Who are the Ad Wizards?

Teach your children well.

January 31, 2010
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In our Visual Rhetoric class, our discussion touched upon how writing is being taught in college classrooms. We wondered if the writing in academia truly reflected the writing being done in the “real world.”

As a communication arts major at St. John’s University, I knew I wanted to be an advertising copywriter. I figured the work I did in my copywriting classes would give me the content to build my first portfolio. A portfolio for a copywriter is a book that contains samples of the writer’s best ads. Upon graduation, I sent out my portfolio to ad agencies in the New York and Philadelphia areas. More often than not, I didn’t receive any responses. The few responses I did get ran the confidence-shattering gambit, including – “not ready,” “immature,” “need more schooling,” “think of another profession.”

Looking back at my first book, I would agree with most of these assessments. But it wasn’t because of a lack of talent. My book – and as an extension, my schoolwork – didn’t properly reflect my capabilities.

Though my lessons at St. John’s gave me a good foundation and introduction into the ad world, it did not give me the proper support to meet real-world expectations. It was this deficiency that led to change my career goals. Now, I am determined to teach advertising copywriting at the college level. I want to develop a class that allows potential copywriters to walk out with an interview-ready portfolio.