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Friday Forum

Headshot of Brian Bennett
Friday, Oct. 12
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

VCU Commons Theater
907 Floyd Avenue

Brian Bennett

Vice President Executive Creative Director, Carhartt

Topic: Don't make ads - make what you LOVE a story worth sharing.

When we die, nobody will obsess over the ads we made. Or at the least, let me be blunt, I hope ads are the last thing people are talking about at my funeral. If we’re purposeful in what we want to create, if we’re dedicated to the journey and who we take it with, then, and only then, will our creativity and art leave a legacy that truly matters.


VP Executive Creative Director at Carhartt. Assistant Kid Wrangler and husband to a beautiful wife who gave him three insanely awesome and uncontainable children. Meat-eating, red-blooded American patriot. Lover of life’s rugged corners and curious conversations.

Brian grew up the son of a cop and a saint. Born in your average, dysfunctional, blue collar, Irish Catholic, smart-ass family on the Southside of Chicago, Brian’s pretty sure his hometown can beat up your hometown. Which is fitting since he now lives in a happy-go-lucky college bubble (U of Michigan - Ann Arbor). He’s pleasantly surrounded by book nerds and passive aggressive know it alls. Or ‘Easy Town’ as his dad likes to remind him.

Brian balances his current lack of manhood by overcompensating with stories of his H.S. boxing and college football glory days. He’ll tell you his athletic gifts are the reason W+K hired him to work on Nike - but the truth is they only chose him because he sent them a case of beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Luck of the Irish aside, his first Nike ad he wrote was about his dad for the Chicago marathon - but his favorite ad he helped write was a ‘Just Do It’ World Series ad about the White Sox and his precious Southside of Chicago.

A true believer in mixing cold beer with great stories, he’ll proudly point out that’s how he helped Corona launch ‘Find Your Beach.' His wife will tell you despite his beach writing vibes, there’s not an ounce of cool left in him as his kids unravel him daily. Tough, yet sensitive, that's him (according to him).

Brian claims to like poetry and gardening and shopping for dresses for his two little girls. Yet he's man enough to remind you he'd rather be in his backyard drinking Redbreast whiskey, throwing axes and smoking a beef brisket. In reality, he’s just fine playing legos with his kids. When he’s not watching, coaching or throwing a football, he occasionally gets recognized for his day job. He's won an Effie, a Clio, 3 Cannes Lions and a credit on Kobe Bryant’s Oscar winning animated short story. He and his son are most proud of the hardware they won for coaching his son’s undefeated flag football team last year.

Having the right perspective on life means everything to Brian. So do chicken wings. In fact, he probably just ate chicken wings so keep that in mind when you shake his extremely manly hand (a set of hands that his dad will tell you, ‘have never fixed a god damn thing in his life’).

And no matter how much free Carhartt Brian gives his dad, his dad still can’t believe they let his son help run Carhartt - and that alone makes Brian very happy.