Guest Lecture at University of Denver.

02/09 2011

Last week I was given the opportunity to guest lecture at two undergraduate advertising classes at DU. Professor Greg Wagner (to me, “Wagz”) invited me to talk to his students about how I got into the ad biz, what it’s like, how agencies work, and show some of my work.

First of all, I’ll say that this whole experience didn’t go on without a fair share of panic. The night before the lectures, tormented with the idea that I would run out of things to say and hear crickets from the crowd, I made up an activity to do with the students. They would pick a brand, come up with a problem, and then another student would have to solve that problem creatively via hand-drawn print ad. “Good thinking,” I said to myself as I rushed to Walmart for a lightening-fast candy run (you gotta have prizes).

When I began to speak in the first class, I was surprised by how passionate I became toward the ad business. Well, maybe not surprised, but enthused nonetheless. It really got me thinking about what a diverse and dynamic field I have the pleasure to work in. I talked about the importance of networking and being easy to collaborate with. I detailed the excitement of shoots and seeing your ideas come to life through billboards, TV, online and radio. I discussed the need to build a thick skin and take rejection as a challenge rather than a failure.

An hour later, and after handing out little heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that said “BE MY Q.T. PIE” to the winners of the activity, I was feeling thrilled and inspired. I mean, for all the crap we ad folks put up with, when it comes down to brass tacks, this is a pretty rad job. So rad in fact that I had several students ask for my information so they could learn more about how to get into it.

Now, I know that was kind of a strange journey to self-realization, but I wanted to put it out there. At the end of the day, I heart advertising—maybe not every second of every day—but I do. That’s why I am vowing right now to do my best never to disuade someone from entering the field just because it has its fair share of boo-worthy traits. Every industry has them, and who am I to judge how anyone else would feel about them? Advertising is a place for people to create. Period. And it’s our job to make sure those who want to be part of it, can.