Monday, June 29, 2009

Auf Wiedersehen!

I started this blog to provide a resource for people looking to come to the Brandcenter. I think its done that. And now its time for me to go. If you have any questions about the school, me, advertising or life itself. Please feel free to email me. Best of luck to every reader.

Jesse Bowen

Monday, June 8, 2009

Quote of the day from Work day 1

"I need to do some work in between these meetings."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I left my heart.

I left my city by the bay by force two years ago. I loved it there. Great friends, good food, lots of fun. I was running every day, losing weight, loving life. But I was missing something. A job. A career. Something to pay the bills.

I left for the other side of the world, Richmond Virginia. I worked my ass off for two years. And for two years I had no idea where the hell I was going after. I never had to worry about it for most of the time because I was too busy working, but slowly the thought creeped back up.


I had no dreams of being able to choose where I could go. There were no bidding wars on the horizon. No moving expenses, or dream apartments. It was really just what the hell was my next move?

But deep down I wanted to go home. The thing about California, and San Fran more specifically is that once you live there, its damn hard to go anywhere else, and I wanted to go back with my head high and a job. The returning hero.

I can happily say now that is what is happening. I've accepted a internship at Goodby, Silverstein and Partners. I couldn't imagine a better place to land, surrounded by more talented people to start my career again.

I left my heart there, but will be back shortly to reclaim it. Welcome home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A sign on the job hunt.

I was waiting in a SF coffee shop waiting for an interview. I was just spinning the cup thinking about what was going to happen in the next couple months, what I wanted, and dreaming a little and I looked at the cup and saw this:

"Failure's hard, but success is far more dangerous. If you're successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever."

- Po Bronson

Job hunting is a lot of guess work. Its faith based hunting. You use your guts, head and heart to make decisions that affect you in ways you will only know 10 years from now. All my decisions are half chance. But I'm not worried about choosing the wrong path, because there isn't one. I love where I'm heading.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big Day part two.

That was an interesting day. Sitting around watching, waiting for people to come by is the most draining event I've had here. Its an emotional roller coaster watching people look around for people they're interested in and pass by your table.

I can't talk about specifics, but I was very happy with everyone that came to spend time to talk to me. And I really appreciate all the feedback I got both positive and constructive.

This was just a beginning conversation, no one has jobs to hand out willy nilly. I believe that today was a large reason why the Brandcenter is the best school for advertising. The connections into the industry and the ability for them to scout our work.

We're entering the final phase here, the get a job one and we're ready for it. I look forward to the most important few months in my early career yet. Ill post as much as I can.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Big day part one.

Tomorrow is Recruiter Day. We have over 100 people coming to look through our blood sweat and tears. Its very exciting to be done but also damn scary. This is probably as far as I can take my education, unless I suddenly get a hankering to try something else. I'm on my own. In a bad market, with jobs and companies cutting at every turn.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

I think if you can make it in bad times, you should kick ass in the good times. As long as you have the work to back it up of course. And I think I do.

Its interesting to look at 42 pages of work which constitute 2 years of your life. Most authors could get 300 pages plus, or a painter produces a masterpiece, we get 42 pages of work.

I hope the recruiters enjoy the work as much as I had putting it together.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Top 10 Things You'll Hear from Teachers at the Brandcenter

1. Where else does this go?
2. What's the big idea.
3. Keep going.
4. Seriously?!
5. I don't care what he said.
6. That's fucking cool.
7. So what are you trying to say here?
8. Mmmmmmm.....
9. You need to create culture!
10. How did you get in here?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The gloves are starting to come off.

We have one week. One week to get our proverbial shit together. I admit I've gotten more together in the last week than any other week here. You don't have time to think and ponder and rethink you just have to trust your gut and do it and hope your training kicks in.

There are a few offers trickling in and its the most interesting thing to see people react. Some people ignore, some jump high, some casually glance. Me I casually glance. I'm a cautious person, taking things rarely on faith, but its so tempting to think about whether this email is the one for me, THE job for me.

But of course, there are 97 other people with similar plans sitting around a cold concrete table looking around the room. Who's the competition? Who's the best? Who is my biggest challenge? We live surrounded by competition. But the real truth is none of us are competition for each other.

Sure, you might not get that position, and it might sting the pride, but it doesn't mean a slim slice of shit against your career. My job is out there, I have no idea where it is, and who will give it to me. But every position that fills without me is good for me, because its one step closer to mine.

One week. 7 days.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ahhh the corporate world.

I sent a friend a youtube video of a comedian that reminds me of a mutual friend. I thought it would be funny and help a friend in a bad job with a hangover get over her bad day. Unfortunately you can't watch videos at this company, instead she has to email herself and watch it at home.


I remember this world well. The emails from HR about not spending too much time on IM, or blocking videos and websites. I like to think I'm about to go into a world full of open websites without, silly corporate blockers, eyes peering over shoulders, time stamps and email storage.

So for anyone out there you wants to watch youtube and get paid, advertising is for you.

Heres the video FYI. Jimmy Carr. He's fantastic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Army Regimented Work

There is so much work to do. So much it hurts my little tall head. Recruiter lists got sent out today which made it even more real that this is all coming to an end. There's a good turnout and its exciting to be the center of attention of a group of people. People who haven't seen the work before. But its scary as well.

I've heard from some previous graduates that the session doesn't produce jobs. At least not immediately. Its a conversation starter, a formal meet and greet. Who knows what jobs are really out there? Its going to be a tough market out there, so I've also prepared some backup plans as well. I've been saving frequent flier miles for a lot of years and there's a lot of places where a tall norwegian boy could do well for a few months.

It feels good to have a backup plan. Takes the pressure off these next couple weeks. A little. But I've put the pressure back on. From now until the recruiter session my alarm goes off at 9:30 and I'm in bed at 1:30 am. Its gonna be a interesting few weeks, ill keep you posted.

1:30 am. Buenos Noches.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Final Countdown!

3 weeks left. That's it. Its time to go but that doesn't mean the end of fun. Well I guess it does for a while but the best part is in three weeks it will finally get warm and the river will start to fill up. So today is my list of the things I will miss most about the good old RIC:

1. Yuengling. (Why isn't this beer everywhere?)
2. Empty streets at night.
3. Halloween on Hanover Street.
4. Hipster bike jousting. (Oh what a joy)
5. Cheap everything.
6. An airport where you never have to wait in line for anything.
7. Beautiful old houses.
8. Sun decks.

This is a great city, I will miss you. So with three weeks left here's to lots of 1-8.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Please leave your key at the front desk.

There's only about 7 weeks left here at the B.C. and its starting to show. People are starting to ask about job leads, who has jobs, internships, anything. A lady even asked me at the store if they were hiring where I was working. Unfortunately no.

It's all around us now. My parents ask me every time they call. And every time i say no they respond as best they can. "It's tough out there, but you'll find something." My dad is a little more direct. "You can wait tables if you can't find anything right?" Sigh....Yes.

But I'm trying to enjoy this time. Its the last I'll have as a student, a reckless, fun loving, innocent youth. I can run in the afternoon and drink on weekdays, I can blow work off because the weather is too nice and sleep in till 12. Everyone is working their asses off, but I get the feeling a lot of people are spinning their wheels.

Its all good to work hard to produce something, but when you work because you think you have to is when you produce nothing. People are glued to tables and screens instead of relaxing and remembering that this is the last hoorah for most of us.

So if you're out there staring at the same screen trying to force out that last idea, get up close your computer and come have a beer in the sun. Oh so sweet. Don't forget to leave your key on the desk on your way out.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The same old story.

Advertising is dead, or is about to die. You hear this line about as many times as: Where else can this idea go? Which might actually be the problem. I came across this article on the death of advertising. Its a long read but has the same familiar elements:

1. Consumers don't care.
2. Ads are ineffective.
3. Traditional ads are disappearing.
4. Advertising hasn't figure out the web.

All are true. And a lot of what we hear here is that we are the link between old and new. The generation that will create new advertising and banish the evil static banner for all time! But the truth is it isn't dead, and it never will be. The falloff in advertising in my mind comes from one simple idea:

The loss of added value.

In the 1950's advertising brought new time saving, money saving products into peoples minds for the first time. Who wouldn't want to save an hour cleaning their bathroom with new Dial? But now, we know. Soap cleans, saves time, got it. Get back to the show already! We're saturated in information and actually get to search and choose which we want to listen to or not.

So how does modern advertising tackle this problem? Added value. Product benefits, value propositions, history and other traditional advertising virtues are dead. People know more about your products than most of the people using them. You need to add value. Very few clients do this.

Nike lets you compete with runners around the world.
Apple gives you access to a world of music from anywhere.
HBO gives you TV you wouldn't see anywhere else.

What the hell does soap add? Or gum? Or banks for that matter? Give me something I have never had from you: Added value.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The real test.

This school is tough. Really tough. Its tests pulls and pushes you to do better all the time. Everyone does this, each with differing success. Some use the time to better themselves, some fold under the pressure. This place is not for everyone. But the work is not the real test.

The real test is life. As much as we push and divide and neglect our lives they always come creeping back in. Sometimes unexpectedly, and that is the real test. Can you handle 18 hour work days and a social life, a best friend, a family, a girlfriend/boyfriend, everything else that pops up outside 9 to 5?

Im going through that test right now and its tough. Its tough to give your work the time it needs along with everything else that forces itself into your head. It doesn't help that this is the time where you really need to hunker down, but that's the real test. Anyone can make ads. Not everyone can have a life and make ads.

Monday, March 9, 2009

There aren't any positions available.

Get used to that one. You will hear it a lot. Its true. Companies are shearing back hard, and marketing is the first thing to go. So what the hell do you do? Beg? Plead? Scream? Cry in despair?

The best thing to do is realize the truth that there are TONS of jobs out there. You heard it here first. TONS and TONS of jobs. The only problem is that they aren't advertised and even worse the companies themselves don't even know they exist, only you do.

Smart driven people are always needed. Always. No company is going to turn away someone that blows them away no matter how bad off they seem because the only real asset any company has is its talent. And no where else is this more evident in advertising. Ideas and talent are all they have.

So when you call or email or network and people say "I don't think we're hiring" what they're really saying is "You might suck." Try again, say "I understand. Do you think I could come in and show you my work?" Most times they will be happy to help and it gets your foot int he door, its your job to make sure it stays there.

Most people out there stop the minute they hear a company isn't hiring, instead focusing on the leads on craigslist or headhunters instead of focusing on what they really need to do, show companies why they can't afford not to have them on their payroll. Happy hunting.