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IOT/Connected Systems Design

Mobile App Design

OXO SPROUT An in-home hydroponic herb system


GOOGLE LIGHT PHONE | XD: Nick Tobat / AD: Joe Jones / CW: Josh Perry DIGITAL PRODUCT DESIGN www.nicktobat.com/google A mobile device and software solution to connect refugees to vital services.

DESIGN FOR SMART MACHINES/ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE A car that tells pedestrians when it’s okay to walk in front of an autonomous vehicle.

WAYMO SMART CAR | XD: Brit Kern and Zak Vono / AD: Colin O’Shea / CW: Mitchell Moss www.britkern.com/waymo


THRIFA | XD: Megan Gaffney and Elise Sokolowski www.meghangaffney.com/thrifa

GAME DESIGN An accessible game and a designer resource to create accessible games.

JUST FISHING | XD: Ruthie Edwards www.ruthieswebsite.com/justfishing

MOBILE COMMERCE/CONTENT A mobile commerce platform to inspire real-time product discovery.

QVC NOW | XD: Joelle Halle www.joellehalle.com/qvc/

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SERVICE DESIGN A platform to help teach career and life skills to individuals with autism.


TALES FROM SIXTY

Ruthie Edwards MAKING GAMING ACCESSIBILITY POSSIBLE

I stumbled upon accessibility by accident, but now I notice it all the time. I see badly designed doors, confusing signs, and lazy website design that keep people with disabilities from accessing information and services. My Brandcenter peers know me as “the video game lady” because of my passion for games, and I started noticing inaccessibility there, too: awkward controls, unclear color palettes, and poor audio feedback that are all barriers to entry. In 2017, I made a simple video game about fishing. By making it playable with a single button, I accidentally made it accessible for people with motor disabilities. It got posted on a website for one-button games and gained a little bit of attention. I realized there is an audience for accessible games, but the video game industry isn’t doing its part to design with them in mind. So I asked myself, “how can I, an Experience Design student at the Brandcenter, make video games more accessible?” That’s when I started working on AccessibleGameDesign.com. For my second-year independent study, I got to apply my experience design know-how to games—my passon—and help designers make games better for everyone. I researched best practices for game UI, read up on accessibility standards, and interviewed lots of gamers with disabilities. The result was a set of accessibility guidelines I created for game designers, which are chock-full of nitty-gritty design details like health bars and menus that are more usable and more accessible. It calls on designers to break down barriers, adding things like subtitles and configurable controls allows more people to play their games.

“THE MOST EXCITING PART WAS SHARING MY WORK WITH A PACKED HOUSE AT MAGFEST”

The most exciting part was sharing my work with a packed house at MAGFest in D.C. in January. Along with my co-panelist Daniel Greenberg, a game design professor at GMU, we had an amazing discussion a bout how to make games more accessible and how to advocate for more accessibility with big game developers. The audience brought up so many interesting points, like how one gamer with rheumatoid arthritis couldn’t complete a game because it required repeated button presses, which caused her pain. When I started this project, I was afraid I wasn’t credible and that the accessibility community would see me as an intruder. But after all the time I spent talking with developers, advocates, and gamers with disabilities, I realized that the more voices shouting about accessible game design, the more likely our voices are heard. accessiblegamedesign.com


46 experience xxx design

Ruthie Edwards (photographed in the center) at MAGfest 2018.


JOB PLACEMENT

Experience Design graduates have gone on to work at top agencies, on the client side, and at successful start-ups. They have worked on award-winning work for global brands, and have been recognized as leaders in our industry. Our graduates operate under multiple titles in the industry (and this is a good thing). Titles include, experience designer, creative technologist, interaction designer, user experience designer, information architect, multi-media producer, among others.

WHAT ALUMNI ARE SAYING

“Coming from a small town in India, I was naturally a shy person. At the Brandcenter, I met people from all walks of life and they gradually helped me open up. The transformation was phenomenal. I felt like a super hero (Iron Man, to be specific) on graduation day. I’m now living the big, American dream, and the credit goes to my Brandcenter family.” - Raj Kuppusamy, (XD, 2012), Creative Technologist, Google Creative Lab

“Sheryl Sandberg once eloquently wrote that “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” I couldn’t agree more. Brandcenter taught me how to navigate our evolving industry and my own career jungle gym with confidence and dexterity. Brandcenter teaches in ways other schools don’t; it empowers students to think laterally versus linearly, and that’s a talent that every business today is clamoring for more of.” - Fitz Maro, (XD, 2013), Creative Technologist, Pinterest

“There was not one day where I wasn’t alternately elated, terrified, questioning, insecure or proud. A riot of emotions, the Brandcenter ripped me to the bare essence of myself and then built me back up as a better person, not just a better creative. By far, it was the most intense and greatest decision of my life.” - Christine Pizzo (XD, 2014), Global Head of Experience Design, Intrepid Pursuits


FAST COMPANY'S INNOVATION BY DESIGN AWARDS Tommy’s Loree project and Berfin’s Nastybot project won Fast Company's Innovation by Design Awards (Student Category).

ALUMNI SUCCESS

48 experience design

LOREE is a voice user interface (VUI) concept that celebrates culture by helping parents pass down their culture. www.seetommy.com/copy-of-loree-1

NASTYBOT is a Facebook chatbot that helps people navigate creepy and unsolicited messages. www. berfinayhan.com/nastybot

TOMMY CARROLL (XD, 2018) Associate Experience Designer at R/GA

BERFIN AYHAN (XD, 2018) UX Designer at WeWork


CREATIVE BRAND MANAGEMENT Creative brand managers love strategy that moves brands. They lead people with different skillsets to focus their efforts in ways that build brand equity and fulfill business objectives.

CURRICULUM 2020 SEMESTER 01 The Business of Branding Creative Thinking Strategic Thinking Research Methodologies SEMESTER 02 Brand Analytics Accounting for Communications Professionals Brand Design for Brand Managers Craft SEMESTER 03 Brand Experiences Persuasion Advanced Brand Management SEMESTER 04 Innovation Applied Brand Management Advanced Portfolio

COMPLETE CASE STUDY | www.robertclarkjr.com/hilton


PROBLEM The hotel bar feels like sterile consistency marred by uncomfortable encounters. INSIGHT The hotel bar can be an intimidating place for solo travelers, particularly women.

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ASK Create a new food and beverage experience that pulls travelers out of their hotel room and locals out of their everyday.

STRATEGY Inspire women to venture fearlessly. SOLUTION The Narrative - a hotel centered around the solo guest’s need to feel inspired, empowered, and at home through any of their ventures– from business to leisure, to group activities and ‘me time.’

HILTON | CBM: Robert Clark, Jr. / XD: Megan Reilly / AD: Chloe Friedman / CW: Josh Perry / ST: Caitlin Russell & Kate Fallon


ASK Develop a set of recommendations that take the Design is Power campaign to greater heights and increase the reach of Adobe Enterprises to creative leaders from ~3,000 to ~10,000 connections. SITUATION The biggest hurdle creative leaders face in the design process is within their own company. Executives in traditional businesses have trouble understanding the value of design.

OPPORTUNITY Position Adobe as a partner in the design process, rather than a tool someone uses to get the job done. SOLUTION Adobe Power Ranking (APR) : An index number that can help champion creatives by providing a quantifiable resource that communicates the impact of design in a language business executives will respect. HOW DOES IT DO IT? By using Adobe’s AI machine learning platform, Adobe Sensei, we can quantify the 8 main design principles. Quantified Design + Target Consumer Knowledge = Adobe Power Ranking (APR)

Then, by combining our quantified design principles with the raw consumer data from Adobe’s Analytics and Adobe Target platform, we can see which design principles matter more to specific target groups. Adobe Power Ranking produces an Index Number available as a window in any Creative Cloud Program ( Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, UX, InDesign, etc.) COMPLETE CASE STUDY | alexandermacmillanwhiteway.com/adobe ADOBE POWER | CBM: Alex Glaum, Viviana Molina Burbano, Jacob Steckmann, and Alexander Whiteway

ASK Develop a new brand identity and positioning for the Virginia War Memorial. PROBLEM In Richmond, the term “memorial” conjures images of the Confederacy. OPPORTUNITY While the term “memorial” limits the scope of public expectations, “museum” expands the site into a category that better conveys the Virginia War Memorial Foundation's educational work. INSIGHT No matter how divisive war and history are, mourning transcends that divisiveness. STRATEGY The Virginia War Memorial and Museum unifies us in remembrance. COMPLETE CASE STUDY | iamzachbrown.com/vawm VA WAR MEMORIAL & MUSEUM | CBM: Zach Brown / ST: Andrew Allen and Meredith Makhoul / AD: Chloe Friedman / CW: Mitchell Moss / XD: Zak Vono


ASK Design Bumble’s first ever brick and mortar retail experience.

STRATEGY Launch a retail space that brings Bumble’s mission to life in order to round out perception of the Bumble brand. SOLUTION Colony: a women-first place to meet and connect

Creating one space that encourages different kinds of relationship building will round out the perception of Bumble to show that the brand represents much more than online dating. Colony is a space to help women feel more comfortable making the first move in all aspects of their lives.

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SITUATION Bumble started as a dating app on a mission to challenge the traditional rules of dating by empowering women to make the first move. The brand has since evolved to be a place where people can meet, not just for dating. Their business model has expanded with Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz to encourage both platonic and professional connections.

CHALLENGE Although Bumble is a place to foster relationships of all kinds, it’s only seen as a dating app.

First Floor Similar to Bumble BFF, the space is intended to encourage casual and friendly interactions with it’s communal tables, open floor layout, and sunken lounge.

Second Floor A members-only, female co-working space. Similar to Bumble Bizz, this floor is about professional networking. Membership includes all day access, free entry to speakers and events, free classes like yoga or self-defense, and discounts to local businesses.

Third Floor A rooftop that’s open to the public. The purpose of this space is to bring to life the fun and excitement of the original Bumble app.

BUMBLE | CBM: Miguel Atkins, Caroline Bivens, Taylor Click, Luke Colombo, and Ashley Devereux

COMPLETE CASE STUDY | www.migueldatkins.com/bumble


TALES FROM SIXTY

Gabi Levi JEDI LEARNING: MY TRANSFORMATION

As the year comes to a close, ‘tis the season of reflection. Having a couple weeks off gives us the space and time to remember the work we’re proudest of, the teamwork we’re proudest of, and all the ridiculous sh*t that’s happened in between. But the view from second year looks entirely different than first. This time last year, I had only a semester of Brandcenter under my belt. I had gone through the gauntlet that is Business of Branding, downloaded 700 fonts, and spent too many nights horribly singing karaoke with my newfound friends. All I had to show for it were a host of brand strategy lines I hated and some pitch decks that felt off but I had no idea how to fix. I remember telling my family that I feared I would never grow into the person I dreamed of when I started school.

“THIS PAST YEAR WILL ALWAYS BE THE ONE THAT SET MY CAREER IN MOTION.”

Fast-forward to today, I’m a different kind of afraid. I’m not fearful that I can’t do it; this place has given me every skill I need to succeed and then some. I’m worried that nowhere will challenge me to grow at the same pace.

Because in 45 weeks, I’ve gone from work I’d never show anyone, to winning pitches judged by creative directors at Adobe; from unsure what anyone would hire me for, to having to turn down freelance projects; and from dreaming of a life in brand strategy, to making it a reality. Someone wise told me that Brandcenter is like “Jedi learning.” You don’t realize how much you’ve garnered in the present – it’s only in hindsight that you see how far you’ve come. They were right. This past year will always be the one that set my career in motion. Thank you to all the people who have made it possible.


54 creative brand management


JOB PLACEMENT

Creative Brand Management is “versatile” in terms of career options. Our CBM graduates go on to roles as strategists and account managers on the agency side, brand/marketing managers on the client side, and brand strategists for brand/innovation consultancies and entrepreneurs.

WHAT ALUMNI ARE SAYING

“Brandcenter is a unique place that not only gives you the tools to work in advertising and marketing, but more importantly, it inspires you to create the best work you are capable of making. It gives you opportunity after opportunity to prove to yourself that the work you make is worthwhile. It is a proving ground where you can sharpen not only your technical skills but also the intangible skills that really separate you from the pack. Brandcenter completely changed both my career path and the way I think. I know I would not be where I am today without the wonderful teachers, talented classmates and challenging work I experienced in Richmond.” - Nick Koutris (CBM, 2018) Associate Brand Marketing Strategist, NBA

“Two years at the Brandcenter is the educational, technical, and professional equivalent of strapping yourself directly to a rocket that has a single mission to go as fast and as high as possible with absolutely no intention of returning to its place of origin. The Creative Brand Management track completely changed the trajectory of my career by preparing me to approach business completely differently than the status quo.” - Jordan Childs (CBM, 2009), Owner of Shine Craft Vessel Co. (entrepreneur)

“Brandcenter is a weird, supportive, hard, amazing place full of weird, supportive, amazing people. I learned how to wear many hats, which has been extremely useful in my job because every day comes with a different ask from our clients that I meet with my team on — everything from strategy to creative to production — and then I translate that back to our clients.” - Hannah Levy Luse (CBM, 2018), Account Executive, The Martin Agency


ALUMNI SUCCESS

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BRANDCENTER ALUM YICHI ZHANG NAMED TO FORBES CHINA 30 UNDER 30 Brandcenter alum Yichi Zhang (CBM, 2015) was

named to Forbes China 30 Under 30 in 2018. Having

co-founded an LA-based advertising agency while at

the Brandcenter, Yichi's latest venture in China is a creative consultancy based in Beijing called Flip the

Script. The company focuses on personal branding for all types of clients, from executives to hip-hop music producers. “The essence of our business focuses on two things: insight and story,” Zhang said. “Everyone has a story; but not everyone is able to tell their most compelling story from an insightful angle.”


BC COLLECTIVE


Our weekly gatherings, built out of heart and truth, are dedicated to serve and empower the community. At the root of it all, is the imperative need for a safe place and belonging. Building that required dedication, support, and struggle, and that’s why we’re here. We became the light that we’ve all wondered would ever come. From not only knowing what’s right but holding ourselves accountable to perform in a way that would stay true to what inspired the start of it all. We, the leaders, started building the legacy through knowledge and action, but the truth is, we did it FOR THE CULTURE. We are not the legacy, we are the leaders.

FOUNDING MEMBERS Miguel Atkins (CBM, 2019) Mykala Daniel (ST, 2019) Belem Medina (XD, 2019) Imani Lee Sherrill (ST, 2019) Beka Tesfaye (CBM, 2019)

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BC Collective is a community at the Brandcenter that engages in cultural conversations relevant to modern day advertising. Our goal is to not only create a safe place for us as students to talk about cultural trends and its ripple effects on the world but to also give credit and respect where it’s due. Our hope is that this legacy continues for future Brandcenter students to carry on and, more importantly, reflect respect back to every human and every culture alike—constantly challenging and refining our craft in favor of progress.


INTERNSHIP PLACEMENTS

63 COMPANIES IN 18 CITIES TOOK IN 81 OF OUR STUDENTS FOR 3 MONTHS Most Brandcenter students intern at companies all over the country during the summer between their first and second year. While it’s not a curriculum requirement, summer internships give our students the opportunity to apply the skills they’ve learned at the Brandcenter in the “real world.”

CHICAGO FCB Purple Strategies

We create an internship site for our students each year with a curated list of opportunities. Students can search the site by discipline, city or keyword to identify the best opportunities for them. We also host internship workshops to help our students prepare for the internship search and interview process. All Brandcenter internship opportunities are paid, generally around $15/hr. After completing their internship, students return to school in the fall and begin their second year with renewed confidence in their abilities. Most students say Brandcenter professors are tougher than any CD or planning director they encountered in the real world.

BETHESDA Marriott International

MINNEAPOLIS Fallon

BOULDER CP+B TDA

SAN FRANCISCO 215McCann barretSF Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners Chapter Goodby Silverstein & Partners Heat VBP Orange AUSTIN GSD&M Preacher

MIAMI The Community

LOS ANGELES CP+B Enso Haymaker Omelet Sid Lee Team One The Wonderful Agency Zambezi


WASHINGTON, D.C. AKQA Ogilvy

NEW YORK CITY B-Reel Barton F. Graf Berlin Cameron Brand Bureau Bullish Droga5 Figliulo & Partners Hudson Rouge Huge IBM mcgarrybowen Mother Oath Pereira & O'Dell Rokkan Saatchi & Saatchi SS+K Sterling Brands TBWA\Chiat\Day Translation Vivaldi

ALEXANDRIA RedPeg Marketing CINCINNATI VML

WINSTON-SALEM MullenLowe DURHAM McKinney

ATLANTA Coca-Cola Moxie

GREENVILLE EP+Co

BOSTON Hill Holliday MullenLowe

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RICHMOND Blue Triangle Barber Martin Genworth Shockoe The Mom Complex The Martin Agency Trig Innovations


STUDENT EXPERIENCE

Cannes MY TIME IN WHAT WERE YOU MOST INSPIRED BY DURING YOUR TIME IN CANNES? GLORYAH: Cannes is known to be a very White event, so I assumed I really wouldn't see that many Black people there. I was inspired by how many powerful people of color I was able to meet. Each one of them were bosses in their own right. Spotify Beach had a “Cannes in Color” event where I met Black men and women who were winning awards that week; global c-suites, movement starters, and they all felt like family. One lady I met even grew up in the same neighborhood as my dad. I'm so lucky and humbled to have a community of Black and Brown people I can call on for support, and I can't wait to be at that caliber of success and to give back in the same way in the near future.  ZAK: I was inspired that there were dozens of very successful folks — at this massive city-wide party celebrating

their work, no less — who were willing to eschew all those yachts and glasses of rosé just to come and tutor us upstarts. Awards culture can seem really narcissistic, so it was amazing that they cared so much about preparing us to kick ass from day one in the industry. WHAT DID YOU LEARN IN CANNES THAT YOU’VE BEEN ABLE TO APPLY DURING YOUR SECOND YEAR AT THE BRANDCENTER? GLORYAH: During the Academy, Gary Vaynerchuck (of VaynerMedia) spoke to us, and his energy level was electrifying. He told us that the demise of creative work is an unwillingness to change. There's an opportunity to reach the widest demographic ever, but people are lazy and don't want to create the content required. In my second year at Brandcenter, I'm putting those who aren't primarily addressed first, and I'm taking an initiative to work with


62 student experience

Pictured from left to right: Josh Browne, Gloryah Allen, and Zak Vono

GLORYAH ALLEN (XD, 2019) AND ZAK VONO (XD, 2019)

people who are against the norm. We're going to make some awesome stuff. Stay tuned. ZAK: I learned some practical tools, questions, and metrics that I could use to make sure I’m chasing the right idea. In my first year, I didn’t always pitch the most feasible solutions. After Cannes, I had a much better grasp on how to make sure the most workable, high-impact work got produced. WHAT WAS YOUR BEST MEMORY OF YOUR TIME IN CANNES? GLORYAH: Storytime! At the Cannes Opening Ceremony on the beach, a few of us initiated an international dance party. There was an empty section of the beach that people were using to cross from one crowded area to the next. A new friend of mine and I were strolling past when a catchy song came on. We stopped. We felt the need to boogie. And

what better choreography unifies us Black people together? The Electric Slide. Yes, we started the Electric Slide in the middle of a Cannes beach party. And people from across the globe stopped and stared in awe. We gestured for them to join in. We showed them the ropes quickly. Europeans had never seen such a dance. Africans added their own flare. Asians were shook. Latinxs followed suit. We brought 300+ strangers together from all over the world, and I will never forget that art, music, and an 18-step count are the strongest forces known to man. ZAK: Alright, this is going to sound hypocritical after all that talk of the importance of education over partying... but when the global CEO of FCB saw “Brandcenter” on my pass and invited me to his yacht party... well, that was a pretty surreal moment.


FRIDAY FORUM

WEEKLY INSPIRATION FROM CREATIVE MINDS

Our Friday Forum speaker series is a weekly discussion with some of the industry's best professionals and an invaluable opportunity for our students. We invite speakers, with different points of view, who illustrate where the students’ thinking and careers might take them. Our guests spend the rest of their visit meeting with students, answering questions, and/or critiquing work. MOVING INNOVATION FROM BUZZWORD TO ACTION WITH ZEUS JONES Elsa Perushek, Peter Petrulo & Jason Zabel Strategist, Designer & Partner, and Creative | Zeus Jones

WHY AN INVESTOR MINDSET MATTERS FOR BRAND TRANSFORMATION Val Middleton Partner | West

THE BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP Luke Rabin Cofounder and Product Lead | BLDR

CLASS OF 2018 ALUMNI PANEL IMPOSTER SYNDROME Coryn Bajema (XD) Fiver Designer | Google Evan Chiplock (CW) Copywriter | The Community Whitney Downing (AD) Art Director | Wieden+Kennedy Portland Hannah Levy (CBM) Account Executive | The Martin Agency Martin Madriaga (ST) Business Manager | Arts & Letters Christa Prater (CW) Copywriter | Wieden+Kennedy Portland Blake Smoral (ST) Associate Strategist | The Martin Agency

DON’T MAKE ADS - MAKE WHAT YOU LOVE A STORY WORTH SHARING Brian Bennett Vice President Executive Creative Director | Carhartt

topics and recent speakers

RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY AND THE REWARD OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE Karen Costello Chief Creative Officer | The Martin Agency THE PERKS OF NOT HAVING PERKS Lucas Casão & Guilherme Rácz Creative Directors | Arnold Worldwide ERIC KALLMAN PRESENTS EVERYTHING SMART I CAN THINK TO TELL YOU Eric Kallman Co-Founder, Creative Director | Erich & Kallman CONFIDENCE, COMMON SENSE AND YOUR CREATIVE SPIRIT Courtney Ferrell Creative Thinking Partner, Speaker, Writer DON’T BE RACIST: HOW TO SAVE FACE, EMBRACE DIVERSITY AND EXPAND YOUR BRANDS Matthew Freeman Founder | Dialectix Consulting FROM MADISON AVENUE TO HOLLYWOOD Howard Jordan, Jr. (CW, 1999) TV Writer, Creative Director, Strategist | Netflix DANCING WITH ROBOTS Jason Musante & Tim Flood Chief Creative Officer & Executive Creative Director | Huge

MUSEUM AS EVENT Dominic Willsdon Executive Director | Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU WE LIKE YOU Rafi Kugler Director of Recruiting | barrettSF Lionel Carreon Global Director, Creative Recruiting | R/GA CREATING STORIES WITH PRODUCTION IN MIND (AVOIDING MONEY BOMBS) Tom Mooney President | ADDigital Productions WHAT WILL YOUR IDEA BECOME? DESIGNING REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCES FOR GOOGLE.COM Tom Manion & Jack Colley Creatives | Google Experiences TRUTH NUGGETS Nikki Baker & Leslie Shaffer Executive Creative Directors | Fallon NY


250 RECRUITERS 100 SOON-TO-BE GRADUATES 1 REVERSE CAREER FAIR

RECRUITER SESSION

64 student experience

2019 attendees 215 McCann 22squared 72andSunny AKQA Anomaly Aquent ARGONAUT Arnold Worldwide Arts & Letters Creative Co. Authenic Barber Martin Agency barrettSF BBDO New York BBDO San Francisco BBH New York Big Spaceship BrabenderCox BrightHouse Broadtime.com C Space CALLEN Campbell Ewald Capital One CapTech - Customer Experience

CarMax Cheil Worldwide CoStar Group Cramer-Krasselt Curiosity David & Goliath Deutsch Digitas Discover Doner Droga5 EP+Co Fallon New York Fallon Minneapolis FBI TALENT CO Giant Spoon Golin Good Run Research & Recreation Goodby Silverstein & Partners Google Brand Studio Greenberg Kirshenbaum Grow GSD&M GTB

Hard Yards Havas New York Havas Worldwide Havit HEAT Hill Holliday Huge ICF Next iCrossing INNOCEAN USA Jack Morton Worldwide Johannes Leonardo Kay & Black Leo Burnett Chicago McCann New York McKinney Media Arts Lab M/H VCCP Mighty Recruiting Mistress MONO Mother MullenLowe Nickelodeon Velocity

NorthStar Solutions Observatory On Board Experiential Marketing Pereira & O'Dell Periscope Phenomenon Pitch Preacher Publicis New York Purple Strategies R/GA New York RedPeg Marketing Redscout Red Tettemer O'Connel + Partners REI Saatchi & Saatchi NY Saatchi & Saatchi LA Sasha the Mensch Shauna M. Baird SHOCKOE Sockeye Solomon Page Superset Sylvain Labs

T-Mobile TBWA\Chiat\Day NY Team One TECHEAD The Community The Many The Martin Agency The Richards Group The Walt Disney Company United Collective United Solutions VICE/VIRTUE Virtue Worldwide VMLY&R Walt Disney Imagineering WE Communications Weber Shandwick WHITE64 Wieden+Kennedy NY Wieden+Kennedy Portland Wonderful Agency Wongdoody Zambezi LLC Zeus Jones


experience designers

art directors copywriters

Kobby Amoako-Atta | www.kobbywriter.co Kelley Bode | www.kelleybode.com Josh Browne | www.joshuabrowne.com Danielle Ciccolo | www.danielleciccolo.com Ross Harris | www.rosscharris.com Lars Johnson | www.larsballardjohnson.com Sean Johnson | www.seanj.com Lauren Jones | www.lojowrites.com Ainsworth A. Kerr III | www.ainsworthakerr.com Donald Kim | www.donaldkim.work Patrick Lapera | www.patricklapera.com Mitchell Moss | www.mitchelldmoss.com Dixon Muller | www.dixonmuller.com Josh Perry | www.pineappleperry.com Nicholas Waddell | www.nickwadd.com

CLASS OF 2019

creative brand managers

strategists

Paul Atienza | www.paulalexatienza.com Miguel Atkins | www.migueldatkins.com Caroline Bivens | www.carolinebivens.com Zach Brown | www.iamzachbrown.com Alyn Carr | www.thealyncarr.me Robert Clark Jr. | www.robertclarkjr.com Taylor Click | www.taylorclick.com Luke Colombo | www.lukecolombo.com Ryan Conner | www.ryanlconner.com Ashley Devereux | www.ashleydevereux.com Alex Glaum | www.alexglaum.com Mark Gozzo | www.markgozzo.com Lou Guy | www.louandguy.com Caroline Jordan | www.carolinekjordan.com Gabi Levi | www.gabilevi.com Viviana Molina Burbano | www.vivianamb.com Jacob Steckmann | www.jacobsteckmann.com Rachel Street | www.rachelegstreet.com Beka Tesfaye | www.bekanotbecca.com Alexander Whiteway | www.alexandermacmillanwhiteway.com Sarabeth Yglesias | www.yglesiaswithay.com Sally Zhang | www.iamsallyzhang.com

Gloryah Allen | www.gloryahallen.com Ruthie Edwards | www.ruthieswebsite.com Meghan Gaffney | www.meghangaffney.com Sailee Gupte | www.saileegupte.xyz Joelle Halle | www.joellehalle.com Chad Hilton | www.chadhiltondesign.com Brit Kern | www.britkern.com Linda Kirova | www.lindakirova.com Jackie Koon | www.jackie-koon.com Katrine Limseth | www.katrinelimseth.com Belem Medina | www.belemmedina.com Tobi Oluwo | www.tobi.design Megan Reilly | www.meganreilly.me Paige Rollins | www.paigerollins.com Elise Sokolowski | www.elisesokolowski.com Missy Thieman | www.missythieman.com Nick Tobat | www.nicktobat.com Zak Vono | www.zakvono.com Matt Yakob | www.mattyakob.com Ray Zhang | www.rayray.work Rachel Zhou | www.rachelzhou.work

66 student websites

Lauren Acampora | www.laurenacampora.fun Robert Arthur | www.robarthurad.com Kristen deBarros | www.kristendebarros.com Bianca Diclaro | www.biancadiclaro.com Kymberli Fraser | www.kymberlifraser.work Chloe Friedman | www.chloefriedman.vip Benjamin Gross | www.grossad.work Joe Jones | www.joejones.work Emily Mayberry | www.emilybmayberry.com Molly McCarvill | www.mollymccarvill.com Alec Milton | www.alecjmilton.com Colin O'Shea | www.cosheadesign.com Arthur Olivarez Jr. | www.arthurolivarez.com Katie Paxton | www.katiepaxton.com Ariana Safari | www.arianasafari.com Amrit Sahni | www.amritsahni.com Charlotte Simons | www.charlottehsimons.com Dakota Ward | www.dakotaward.com

Ari Abad | www.ariabad.com Andrew Allen | www.andrewallen.space Evanne Allen | www.evanneallen.com Hannah Barr | www.hannahbarr.com Joe Castagna | www.joecastagna.me Mykala Daniel | www.mykaladaniel.com Margaret Dick | www.margaretdick.com Kate Fallon | www.kate-fallon.com Catie Frech | www.frechyeah.com Anna French | www.anna-french.com Nanda Golden | www.nandagolden.com Julian Grimes | www.grimesjulian.com Mary Gray Johnson | www.marygrayjohnson.com Anna Kim | www.annasejinkim.com Chorong Kim | www.chorong.work Curtis Kingrea | www.curtiskingrea.com Kaitie Kovach | www.kaitiekovach.com Meredith Makhoul | www.meredithmakhoul.me Sarah Matheson Harris | www.sarahmathesonharris.com Hadley Mathews | www.hadleybmathews.com Caroline Moyer-Kardos | www.carolinemk.com Caitlin Russell | www.hellocait.com Imani Lee Sherrill | www.imani-lee.com Kyle Stolcis | www.kylestolcis.com


68 graduation

DON’T JUST DO WHAT YOU LOVE, FIX WHAT YOU HATE.

JOYCE KING THOMAS Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, McCann XBC 2019 Brandcenter Commencement Speaker


COLLABORATE FEARLESSLY

JOYCE KING THOMAS Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, McCann XBC


I have not had many great ideas in the shower. Maybe a few notions have hit me at the gym while I was flailing on a boring elliptical machine.

The gems have bubbled up in rooms with one, two or three people I trust, building on their thoughts, or using them as jumping off points for new ones. And my collaborators were not always people from a department with the word “creative” in its title. The most important quality of a good collaborator is that you respect them. And this has nothing to do with experience level or department. It’s a trick, working with other people to create ideas. You have to turn down the volume on your own ego and dial up being open, objective and even generous. Here are a few ways to do that:

TALK ABOUT YOUR EMBRYONIC IDEA TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN. There are people who hold their ideas close, guarding them from thieves and naysayers. I don’t recommend it. Once you have an idea you love, don’t shut up about it. Listen to and, more importantly, watch how people react to your idea. Use their reactions to fine tune your thinking, and express your notion more powerfully. Ideas aren’t usually born beautiful. They take nurturing. They have to evolve themselves into existence. To help them along, you’ve got to invite the right people in. And keep the wrong people from steering your thought into a ditch.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO BUILD ON SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEA.

BE CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO JOIN A TEAM AT ANY STAGE.

Back when we were pitching the Mastercard business, another creative director called me into his office to show me a line he had.

When McCann asked me to join the Fearless Girl team, a young art director and writer already had the concept. My role was to help sell the idea to the client, ensure we got the details right, and shepherd her through the challenges (and, oh boy, there were lots of those). One of the best moments of my career was huddled in the rain at 5 AM on the morning of International Women’s Day 2017, watching Fearless Girl assume her place in front of the Wall Street bull. Nope, I did not have the original idea. But I made some key contributions. And a bonus: the two women who came up with the idea will forever be my friends.

There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else there’s Mastercard. I instantly loved it. He had a couple of executional ideas, but nothing as insightful as that lovely sentence. “What would you do?” he asked. My art director partner was not keen on working on someone else’s idea, but he was a sport. And on a Sunday morning, the two of us came up with an idea called priceless, a sort of “grocery list” of things you could buy that led to something you couldn’t buy, something priceless. We had made a good idea into a better one.

It’s freeing when you stop demanding that ideas have to spring from your mind whole. You can be more adventurous in your thinking. You can listen to, and really hear, other people’s ideas. You can let your work evolve and stop worrying about credit. And you can focus on what’s important: putting inspiring things out into the world.

70 joyce king thomas

But that’s definitely not where the ideas that most impacted my career happened.

Over the next fifteen years, I watched some of the best young people in the business build on that idea themselves. People like Leslie Sims, CCO of Ogilvy U.S., and VCU’s own Vann Graves. They gave the work their own unique spin and perspective.


HOW TO APPLY

STEP 1: GO ONLINE AND REQUEST THE VCU BRANDCENTER APPLICATION www.brandcenter.vcu.edu/admissions Note: specific instructions for steps 2 and 3 will be detailed in the VCU Brandcenter application STEP 2: COMPLETE THE VCU GRADUATE SCHOOL APPLICATION ONLINE www.vcu.edu/admissions/apply/graduate/ STEP 3: SUBMIT THE VCU BRANDCENTER APPLICATION ASSIGNMENTS

VISIT WWW.BRANDCENTER.VCU.EDU/ADMISSIONS FOR MORE DETAILS ON THE ADMISSION PROCESS, DEADLINES, AND REQUIREMENTS.

CONTACT US 804.828.8384 brandcenter@vcu.edu 103 S. Jefferson Street Richmond, VA 23284 FOLLOW US facebook.com/VCUBrandcenter instagram.com/vcu_brandcenter twitter.com/VCU_Brandcenter linkedin.com/school/vcu-brandcenter

DESIGNER | Diana Ojibway (AD, 2002) EDITOR | Ashley Sommardahl (ST, 1998) COPY EDITORS | Katherine Keogh, Isabelle Mouton, and Shannon Wilke

CJ Graves


72 how to apply


VCU BRANDCENTER

103 South Jefferson Street Richmond, VA 23284

Nonprofit Organization US Postage PAID Richmond, VA Permit No. 869

Profile for VCU Brandcenter

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