The Mentor Effect

Having taught a lot of portfolio school students, I can say that what most junior creatives want – almost more than anything else – is a good industry mentor.

And having worked in advertising agencies for a long time, I can say most junior creatives aren’t really getting what they want.

So several months ago, I started talking to junior creatives, students and creative directors about their expectations of each other. Turns out there are some gaps no one’s really addressing. That’s “The Mentor Gap,” and you can see what I mean in the SlideShare presentation below. And having a good mentor (or being one) is more than just lucking out or being a good person. There are some ramifications for entire agencies. I call that “The Mentor Effect.”


You can read the whole report here, or just watch the intro below. Since these points apply to portfolio school students, junior creatives, CDs and even agency principals, I think it’s worth discussing. So if you like what you read, feel free to tweet it, post it, share it. Thanks.

http://b.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js?c1=7&c2=7400849&c3=1&c4=&c5=&c6=http://b.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js?c1=7&c2=7400849&c3=1&c4=&c5=&c6=http://b.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js?c1=7&c2=7400849&c3=1&c4=&c5=&c6=http://b.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js?c1=7&c2=7400849&c3=1&c4=&c5=&c6=

Emulation

Years ago I read an interview with Dan Wieden. He said for years he’d been trying to write like Whitman (or was it Faulkner?) and hadn’t got it right. Maybe Wieden’s new Levi’s campaign fulfills that desire in some small way.

Today, I came across the I Write Like site which purportedly analyzes writing and compares it to other literary greats. A few paragraphs from one of our AE’s documents came up with Arthur C. Clarke. Repbulicans and Tea Partiers might be thrilled to know Obama’s Inauguration Speech came up as being George Orwellian. Text from a Sarah Palin speech I found online might have been penned by Dan Brown (minus the cliffhangers). Here’s what I received after plugging in a block of text from my journal:

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I’ve never read any of his work. I’ll have to swing by Barnes & Noble tonight. Any recommendations?

My point in bringing this up is that it’s good to emulate. It’s good to have heroes. It’s good to try to write or art direct or crack jokes or present to clients or play bass or start companies in the same way that some other great person is able to. Not forever. Just until you’re able to find your own voice. (And we’ve got plenty of time to practice finding our own voices. I just read this morning that Carl Sandburg didn’t become famous until he published “Chicago” at age 36.)

Who do you write like?