Friday, September 5, 2014

Why Advertising Week in New York City Matters

I originally posted this shortly after last years trip (November 24, 2010) as "The Future of Advertising Looks Bright. Young AdLanders Share What Advertising Week 2010 Meant To Them". As I prepare the planning for this years trip October 3rd-7th I thought it would be great to revisit.

Advertising Week New York 2010.
They say it's better late then never. This post which is a little late in terms of time, but it still offers insights and thoughts that are worthy of sharing.

I invite and travel with 50 students from the Creative Advertising Program at Seneca College to Advertising Week in New York City. This has become the "cornerstone" event of our academic year. They pack their bags, board a luxury coach and get ready for New York and Advertising Week. The anticipation sets in weeks in advance, but it's the final 10 hours of travel time before they will be in New York and what sets the stage for their future career plans and learning from industry leaders and visionaries.

Each year I arrange for private agency visits for my students during Advertising Week to get an opportunity to hear from various creative talents, strategic planners, account management and to take agency tours. This year, we visited: Saatchi & Saatchi hosted by Creative Director Tim Leake, Droga5 with a dynamic discussion lead by David Droga and Julia Albu, Strawberry Frog and Scott Goodson, RGA, Big Spaceship, BBDO, BBDO Atmosphere, TAXI NYC and Virtue/Vice. 

 Each year I also host a "Key Note" speaker for all students hear from and to have an open Q & A session. Last year I arranged for advertising legend George Lois (see a short video of his thoughts). This year CP+B arranged and hosted our lecture at the One Club with recently named CEO and creative genius Andrew Keller. A full speed 90 minutes of honesty, laughs, thinking and inspiration.

So what were the students most excited about? Agency tours. AdWeek Conferences. Meeting new people. It all comes down to and most importantly one thing, it was about learning, learning something new. Getting an experience that will motivate the students to want to their place in the advertising industry.

So what did my students take with them from Advertising Week? Here is what some of the students that attended Advertising Week had to say:  

“New York Advertising week was a great experience for me. The experience was only as great as it was because of the students and the real drive and willingness to learn. The experiences outside of the direct learning from speakers and agency visits allowed me to learn more of who I am and who the people we were around the whole week are. The agency visits to Droga5, and Virtue/Vice really allowed me to see how the style of some agencies are in comparison to the idea of an agency I had before. The speakers also really made an impact on the message I heard and felt.” 

- Wilson Lin, Entrepreneur and Aspiring Account Executive 
"Advertising Week in itself was an experience, from hearing Russel Simmons speak at a panel to visiting Droga5, Advertising Week 2010 left me with a new perspective on advertising. It helped me to realize that everything I do is in my own hands. In an industry that impacts so many people on so many levels, it's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that everything is in YOUR hands". 

- Sabrina Tricarico, Aspiring Art Director 
I was able to visit Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO. From both agencies I got to hear it straight from the current professionals about creativity, the creative process, and insights regarding the the structure of creative teams and how they're changing. Personally, that gave me a good insight as to what to expect in terms of the direction the ad world is moving and I also got to hear what they expect from us as aspiring creatives. Big Spaceship was a whole other can of worms. Not only did they structure their agency with absence on conventional job titles, this was my first (and only) view of an ad agency outside of Canada that is solely based on the rapidly growing, interactive side of the industry. Not only did i get a good sit down to hear what is creativity to them, but also get a good (for a lack of better term) lecture on how interactive is different from what we know orthodox advertising to be".   

"Overall, not only did I get reassurance, but also I feel that the profs we know have been pointing us in a certain direction, and these agency tours, in a way, cleaned up the path a little more.” 

- Nas Mohamed, Aspiring Art Director 
"Ad Week in New York this year was by far and away the most thought provoking, inspiring and engaging period in my life to date.  The knowledge I gained from hearing great minds like; Dave Droga, Scott Goodson and Andrew Keller was something that has had a profound change on my new career.
 Listening to where the future of advertising is going from people who play an integral role in changing it was awe inspiring.  They spoke of a future that will highlight the need to constantly keep the consumer engaged at whatever the cost.  We are already seeing the power of social media being integrated with brands and that concept, in some cases, has yielded amazing returns.  Some of the more recent examples are the Old Spice Facebook campaign, the Subservient Chicken and even movies like Catfish, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. Creating movements married to brands is something that will not only keep consumers loyal but will allow them to regard brands in ways never before seen in the company/consumer relationship". 

 "Throughout Ad Week I learned a great deal from many people but one experience stood out for me in particular.  Meeting and listening to Andrew Keller, now CEO of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky was something that will resonate with me for the rest of my career.  He talked to our class about how to get into the industry (and how he got in), the values of maintaining a personal/family life (which we’re sometimes told is very hard to do) and talked in depth to us about some of the different campaigns he’s worked on.  What surprised me the most from the talk we had with him was that he’s just a really nice, down to earth and humble individual.  For someone in his position he has no ego and to be honest, you don’t expect that from the CEO of one of, if not the best ad agencies in the world. In a nutshell, Andrew Keller is the type of guy you dream of growing up to be". 

- Adam Bercovici, Aspiring Account Planner/Strategist 
"Given the opportunity to attend New York Advertising Week was a remarkable experience, both academically and socially. The events I participated in included meeting some of the most influential industry leaders and  getting the chance to attend and tour some of the most creative agencies in the world. This was definitely an experience I will never forget.

Being a student of advertising and getting the opportunity to visit a city with some of the most engaging and astonishing ads was an opportunity I am absolutely grateful for.  It definitely put a lot into perspective in terms of the endless opportunities within the advertising industry and where I see myself within the industry. New York was unquestionably one of the most engaging cities and I would definitely recommend the trip to all students who get the opportunity to go". 

- Lillian Hammah, Aspiring Strategist 
"I visited Saatchi & Saatchi, Big Spaceship and Strawberry Frog. Each agency taught me something different. Saatchi gave me a classic, corporate feel. Big Spaceship open concept and small interactive agency = agency of future. Strawberry Frog somewhere in between and gave me the idea of creating a cultural movement. The trip was a good motivation for me to do well in school and get my portfolio ready to get a job. I got a lot out of it information wise. There is no reason not to go. on". 

- Jeremy Gross, Aspiring Copywriter 
“The thing that everybody got out of it was that they realized that advertising is now a fully integrated team. Technology has to be emphasized. At the core, the consumer is top-of-mind. Doesn’t matter how advanced technology is, we still have to understand all their hopes and fears. Talk the talk and walk the walk. The most fun was visiting great agencies like, Droga5, Strawberry Frog and BBDO Atmosphere and being treated like equals, not like students. We were able to bond with our fellow students and got to learn some cool things about each other. Loved the insightful presentations and I recommend anybody who is serious about advertising to go next. Make a piggy bank and save your pennies now for next year’s Advertising Week"

 - David Taller, Aspiring Art Director 
"Advertising Week was great. I was able to tour several incredible agencies like Vice and Big Spaceship, where they taught us the differences between traditional and non-traditional media. I had a  great time listening to Nick Law’s presentation from RGA. The speakers were wonderful and on top of that, I picked up a  few presentation tips regarding how to connect with the audience as you speak". 

- Kristina Tran, Aspiring Strategist 

"The overall experience was an eye opener because you learned about  advertising in a popular place like New York. Everything is more  concentrated in terms of what we know from Toronto to New York. The Accounts were larger scales and almost everyone you saw or heard of  were icons in Advertising which was amazing, like David Droga, Andrew  Keller and Bob Greenberg. I was able to visit Droga5 and Vice which were really cool".

"A lot of us students bonded and were given a great  opportunity to become closer friends. We saw a variety of great speakers who weren’t known as “advertising people,” people like Marc  Echo and Russell Simmons, their point-of-views and opinions and how  they forecasted the future was very interesting because you’re gaining  perspectives from entrepreneurs and how they branded themselves, which is something us students are focusing on every day". 

- Vishal Raj, Aspiring Strategic Planner 
"I had the pleasure of visiting Virtue/Vice and BBDO Atmosphere. From all 3  agencies, I felt it gave me personal assurance that this career path  is what I want to do. It was also amazing to talk to creative  directors, account executives and also what I thought was awesome was  that at BBDO, they actually had 3 students who are currently interning there tell us about their experience and how it is working for BBDO. My overall experience at Advertising Week was amazing, it gave me self confidence and reassurance on the path I am going. It was also great too hear from the sources themselves on what they are looking for in an intern and what it takes to stand out from others". 

- Gunika Ahluwalia, Aspires to be in Account Services 

"The first agency I had the chance to visit for Advertising Week was Droga5. I really felt that they are balancing the traditional style of  agency with the new open concept style very well. The space itself  manages to be extremely inclusive to all departments however manages to keep them separate and specific. One of the first things I noticed at Droga5 was that every person in the shop had a huge smile on their face and seemed to be genuinely happy. This is very important for an agency, especially a creative one, as unhappy employees are not often the most creative!"

"Another agency that us students had the chance to visit was Strawberry  Frog. This is one of the coolest agencies I have ever seen. The way in which they operate and the philosophies they follow for their creative are just amazing. Strawberry Frog is all about creative social and cultural movements. This mode of thinking is incredible because it truly forces the creative to connect to the masses by interacting with the individual"

"Finally, I had the chance to check out Big Spaceship. This agency quickly became the #1 place in New York that I would like to be interning at. They work in a total open concept space and include all facets of their teams in the creative process from the intern to the CEO. They were different than most agencies, with different titles and job descriptions. Big Spaceship really pushed the idea that you don't have to follow convention to be successful in advertising; in fact, they demonstrated the contrary". 

- Michael Potash, Aspiring Copywriter
Each year I review and ask myself, "how can I top this next year". I am certain that the next group of students will make Advertising Week a wonderful experience of their own. 

Once gain the students have taken various lessons, opportunities and plan to apply them to their daily lives and career planning.

I remind my students everyday of a personal mantra, a very simple ten words, two letters each statement, “IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME”.  A simple mantra that students need to remind themselves each day. Find inspiration and believe in yourself. You set your path.

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