2018 Brandcenter Recruiting Session

Richmond, VA

I started Eunoia when I became ECD at Young & Laramore to become a student of advertising again. It was a way for me to catalogue and share work, conversations and experiences I picked up along the way. One of my favorite annual pilgrimages is recruiting session at Brandcenter to talk with students who are the future of advertising.

Students design their individual spaces to exhibit their portfolio and demonstrate their interests outside of advertising

Recruiting session at Brandcenter is billed as a reverse career fair, which is accurate. With a 2:1 recruiter to student ratio it’s wall to wall with the likes of W+K, 72 and Sunny, and Chiat Day. Competing with agencies of that caliber could be daunting but there’s never been a better time to be an independent agency. Many of the students are looking for places where they can have their hands in the work vs working in a siloed environment. They want to have impact on the brands they work on and the agency they work for.

Brandcenter students are desirable because they’re wired to work across disciplines and enjoy collaborating. They come out understanding how the industry works. In fact, one could argue, they come out ahead of how the industry works. They’ve also been taught by professors who teach as a career. If I’ve learned one thing recruiting, it’s that being a teacher who is a Creative Director by day is vastly different than being a professor full time. Many of these teachers have also taught together for a long time. You feel the synergy of philosophy in the building and in the work.

Hallways are lined with large scale prints of work from the graduating class. The print ad on the right for Craig’s List was one of my favorites.

I noticed an analog revival in full swing this year. It’s been coming for a few years, but this year the work had an organic vibe to it, which I loved. Hand torn paper, xeroxed zines and hand drawn illustrations were present throughout the work. Cameras (with film!), View-Masters, books and board games adorned the spaces as forms of inspiration for the work and the student. It made the work and the students more accessible in what can be a fairly artificial environment.

Left: Fanzine for Club Kids Right: A student’s Kodak Jiffy camera that had been in his family for 3 generations.

Another highlight of the event is talking with the other agencies who are also there recruiting. More and more they’re sending Creative Directors in addition to recruiters which makes the conversation more dynamic and rich. They have a reception for everyone the first evening of the event. This year it was held at a new agency in Richmond, Arts & Letters Creative Co., started by Martin Agency, W+K and TBWA vets. Many analog touches were found here as well in the form of reader boards, lockers and coffee table books.

Arts & Letters Creative Co space has old school craft touches in an modern industrial space. They have a lounge filled with beautiful, non-advertising books

This year, the theme was finding inspiration outside of advertising for advertising. Once again, I left Brandcenter filled with stories, energy and hope for our future and theirs.

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