Why I Chose Ad School

There’s more than one way to tell great stories.

“I want to make black transgender actress Laverne Cox the face of a national Coca Cola ad campaign.” That’s what I tell people when they ask why I went to Miami Ad School after years of working for nonprofit campaigns. At least, that’s what I tell people now.

When I first started thinking about ad school, I kept it on the DL partially out of fear of being judged as a sell-out and partially because I didn’t have the words to better explain why I was making the switch.

At the time, my job as director of digital at Freedom to Marry was ending and I was getting a lot of suggestions from friends about causes I should work on next. Fighting structural racism, climate change and the need for LGBT nondiscrimination protections were some of the things they recommended.

Instead, I decided on ad school for a simple reason: I want to make cool stuff that a lot of people see and the “cool stuff” I want to make will be about what it’s like to be alive now with the collision of cultures, ideas we experience every day.

It’s not a surprising choice when you consider that the work I did with Freedom to Marry was a kind of ad campaign to change the way non-LGBT people thought about same-sex couples. It worked. We changed public opinion on one of the most contentious social issues in recent memory.

I get that advertising is about solving brand problems and selling products and services.I’m eager to take on that challenge and to tell great stories along the way.

At the end of the day, advertising should be about telling great stories that make people laugh, cry or talk.

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