VCU Brandcenter

Announcements

Class of 2014 Reaches 70% Job Placement

As of July 23rd, the VCU Brandcenter Class of 2014 has reached 70% job placement.  

Class of 2014 Class Pic

Here is where our recent grads have been hired:

Art Directors:
Lauren Albee - Omelet, Los Angeles
Caitlin Bradley - co:collective, New York
Andrew Chin - Mother, New York
Nomin Enkhbold - mcgarrybowen, New York
Claire Gipson, Goodness MFG, Los Angeles
Steve Gonzalez - Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Hannah Gormanlove - Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Frank Guzzone - Mother, New York
Karlin Lichtenberger - 22Squared, Tampa
Nomi Malik - R/GA, Los Angeles
Toliver Roebuck - Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Nicole Smith - Push, Orlando
Emily Uram - R/GA, New York
Blair Warren - Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Amy Wheeler - Droga5, New York
Amanda Younger - McGarrah-Jessee, Austin

Communications Strategists:
Marie Adams - ICF International, Richmond
Beth Beckman - iCrossing, New York
Jeremy Chacich - PMH, Minneapolis
Cierra Dobson - Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Rod Kashani - R/GA, Los Angeles
Whitney Keller - 72andSunny, Los Angeles
Katie Long - R/GA, New York
Marie Matuszewski - Publicis, Seattle
Marisa Perrazzelli - Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

Creative Brand Managers:
Eliza Arnold - Capital One, Richmond
Issamu Kamide - Nestle, Los Angeles
Jonathan Sekerak - CP+B, Boulder
Lauren Ulmer - Diamond Candles, Durham
Casey Williams - Zeus Jones, San Francisco

Creative Technologists:
Bear Collins - BBDO, New York
Karen Hymes - Publicis, Seattle
Brian Laiche - Imulus, Boulder
Hex Marquez - Lowe Campbell Ewald, Detroit
Soheil Oliaei - Butler, Shine, Stern + Partners, Sausalito
Christine Pizzo - Digitas, Boston
Donnie Plumly - Team One, Los Angeles
Matt Reamer - Team One, Los Angeles
Jade Sullivan - Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Owen Weeks - mcgarrybown, New York
Chad Woods - Publicis, Seattle

Copywriters:
Sam Bauer - Droga5, New York
Jimmy Burton - Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco
Ally Farrish - Mother, New York
Katie Johnston - DDB, San Francisco
Blakeley Jones - Omelet, Los Angeles
Demian Kendall - Pereira & O'Dell, San Francisco
Chase Kimball - BFG 9000, New York
Liz Loudy - R/GA, New York
Steve Nass - Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
Trong Nguyen - Taxi, New York
Hunter Pinnell - Innocean, Huntington Beach
Erin Ridgeway - Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito
Garrick Sheldon - Wieden+Kennedy, New York
Gabe Sherman - Wieden+Kennedy, New York



The scream seen 'round the world

The story behind “Teddy Goalsevelt” is a funny one. It starts with Mike D’Amico losing his job.

 

You may not know his name, but you definitely know Mike D’Amico’s face. Better known as Teddy Goalsevelt, D’Amico is the World Cup fan who shot to fame by emulating the rough-riding 26th president of the United States. Teddy became an immediate Internet favorite thanks to his impassioned war cry.

Teddy Goalsevelt But if you think becoming a viral Internet sensation is easy, you have another think coming, according to the VCU Brandcenter alumnus.

In fact, D’Amico suggests the headline of this story should read “Random coincidence makes man famous.”

So how did D’Amico — who wasn’t even a soccer fan five years ago — become the “most epic fan at the World Cup?”

“That’s actually kind of a funny story,” he said. “So the story starts with me getting laid off in September, which at the time was pretty rough.”

He spent a couple of weeks with no income before he started freelancing, which, he says, in advertising pays better than a salary. He quickly went from making a “comfortable” living to making what seemed like “a crazy amount of money,” which he started saving for nothing in particular.

In November, D’Amico received an email from the American Outlaws, the supporter group for the U.S. soccer team that organizes trips to the World Cup for hundreds of U.S. soccer fans each year.

“I had almost forgotten about the fact that a couple of years ago I had signed up for the waitlist for their trip,” D’Amico said. “I had applied … thinking it would never happen. I got this email saying, ‘If you want to go, we need you to send us $5,000 in a month.’

“So [there I was] with some extra money sitting in the bank and this email here in front of me saying, ‘Hey, you have the right amount to go to Brazil,’ and at that point I talked to some other people and I’m like, ‘This is fate, right? This is definitely not a coincidence.’ Everyone agreed, so I went ahead and spent the money and now here I am.”

“Here” is Brazil, where D’Amico is having the time of his life reveling not so much in his newfound fame as in the attention that fame has brought to a sport he loves.

“The one thing that I keep trying to reiterate is that I’m just a crazy person who got lucky,” he said. “There were enough people interested in and watching U.S. soccer that an image of me being a lunatic can go viral. That’s really my favorite part.”

Teddy Goalsevelt pointing It should be noted that it’s also a coincidence that D’Amico is a soccer fan at all.

“I am a very passionate sports fan in general. And that’s part of the reason I ended up getting involved in soccer because … you see the entire planet aside from a few countries that are so passionate about soccer — it’s like all of our sports combined. … And I’m saying to myself, ‘There’s got to be something. There’s something I’m missing.’ … The 2010 World Cup was completely out of control, crazy, over the top for U.S. fans for excitement, drama and everything, and so at that point, I said ‘Enough is enough. I need to give this a legitimate chance.’

“I gave myself what I call a soccer boot camp, because I think the thing that was separating me from being a fan was lack of knowledge. I just didn’t really understand the game. So what used to look boring to me, now that I understand what’s happening, is more interesting. So for one month in the summer of 2010, all I allowed myself to any media – reading, listening, watching, it had to be soccer related; that was the rule. And I went in being a casual USA World Cup soccer fan, and I came out being a world professional soccer fan.”

That kind of dedication and passion made D’Amico right at home in his days as a student at the Brandcenter, which is now part of the VCU School of Business.

“There’s a reason why no one was surprised that I was a VCU Brandcenter alum,” said D’Amico, who graduated in 2007 from the Brandcenter’s art direction track. “Because the people there are some of the most fun and outgoing and creative and amazing people that I’ve had the pleasure of being around. So I think being in that environment and being able to soak up some of that from some of the more talented, more interesting, more creative people, to me, really changed the trajectory of my whole career and my whole life. It’s a more interesting, more open lens that you see things through.”

But still we wonder: Why Teddy Roosevelt of all people?

D’Amico knew he wanted to do something fun that would get people excited.

“I thought about it more and more and finally it just hit me: Teddy Roosevelt,” D’Amico said. “Of all the presidents, of all the cultural icons, from movies, TV, to whatever in the history of the U.S., I don’t think there’s a better character that you want leading your country, your team, your fans into battle in the middle of the jungle than Teddy Roosevelt.”

Will Teddy ride again after the World Cup?

“This is all so new, I haven’t really thought past tomorrow,” D’Amico said. “But for now, Teddy is a dedicated U.S. soccer supporter and he will be at every match he can make it to.”

See More >


OutRVA team receives congratulatory letter from Senator Mark Warner

The VCU Brandcenter students who created the OutRVA campaign to celebrate Richmond's LGBT community have received the following letter of congratulations from United States Senator Mark Warner upon receiving an RVA Creativity Award.

OutRVA letter from Mark Warner

 


Getting the World Out

VCU Brandcenter students create Out RVA to celebrate Richmond’s LGBT community

Bill Harrison, CEO of the Gay Community Center of Richmond, sometimes encounters skepticism from gay friends when he speaks about the welcoming atmosphere that they can expect in Richmond. He said those who have never visited the city frequently perceive it to be a much less tolerant place than Harrison and many others believe it to be. The question of how to correct that feeling is one that has puzzled city advocates. So they put the question to students at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, one of the most highly regarded graduate advertising and marketing communications programs in the country.

Students there came up with a unique response: The city should formally come “out of the closet” as LGBT friendly. The result is the Out RVA campaign, an ambitious effort developed by students and managed by Richmond Region Tourism to market the Richmond area as a tolerant and congenial place for the LGBT community. The campaign launched earlier this year with a website (richmondisout.com), video and on-the-ground marketing efforts and will transition this fall into a major advertising push targeting potential visitors in major cities around the country.

OutRVA VCU News

The early response to Out RVA has been enthusiastic. Several media outlets have reported on the campaign, local residents have participated and helped spread the message through social media, and businesses have stocked free “Out” stickers and displayed them in their windows. In May, Out RVA was named one of 10 winners of the first-ever RVA Creativity Awards, which recognize the area’s top examples of creativity, originality, imagination and risk-taking. The Brandcenter students and Out RVA also were honored by the Richmond Business Alliance, which supports businesses and professionals affirming to the LGBT community.

“I think it’s been extraordinary,” Harrison said. “I think this has a lot of potential to bring more people to Richmond and to help the area feel a bit more welcoming. I hope this campaign has an effect locally, too, and shows people that this is the right direction for us to be moving in. We want to show that we are an inclusive place.”

Katherine O’Donnell, vice president of community relations for Richmond Region Tourism, said the Out RVA campaign is a culmination of work that began four years ago when Richmond Region Tourism, the tourism office for Richmond and surrounding communities, began a concerted effort to market the area to the LGBT community.

O’Donnell took the challenge to the Brandcenter, part of the VCU School of Business, this past academic year. Kelly O’Keefe, professor of creative brand management, had helped steer the creation of RVA, the wildly successful Richmond marketing effort that Brandcenter students played a major role in developing, and this time he put up the project to students as an opportunity to volunteer to work on it – not as part of a class, but just in their free time. Several Brandcenter students stepped forward, forming interdisciplinary teams that included students from each of the program’s graduate tracks – art direction, copywriting, communications strategy, creative brand management and creative technology.

The teams pitched their campaigns, and Out RVA emerged as the brightest idea, though O’Donnell said the project ultimately incorporates components of each of the student teams’ efforts. The Out RVA team included second-year students Jimmy Burton, Frank Guzzone, Trey Keeler, Liam Schaefer and Blair Warren.

The campaign launched earlier this year, and the students themselves were central not only to its design but to its initial implementation. They created the website and video (“It’s time to see the LGBT community we’re proud to call our own. And the people who rise up to support it.”), handed out stickers, spoke with business owners and local community members, and oversaw social media outreach. O’Donnell said the students managed an “organic” launch to Out RVA that felt natural and helped create an early groundswell of support for it. At the outset, she said, “they were the ones who were doing everything.”

“The students have done so much more than just come up with an idea,” O’Donnell said. “They stayed on and put in a lot of work on the project.”

Guzzone said he quickly fell in love with Richmond when he moved to the city to enroll in the Brandcenter, and he was pleased to have a chance to help burnish its image. Keeler, a local native, said he found that the negative views of the city he sometimes heard from others did not match his own experiences. There was, he said, “a disconnect.”

The students decided that the disconnect meant that they could not simply design a straightforward marketing campaign. “That wasn’t going to convince people to visit if they already had a negative view of the city,” he said. Instead, he said, they needed to lay the groundwork for a more traditional campaign with something that targeted existing impressions and sought to change them. They would need to show the city “the way it is, not the way people think it is,” Guzzone said.

“We decided to be the first-ever city to come out,” Keeler said. “It means more for a city like Richmond than it would for somewhere like New York or San Francisco – places that have been out. It’s more surprising.”

As the students navigated the soft launch of the campaign, they were pleased to see immediate signs of support. A first issue of 800 Out stickers, which fit neatly alongside the ubiquitous RVA stickers, was gone in a week. Then 2,500 stickers vanished just as quickly. Finally, an order of 5,000 stickers disappeared.

When the students visited businesses about stocking the stickers, they invariably received positive replies. Guzzone said he expected more resistance, but even businesses they approached somewhat warily were excited to participate.

Soon, Out RVA received emotional personal responses – from as far away as Australia – contributing to the campaign and thanking organizers for its existence, as well as requests from around the state for the stickers. The #OutRVA hashtag became entrenched in local social media.

“People just want to be a part of this,” Guzzone said.

Part of the appeal of Out RVA, O’Donnell said, is that it fits so well with the experiences of LGBT individuals. Coming out to family and friends is a significant milestone. Consequently, Out RVA has created a forum for locals to share their own stories of coming out. The campaign is clear and deceptively simple, O’Donnell said.

Keeler and Guzzone said it was gratifying to view the response, particularly the way people made the campaign their own – the same way locals latched onto the RVA effort before it. Out RVA, Guzzone said, would continue to grow and develop without them, though the team will keep tabs on it.

When Guzzone chose to attend the VCU Brandcenter, he was well aware of the RVA campaign and its widespread adoption in the Richmond metro area. He knew that the Brandcenter gives its students the opportunity to take on community projects and create campaigns with real-world effects. So when O’Keefe offered the chance to take on a similar project, he was eager to participate.

Guzzone said the campaign was the highlight of his Brandcenter years. When recruiters visited campus, it was the project he could not stop talking about.

“This was important for me,” Guzzone said. “Touching people’s lives directly has been beyond great.”

O’Donnell said one of her favorite parts of the Out RVA idea is that it is authentic. Harrison said he appreciates that the campaign does not pigeonhole the LBGT population in its effort to reach out to it. Trying to attract LGBT tourists is not about attempting to suggest to them that there are activities and attractions particular to them here, O’Donnell and Harrison said. “Gay tourists like what other tourists like,” Harrison said. “Good food, good culture, fun things to do.”

Harrison said he was impressed with the boldness of Richmond Region Tourism in embracing the campaign and the intelligence and know-how of the students who engineered it. “I’m so proud of VCU,” he said. “It’s absolutely typical of the way the university steps up to the plate here.” These five students, he said, have made a lasting impact with their work.

“They’ve done this city an extraordinary favor,” he said.

See More >

 


Five Brandcenter Teams Sweep VCU da Vinci Center's Venture Creation Contest

VCU Brandcenter was expecting good news Wednesday, when the finals of the VCU da Vinci Center's annual Venture Creation Competition took place. All five finalist teams in the graduate division were comprised of Brandcenter students. 

The competition encourages VCU students to come up with a concept, idea or technology and explore the steps necessary to move it towards a new venture. Five finalist teams in each division (graduate and undergraduate) are selected to pitch to judges made up of venture capitalists. 

Venture Creation Competition 5 Checks First place (and $4,000) went to Karen Hymes, a second-year student in the creative technology track, with her concept, "Tagather," a social shopping platform where consumers tag recent purchases in images they take to earn rewards in the form of coupons and gift cards. Tagather also provides businesses with a current conversation around purchased items, consumer to consumer marketing, consumer wants and needs, and more accurate consumer analytics.

Second place ($3,000) went to Team Vida's idea to transform “throw away” produce, too imperfect to live up to consumers' expectations of the produce section, into delicious, all-natural fruit and vegetable bars. Team members include:

  • Jonathan Sekerak,VCU Brandcenter, Creative Brand Management, Class of 2014
  • Garrick Sheldon, VCU Brandcenter, Copywriting, Class of 2014
  • Plautz Rick, VCU Brandcenter, Art Direction, Class of 2014
  • Wynn Buzzell (non-VCU student)

Third place ($2,000) went to "Memento," a smart wristband that connects directly to a networking app and keeps a record of the people that a user meets through a simple trigger: the handshake. This provides an effortless way for business professionals to connect during large events such as conferences. Team members include:

  • Toliver Roebuck, VCU Brandcenter, Art Direction, Class of 2014
  • Demian Kendall, VCU Brandcenter, Copywriting, Class of 2014
  • Lauren Ulmer, VCU Brandcenter, Creative Brand Management, Class of 2014
  • Skylar Roebuck, VCU Alumni

Runners up ($1,000 each): 

Southern Cream Tea, an RTD beverage taking the addicting elixir of the South, and one-upping it with cream. It is brewed black tea, sweetened with simple syrup, blended with 2% low-temp pasteurized milk and served cold. The blend will be a carefully tested ratio of 65/35 tea to milk and finally vacuum packed in glass to preserve freshness. The milk will be sourced from local dairy farms, and pasteurized at the lower temperature than nationally distributed milk to retain thickness, richness, and host of nutrients without the fat. The tea would be sourced from the only remaining tea plantation in the U.S., the Charleston Tea Company, to reduce costs as well as to evoke Southern pride. Team members include:

  • Marisa Impellizzeri, VCU Brandcenter, Creative Brand Management, Class of 2014
  • Katie Long, VCU Brandcenter, Communication Strategy, Class of 2014

Gametrotter: With nearly half of American households having two or more gaming platforms, not being able to find friends when a gamer switches games or consoles is frustrating. Our solution is Gametrotter, a mobile-based social network that allows users to search for friends using character names, user names, or real names. Team members include:

  • Samuel Hensley, VCU Brandcenter,  Creative Brand Management, Class of 2014
  • CJ Milhoan, VCU Brandcenter,  Creative Brand Management, Class of 2014
  • Garrett Lyons, VCU Brandcenter,  Creative Brand Management, Class of 2015
  • Chad Woods, VCU Brandcenter, Creative Technology, Class of 2014
  • Nelson Johnson, VCU Brandcenter, Creative Technology, Class of 2015

Congratulations to all five Brandcenter teams! 


Brandcenter Students' #TBT Campaign for Clear Channel Launches

Clear Channel launched a Brandcenter student campaign today on digital billboards in New York, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The project uses the Instagram holiday "Throwback Thursday" to capture people's stories and memories of their cities and neighborhoods over time.

If you live in any of these areas, keep an eye on the digital boards and feel free to submit your old stories and photos. The Instagram hashtag for the project is tbt + the city's main area code (so #tbt212 for New York and so on). 

The second-year student team includes copywriter Demian Kendall and art directors Karlin Lichtenberger and Michelle Grant. 

Clear Channel #TBT Billboard ‌‌


Three Brandcenter board members inducted into AAF Hall of Fame

Three VCU Brandcenter board members will be inducted into the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Fame this evening.

Congratulations to the following:

Bob Greenberg, Founder, Chairman and CEO of R/GA, and member of the Brandcenter board of directors

John Hegarty, Chairman of Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty, and member of the Brandcenter advisory board 

Mike Hughes (1948-2013), former President and Creative Director of The Martin Agency and founding chairman of the Brandcenter board of directors

Bob Greenberg, John Hegarty, Mike Hughes AAF Hall of Fame
Greenberg, Hegarty, and Hughes

The AAF Hall of Fame "is a virtual museum celebrating the extraordinary men and women who have made significant contributions to advertising and society. Each has helped raise the standards and level of professionalism in the industry, while inspiring and mentoring future generations, laying the groundwork that encourages us all to strive for excellence."

We are so proud of our board members who are receiving this honor.  

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Martin Agency chair shares lessons and regrets from past 40 years

One Regret: never having been laid off

 


Martin Agency chair presents ‘The Advice I’d Give If I Were Inclined To Give Advice’

Plaque honoring John Adams, chair of the VCU Brandcenter, will be unveiled

University Public Affairs
(804) 828-2725


The Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter Friday Forum this week features John Adams, chairman of the Brandcenter Board of Directors and chairman of The Martin Agency, who will have a plaque unveiled in his honor following the talk during a private reception.

Adams has been a supporter of the Brandcenter since its inception as the VCU Adcenter. While much of his role over the years has been behind the scenes, his support, encouragement and knowledge were instrumental in its growth. The school is fortunate to now have Adams appointed as its board chairman. The plaque honoring Adams will hang alongside former honorees Harry Jacobs, chairman emeritus of The Martin Agency, and Ed Ney, chairman emeritus of Young & Rubicam Advertising, on the "Wall of Inspiration” in the VCU Brandcenter’s building, Mike Hughes Hall, which is named for Adams' former partner at The Martin Agency.

Adams will present “The Advice I’d Give If I Were Inclined To Give Advice” on Friday, March 21, at11 a.m. at the VCU Brandcenter, 103 S. Jefferson St.  Adams will share in 40 minutes the most valuable things he’s learned in 40 years. This presentation is free and open to the public.

Following the presentation, a private reception with John’s friends, family and colleagues as well as Brandcenter students and faculty will take place as the plaque is unveiled. During the reception, a few words will be shared on John’s behalf by Helayne Spivak, director of the VCU Brandcenter, who will read a few words from VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., and fellow honoree Harry Jacobs, chairman emeritus of The Martin Agency.

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Brandcenter students launch #OutRVA campaign

This week, a team of Brandcenter second year students launched #OutRVA, a project for LGBT Tourism in Richmond.

Blair Warren, art director, Frank Guzzone, art director, Jimmy Burton, copywriter, Trey Keeler, creative brand manager, and Liam Schaefer, brand strategist, worked on the project for Professor Kelly O'Keefe's Brand Campaigns class, and the organization loved their ideas so much they produced them.

Check out the video below as well as the website, www.richmondisout.com.


Watch three Winter Olympics Commercials by Brandcenter Alumni

Now that the Winter Olympics in Sochi have come to a close, take a look back at some of the Olympic and Paralympic-themed commericals by Brandcenter alumni:  

Citi: "Long Shot" 
Alum: Mark Svartz (CW, 2002), Freelance Creative Director/Copywriter
Alum: Jon Bunning (AD, 2002), Freelance Art Director/Photographer

 

P&G: "Tough Love"
Alum: Susan Land (AD, 2010), Art Director at Wieden + Kennedy
Alum: Erin Swanson (CT, 2011) Writer at Wieden + Kennedy

 

Hilton: "Weekend" featuring Ashley Wagner
Alum: Kat Ford Scaglione (AD, 2010), Art Director at Publicis


Watch 9 Super Bowl Commercials by VCU Brandcenter Alumni

Eleven VCU Brandcenter alums worked on nine Super Bowl (plus one Puppy Bowl) commercials in this year's big game. Take a look at their spots below, and see what Brandcenter students and alumni are saying about the commercials using hashtag #BCBigGame.

 

Heinz Ketchup "Hum"
Alum: Kristopher Kennedy (CW, 2009)
Copywriter at Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago

 

Chobani "How Matters"
Alum: Karen Land Short (AD, 2008)
Copywriter at Droga5, NYC

 

Carmax "Slow Clap" + Puppy Version
Alum: Jillian Dresser (AD, 2008)
Art Director at Silver + Partners, NYC
Alum: Howard Finkelstein (CW, 2005)
Creative Director at Silver + Partners, NYC
Alum: Casey Rand (CW, 2008)
Copywriter at Droga5, NYC, but the spot was done when she was at Silver + Partners, NYC

 

 

KIA "The Truth"
Alum: Mike Wilson (AD, 2011)
Art Director at David & Goliath, LA

 

US Cellular "Hello Better" (running in spot markets)
Alum: Lauren Geisler (AD, 2010)
Art Director at Mullen, Boston

 

WeatherTech floor mats for cars
Alum: Tom Wilson (CW, 1998)
Creative Director at JWT, Atlanta, but the spot was done when he was freelancing

 

Jaguar "British Villains"
Alum: Joseph Quattrone (CBM, 2008)
Group Account Director/Social Media Strategist at GroupM / M80 

 

Volkswagen "Wings"
Alum: Marika Wiggan (CS, 2010)
Brand Strategist at Argonaut, San Francisco

 

T-Mobile "What can Tim Tebow do with #nocontract?"
Alum: Neil Slotterback (CBM, 2010)
Strategist at Butler, Shine, Stern + Partners


VCU Brandcenter tapped for commentary on Super Bowl commercials

VCU Brandcenter has become the place to turn for commentary on Super Bowl commercials, especially in the Richmond area. The local community looks to the Brandcenter for insights on what makes a great Super Bowl ad and which advertisers are doing it right. 

This year, Director Helayne Spivak was invited to be a guest on ESPN Radio 950's "Hardly Workin' with Greg Burton" for an interview with VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin as a Super Bowl preview. Brandcenter Professor Kelly O'Keefe was interviewed on the WRVA 1140 morning show the morning after the big game. The Richmond Ad Club has also invited Helayne, Kelly, professor Cabell Harris and alum Adam Stockton (AD, 2003) to sit on its Advertising Bowl panel Tuesday.

You can also see Brandcenter students' and alumni tweets about the commercials using #BCBigGame.

Ed McLaughlin interviews VCU Brandcenter Director Helayne Spivak on ESPN Radio 950

 

Gary Hess interviews Brandcenter Professor Kelly O'Keefe on WRVA 1140

 


Winter 2014 Alumni Newsletter Now Available

The VCU Brandcenter Winter 2014 Alumni Newsletter is now available. Catch up on what's been going on at the Brandcenter and with our alumni. 


Look for Nine Super Bowl XLVIII Spots from Brandcenter Alumni

If you watch the commercials as closely as the big game, keep an eye out for the nine Super Bowl XLVIII spots that Brandcenter alumni have worked on:

Heinz Ketchup
Alum: Kristopher Kennedy (CW, 2009)
Copywriter at Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago

Chobani
Alum: Karen Land Short (AD, 2008)
Copywriter at Droga5, NYC

Carmax
Alum: Jillian Dresser (AD, 2008)
Art Director at Silver + Partners, NYC
Alum: Howard Finkelstein (CW, 2005)
Creative Director at Silver + Partners, NYC
Alum: Casey Rand (CW, 2008)
Copywriter at Droga5, NYC, but the spot was done when she was at Silver + Partners, NYC

KIA
Alum: Mike Wilson (AD, 2011)
Art Director at David & Goliath, LA

US Cellular (running in spot markets)
Alum: Lauren Geisler (AD, 2010)
Art Director at Mullen, Boston

WeatherTech floor mats for cars
Alum: Tom Wilson (CW, 1998)
Creative Director at JWT, Atlanta, but the spot was done when he was freelancing

Jaguar
Alum: Joseph Quattrone (CBM, 2008)
Group Account Director/Social Media Strategist at GroupM / M80 

Volkswagen
Alum: Marika Wiggan (CS, 2010)
Brand Strategist at Argonaut, San Francisco

T-Mobile
Alum: Neil Slotterback (CBM, 2010)
Strategist at Butler, Shine, Stern + Partners


Registration open for the VCU Brandcenter Recruiter Session: Apr. 23-24th

Registration is now open for the annual VCU Brandcenter Recruiter Session, Apr. 23-24th, 2014, at the Brandcenter in Richmond, Virginia.

Our Recruiter Session is set up like a reverese career fair, where the graduating students from our five tracks are able to show their work and meet with visiting recruiters. We are grateful for all of our industry support and look forward to having everyone.

If your agency or company is interested in attending the VCU Brandcenter Recruiter Session, you can see more details and register here.   


Request a Brandcenter Summer Intern

The VCU Brandcenter is now taking requests for summer interns.

Our students can intern from mid-May through mid-August over the summer between their first and second years at the Brandcenter. If your agency or company is interested in hiring a Brandcenter summer intern this year, please see more details and fill out our intern request form here.  


Dates are set for six Brandcenter information sessions this spring

The VCU Brandcenter will hold six information sessions this spring for anyone interested in our Master's program.

* Learn about the VCU Brandcenter Master's program and its 5 tracks: Art Direction, Copywriting, Creative Technology, Communications Strategy, and Creative Brand Management
* Hear from current Brandcenter students on a Q&A panel
* Take a tour of the Brandcenter
* Speak with an admissions representative

Spring 2014 Information Session Dates
Please register for the date you wish to attend.

Friday, Jan. 24th, 2pm-3:30pm REGISTER

Monday, Jan. 27th, 6:30-8pm   REGISTER

Friday, Feb. 21st, 2pm-3:30pm REGISTER

Monday, Feb. 24th, 6:30-8pm   REGISTER

Friday, Mar. 21st, 2pm-3:30pm REGISTER

Monday, Mar. 24th, 6:30-8pm   REGISTER 

Location 
VCU Brandcenter Lecture Hall 
103 S. Jefferson Street
Richmond, VA 23284

Parking
Guests who will be driving may either street park for free along Cary or Canal, which run along either side of our building, or pay to park in the visitor's lot (JL Lot) on 200 W. Cary Street.

Questions?
Contact Admissions Coordinator Hawley Smyth, smythh@vcu.edu.

Can't make any of these dates?
Schedule a one-on-one meeting with Admissions Coordinator Hawley Smyth: smythh@vcu.edu.

We look forward to meeting you!

See Admissions Information >


Mike Hughes Hall

 
A Message from VCU Brandcenter Director Helayne Spivak to the Brandcenter Students

Every day we enter Mike Hughes Hall.

Every day, several times a day, we pass by the very large painting of Mike displayed against the brick wall watching over us.

I'm sure some of you might have heard that Mike Hughes passed away after a 15 year battle with lung cancer.  No one lives 15 years with stage 4 lung cancer.  Mike did.  With an extra year thrown in for good measure.‌

Mike Hughes Mural in VCU Brandcenter Stairway When you all get back from break…the first time you go through our doors in 2014, please go right to that big picture and say a silent thank you to Mike Hughes.

He helped our Founding Director build this school.

He was our first Board Chairman.

He was our champion in the community.

He was our advisor and friend.

He was a great man who loved great thinking, great work and great works.

He asked just one thing of his friends, family and thousands of far-flung close acquaintances: "Enjoy every minute of your life" and "keep me in your thoughts."

Let's all do what he asked.  
 

Helayne  

 


VCU Brandcenter Application for Fall 2014 Admission is Now Available

The 2014 application is now available for request on the Brandcenter Admissions page. We will begin receiving applications January 6th.  


Creating RVA: How VCU Brandcenter students helped craft the logo that took the city by storm

University Public Affairs
(804) 828-6051
 

Katie Chapin knew they had a good idea. She just didn't know how good. Chapin was part of a team of students in the VCU Brandcenter wrestling with a project for a local branding effort. Venture Richmond, an organization devoted to enhancing the vitality of the Richmond community, was exploring ways to brand Richmond as a way of building pride within the city and attracting attention outside of it.

Chapin’s class had been tapped to develop concepts. Chapin and her partners, who included Jarrod Higgins, Michael Whitten, Cecilia Bogardus, Pankaj Rawat and Sara Cobaugh, had come up with a deceptively simple concept: A logo with the letters “RVA” that was a sort of blank canvas, open to interpretation by artists, businesses, organizations, anyone who wanted to place their own personal stamp on it. The idea, they figured, was that the brand would be the community’s in the most authentic way possible.

“It was a way to give people a chance to own that term,” Chapin said. “Richmond means different things to different people.”

Years after the idea was born, the RVA brand – with its distinctively overlapping letters – is everywhere. Bumper stickers, T-shirts, posters, signs, store windows, business logos, on the side of the city’s garbage trucks and police cars, as ubiquitous in the suburbs as it is Downtown. Residents take the brand with them when they leave town, and it is often spotted far outside the city’s borders, such as when eagle-eyed locals caught sight of it on a musician’s case on Saturday Night Live.

The logo is integrated in myriad ways into not just official city efforts but into small and large projects that simply boast Richmond as their home. The RVA term that was formerly used only by the creative class has become a type of citywide rallying cry – a knowing shorthand for residents and others, taken to goosebump-raising heights in Richmond-based NO BS! Brass Band’s “RVA All Day” – and the effect on metropolitan pride is undeniable. Outsiders have taken notice, such as in the form of plaudits from such entities as Fast Company, a magazine devoted to cutting-edge business practices, and CEOs for Cities, a civic innovation lab and network of urban leaders looking for new ways to improve American cities.

 

See More >


Brandcenter Alumni Freelance Directory Now Available

Results from the Alumni Salary Survey conducted by the Brandcenter last winter showed that around 8% of VCU Brandcenter alumni freelance. Since we often get requests from recruiters for freelancers, we developed a directory where recruiters could search our alumni freelancers and freelancers themselves could search for possible partners.  

The VCU Brandcenter Freelance Directory is now available, and it's searchable by discipline or location. Please share with anyone who might have freelance needs!

Alumni who would like to be included in the Freelance Directory can contact Ashley Sommardahl at asommardahl@vcu.edu.


Brandcenter to Hold Five Information Sessions this Fall

Sept. 10, 2013

The Brandcenter is holding five information sessions this fall for anyone interested in our master's program.

* Learn about our 5 tracks: Art Direction, Copywriting, Creative Technology, Communications Strategy, and Creative Brand Management
* Hear from current Brandcenter students on a Q&A panel
* Take a tour of the Brandcenter
* Speak with an admissions representative

Register for the date you wish to attend.

Information Session Dates
2-4pm on Friday, Oct. 11th Register
6-8pm on Wednesday, Nov. 13th Register
2-4pm on Friday, Nov. 15th Register
2-4pm on Friday, Dec. 6th Register
6-8pm on Tuesday, Dec.10th Register

Location
VCU Brandcenter Lecture Hall
103 S. Jefferson Street
Richmond, VA 23284

Parking
Guests who will be driving may either street park for free along Cary or Canal, which run along either side of our building, or pay to park in the visitor's lot (JL Lot) on 200 W. Cary Street.

Questions?
Contact Admissions Coordinator Hawley Smyth, smythh@vcu.edu.

Can't make it to any of these sessions?
Schedule a one-on-one meeting with Admissions Coordinator Hawley Smyth: smythh@vcu.edu.

We look forward to meeting you!

See Admissions >

Fall 2013 Friday Forum Schedule Posted

Sept. 6, 2013

 

The VCU Brandcenter Fall 2013 Friday Forum Schedule [PDF] is posted and we are thrilled to have such an exceptional line-up this semester.

For more information on our speakers, visit our Friday Forum page.

Brandcenter Welcomes the Class of 2015

Aug. 23, 2013

 

This week the VCU Brandcenter was thrilled to welcome 108 first year students, its largest class yet.

Here's a little about the Class of 2015:

Average Age: 25
44% Female
56% Male

52% In-state
48% Out-of state
7% International

18 from VCU
9 from UVA
7 from UNC
Most popular undergrad majors: Advertising and Business Administration

Average GPA: 3.25
Average GRE score (for those that had to take it): 306
Average GMAT score: 543

Brandcenter Welcomes Geoff Mcgann, Newest Creative Faculty Member

Aug. 22, 2013

 

Geoff McGann

Geoff McGann's initial career began as an advertising major at Art Center College of Design in Pasedena, California. From there he was hired at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, where he was one of the initial, principal creative forces behind the "Just Do It' campaign, which he worked on for eight years with responsibilities as both a writer and art director.

Geoff left Wieden in 1997, working as a freelance creative, as well as developing his fine-art design and poetry, which has been shown at exhibitions in NYC, Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles.

In 2005, Geoff was elected as writer/creative director at Public Interest, a non-profit advertising agency/production company dedicated solely to socially-aware, cause-marketing initiatives, funded by The Gates Foundation (Amnesty, AIDS-AID, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Wounded Warriors.)

From 2010 - 2012, Geoff held the writer/CD position at 72andSunny, working on in-house clients as well as managing the program director position at 72U, the in-house advertising and communications school.

Geoff also served as interim co-director at Wieden + Kennedy 12, the in-house advertising school at Wieden + Kennedy.

Class of 2013 up to 84% Job Placement

Aug. 1, 2013

Congratulations to the Class of 2013 who has already reached an 84% job placement rate as of Aug. 1st. The students graduated May 11th.

Here's where they will be working...

Communications Strategy
Mohammad Al Robain - Campbell-Ewald
Sloane Beaver  - Mullen Boston
Anna Bedineishvili - Pereira & O'Dell
Harper Bokum-Fauth - Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Chris Brumleve - Lowe Campbell-Ewald
Lisa Guadagni - Mullen LA
Cristina Hall - Y&R Chicago
Kayte Hamilton - Brado Creative Insight
Rilee Harman - LPK (Cincinnati)
AJ Hickcox - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Sara Lezama - Pereira & O'Dell
Kirstie Maryott - Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Annie Pryatel - Barefoot Proximity (Cincinnati)
Brad Perry - Create Digital
Johnny Roelofs - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Kevin Rosen - Lowe Campbell-Ewald
Gerhard Steine - CP+B LA
Zack Stergar - Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Tom Vassallo - Erwin Penland

Art Direction
Parker Bell - The Richards Group
Cory Bowles - Fallon
Sam Cantor - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Kelsie Clegg - POSSIBLE Seattle
Corey de Groot - Disney's Yellow Shoes
Danielle Delph - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Max Gustofson - Apple
Cori Johnson - McKinney New York
Chris Kim - McKinney New York
Richard Lutz - Fallon
Zack Madrigal - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Erynn Mattera - Energy BBDO
Kara Noble - Mullen Boston
Cody Pate - McKinney New York
Mauricio Perez - Mullen Boston
Jon Robbins - Wieden + Kennedy New York
Malone Roberts - 180LA
Allison Sobolewski - Walrus
Tyler Wriston - Mother New York

Copywriting
Gary Baker - McGarrah Jessee
Maddison Bradley - Wieden + Kennedy New York
Daniel Chen - 180LA
Ian Downey - Walrus
Mary Gross - BooneOakley
Faye Ibars - DraftFCB Chicago
Andrew Kong - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Michelle Lamont - 360i
Chris Martin - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Matt Meszaros - Deutsch LA
Zac Milner - McKinney New York
Kai Neddersen - Mullen Boston
Don Principe - Mcgarrybowen Chicago
Christina Semak - Cavalry Chicago
Matt Skibiak - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Adam Tetreault - Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Katlyn Williams - Capital One
Megan Winterhalter - Fallon

Creative Brand Management
Abbey Birsch - Target
Jenn Clinehens - AT&T Innovation
Cameron Ferrin - M&M/ Mars
Sarah Garman - CP+B Boulder
Russ Gottwald - Operation Bedlam - political strategy firm/ issue advocacy
Emily Kennedy - POSSIBLE Seattle
Elizabeth Maksim - The Richards Group
Katy Nash - CP+B Miami
Whitney Newman - Target
Hunter Pechin - Health Warrior
Lacy Quarles - Clear Channel Outdoor
Kerith Rae - ICF International
Mike Razim - Weiden + Kennedy Portland
Jessica Sartoretto - Made Movement

Creative Technology
Olivia Abtahi - Mullen San Francisco
John Briney - Translation
Christina Chern - Mullen San Francisco
Chelsea Garber - R/GA New York
Ted Makarewicz - Redscout SF
Fitz Maro - 360i
Nick Marx - 72andSunny
Charles Merritt - 80 amps
Kiera Rooker - Made Movement