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July 1, 2020

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Brandcenter Welcomes Holly Hessler, Copywriting Professor

VCU Brandcenter welcomes Holly Hessler as the program's newest copywriting professor. Holly is returning to Brandcenter from McCann, where she worked as Executive Creative Director, though her career spans a variety of agencies and clients. 

After graduating from the Brandcenter, Holly moved to LA to work at 72andSunny on brands such as Nike and Bugaboo, Chiat LA on Crate&Barrel and Diet Pepsi, Deutsch on Target, and finally, Media Arts Lab on Apple. In 2018, Holly moved to NYC to work at McCann on Verizon.

In an interview with our communications team, Holly talks about her love of inner-office planking contests and what she would tell herself as a Brandcenter student if she could go back in time.


Is there a place or time where you get your best ideas?

Whenever I'm surrounded by other creative people. The ping-pong of collaboration is exhilarating and can happen anyplace and anytime. But, if I had to choose, I'd pick Palm Springs around cocktail hour.

Do you have any other work rituals or creative rituals?

Planking contests, in-office tennis, fashion shows, DIY nail salons. Luckily, we don't get paid to follow the rules.

Let's pretend that you have a sanity closet, filled with all of the things that keep you sane. What's in the closet?

Yoga classes. Coffee. Music. Heated car seats. Books. Barney's sale rack (RIP).

Do you have an inventory of experiences you pull from to help you teach?

Sure. Teaching is all about sharing experiences with the hope that they provide a shortcut for your students, or at least an entertaining anecdote.

If you were to go back in time, and have a conversation with yourself while you were at Brandcenter, what would you say? What would you do-over or experience again?

Your creativity and who you are are inextricably linked. When you put your work out there for the world to consider, some people aren't going to like it and that's going to hurt. Don't be afraid to feel that sting. Be yourself unapologetically. Trying to do work that doesn't reflect who you are is like trying to rid yourself of your shadow- it's impossible unless you're standing in the dark. And who wants to spend their career standing in the dark?


Thanks Holly, and welcome back to Brandcenter!