There’s a well-worn path to becoming an ad agency creative. Undergrad, portfolio school, internship, entry-level—deviate and the industry becomes much more difficult to break into.
But for the past three years, BBDO New York has been quietly running an innovative program to recruit talent from beyond the usual pipelines. Initially conceived as a diversity program, the Creative Residency has expanded its purview to cover diversity of thought and experience—DJs, science fiction writers or creatives who had never considered advertising as a career— while shepherding 12 people into full-time jobs. And this year, the program is going national.
This year’s residents include Raymond Li, a painter and photographer who’s worked on new business accounts at MediaCom, and Storm Smith, a deaf filmmaker and motivational speaker. The third resident, Andy Deaza, has a more traditional advertising background, with experience at Miami Ad School and agencies like JWT, FCB, McCann and SpikeDDB.