Over twitter I asked if anyone had taken part in Advertising Week Canada’s Next Generation day last Wednesday. Luckily Thomas Gaylor a student from the Sheridan College postgraduate advertising program answered the call and this was how it went. I kept it as it was written, for the most part and enjoy his experience throughout Advertising Week Canada’s Next Gen day.
We started off the day by arriving at the ROM for a meet and greet with the other students from about 8am until 8:45am. Coffee and some snacks were provided and it gave us a good chance to meet a few other people who would also be attending the Next Generation Day events.
We were then taken inside the theater and were spoken to by a few different people about advertising as a profession as well as their own experiences as far as breaking into the business. It then led into a panel discussion featuring Matthew Diamond (Hunter Straker), Maddie Gauthier (Bos), Farah Altoumah, Mark Weisbarth (Due North), Chris Leendertse (Publicis), and Cameron Wykes (Baby Robot).
A series of questions were asked particularly about breaking into the industry and concerns about students coming into the industry. They all spoke highly about it as a career choice but mentioned several times that it’s often hard to break in and take a lot of networking and persistence.
We were then screened a movie called ‘Art and Copy‘ which featured many of the pioneers of the advertising world as well as many of the eccentric geniuses that helped to mould the industry into what it is today. I personally thought it was very interesting and thought it was a good way to spend the last hour we had at the ROM that morning.
We then met up with our teams of about 10 to head off to our assigned agencies. I was placed in the Due North Communications group along with 5 other Sheridan College Advertising Students and 4 others. We were very pleased to learn that we would be spending the day with Mark Weisbarth who was a speaker at that morning’s panel discussion.
We were joined by two others from the agency who worked on the accounts side and creative. After a great pizza lunch we began to first speak about real issues currently facing the agency. We brainstormed ideas and helped give them perspective on how we thought certain problems could be approached. We were told that we participated in a session that is quite commonly held in the operations of an agency so it was great to experience that firsthand especially with the CEO of the agency.
The second half of our meeting was a general Q&A which again mostly centered on breaking into the industry as well as what to look out for when we do land an opportunity. We concluded the visit with a quick tour of the Due North office before heading out to take a quick break before we went to the meet and greet at Marben, a bar on found on Wellington.
Overall I truly felt that this was a great learning experience especially for students looking to break into the industry. While every agency visit, I’m sure, was different, I couldn’t be more pleased with what our group personally got out of spending the day with Due North. Being able to spend the day with the CEO especially gave us a lot more insight in what management looks for when hiring students and what they expect when they break in.
We spoke about issues directly facing the agency which gave us a great insight into how meetings are conducted and how to conduct yourself in a professional brainstorming session. We learned a lot of theory in all of our classes, but there is no substitute for hands on experience and that’s something we got a lot of on Next Generation Day.
If there was anything that you would change about Next Generation what would it be?
There would be very few things I would change about the day. A few logistics things could be ironed out: it took us about 45 minutes to get our coats at coat check after the screening and a better job of introducing students with each other at the beginning (name tags?) would have helped. Also, an 8am start was quite early especially as many students were coming from out of town (one student I spoke with woke up at 4am to drive in from Waterloo!). Overall though I think the day was a great success and I would 100% recommend it to any student interested in the industry as a career choice!
So that was his take on things, thanks again to Thomas aka (@ThomasMacG & @AdvertisersAnon on twitter) for sharing his experiences from the day’s events and if anyone else has anything else to add let us know in the comments below.