Speed-dating for creatives


Portfolio Night, a global event which took place on 21 May, is a creative hub
where aspiring young advertising professionals are given the opportunity to
meet with renowned advertising creative directors in a fast-paced evening of
advice, networking and recruitment.

For the second year, global marketing solutions company McCann, presented
the event in South Africa and for the first time, invited Cape Town to join
Johannesburg as a host city.

Pierre Odendaal, Chief Creative Officer at McCann Johannesburg, had previously
been involved in The Art Directors Club Portfolio Night concept whilst working at
Razorfish in New York and felt South Africa was ready for a creative rumble.
“We chose to host this event because nothing like this existed in South Africa –
something that spoke directly to communication-based students. From a
grassroots level Portfolio Night makes a big impact to students studying
communication in South Africa at the various institutions across the country,’
says Odendaal, who believes the event aids in upping the industry ante in terms
of quality and international perspective.

At each South African Portfolio Night roughly 170 students had their work
reviewed by approximately 56 creative directors and executive creative directors
from around the country – a massive opportunity for any emerging copywriter,
art director or designer.

Odendaal comments, “Imagine this, you’re a young student about to enter the
creative industry in six months or so and the very people that spearhead and
drive this country’s advertising and creative industry – the gods, so to speak –
are offering you the opportunity to share the fruits of your labour from the past
two or three years of study in the form of your portfolio, and get some amazing
advice that can secure you that dream job later. I mean, who wouldn’t be
chomping at the bit?’

The feedback from creative directors who participated in the event has been
positive and inspiring. Not only is it apparent that Portfolio Night is growing in
interest, attendance and concept with each edition, but McCann also received a
number of compliments from creative leaders who were pleased that they were
able to impact on the next generation of talent.

“It is very important to the South African market because it shows that we care
as an industry and that we want to all get involved and uplift the level of
creativity and ideas in this market of ours. I would even go so far as to add that
internationally we as South Africans also send a message to the rest of the
world that we are keen to be seen as being on the cusp of what is taking place
creatively too,’ concludes Odendaal.


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