First and foremost, and right off the bat, I would like to thank Serge and the Latin Works folks in Austin for inviting me to participate in Portfolio night 8 last Thursday night.
I had a great time. However, a number of the participants didn’t. Without even attempting to be mean, I somehow brought two young ladies to tears and another young gentlemen to shake so violently he dropped his cocktail. I was called the Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsey of Portfolio Night. I however, prefer, the Dr. Phil…
Let me just start by saying, overall I thought the work was ordinary at best. There was one wonderful print campaign from a young lady named Miranda, an intern at Latin Works, for a 24 Hour Fitness club in Austin. I loved it. But that was it, one campaign.
What puzzled me most, were the lack of great ideas. There was a lot of “wacky” executions, but no smart thinking. Lots of nasty headlines, but no real insights into the brands. It’s as if, there had never seen a strategy in their entire collegiate career.
I brought the two young ladies to tears because both of them showed up at my station…Number 5, without their laptops (which I hate!) booted up and ready to go. Quite frankly, I was not interested in listening to their stories of college frat parties and summer vacations or the agency they would like to work at. I wanted to see their portfolio. When they could not produce them in a timely manner, I sent them on their way. But not before I let them know how “disappointed” I was. The kid who shook like a puppy trying to shit a peach seed, out right lied to me. When I realized he was trying to blow smoke up my ass, I closed his book and told him to hit the road. “If you were in my agency right now, I would fire you and throw you down the elevator shaft,” I said, “Now haul ass.” What? I said “hit the bricks, buster.” After the show, he apologized. I sat back down with him and looked at his book. I would have never hired him in the first place.
I had asked him, if he’d ever used the product. He said yes. I asked him how it worked. He stuttered. I asked again. How does it work? He then said, “I’ve never used it.” “You’re fired,” was my response. Using a few selected pronouns followed by even more verbs, I explained how is actions would have gone over in a new business meeting. The agency, meaning me, would have caught total hell from a client or never given the business by a prospective client. Either way, the outcome would have been fiscally damaging for JimBob_Dallas. I was not happy.
Somehow the word circled though the venue that I was a prick. For the rest of the night, I sat alone, watching Joe Shands for Vendor critque book after book. I even announced once that I was available. No one even attempted to make eye contact with me.
I wanted these kids to know what it’s like to interview for a job. I asked tough guestions and wanted smarts answers. I wanted know why there was no logo in their ads. Did they feel like they were ready to start to work immediately upon stepping into an agency. I asked who influenced their work. But mostly I wanted them to answer this simple question, “why is your book so fucking bad.”
Along with being taught good from bad, colleges should also teach students to show up ready to go, don’t lie, and know how to write to a strategy/brief. Is that too much to ask?