Advertiser shares life lessons
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 08:10
Jason Bender went from being a college graduate working at Kinko’s to finding success in advertising, and he came to West Virginia University to share this experience.
Bender is the executive creative director at RockFish Interactive, one of the world’s leading advertising firms.
The title of Bender’s lecture in Ming Hsieh Hall Thursday was "10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me."
He shared his stories of success and encouraged the student crowd to stay creative, take opportunities and work toward achieving their goals.
"It’s weird the world is not waiting for English graduates to come out and do literary critiques for a living," Bender said. "I wanted to think s––– up for a living, keeping that in mind drove me to make the right choice a couple of years down the line."
Bender was discovered by Jim Ebel, Professor of Integrated Marketing at WVU and President of Center Brain Partners, the position consulting firm from which Bender’s career took off.
"My designer was at a Kinko’s one night and said – this guy is kind of smart you’d want to talk to him," Ebel said. "He was clay ready to be molded. He was willing to do anything and that really made a big difference for me."
Today Bender handles campaigns for some major corporations, the names of which he wished to keep private.
Bender took opportunities as they came and didn’t hesitate to take initiative on his own.
During one frustrating moment in his career, Bender asked his boss if there were any accounts that she didn’t want.
She gave him a job for a healthcare multi–brand.
"It took about three months to turn it into an actual thing. For the agency, it turned into millions of dollars over the course of the six- or eight-year span," Bender said. "It all came from me saying – I’m frustrated; how can I take something that somebody else doesn’t want and just make it good, because I got a lot of creative energy to throw at this."
Bender stressed academics don’t matter if you don’t know how to execute what you want to create.
"If I was standing in front of a room full of people at Harvard, I would say ‘I’m really sorry but it’s not going to matter as much as you think it’s going to matter’, " Bender said.
"They are much more interested in your portfolio and see if you can get your head around whatever it is that you’re trying to get into."
The lecture ended with a Q&A, in which students sought inspiration
and advice about succeeding, specifically in advertising.
"He was just a big deal," said Carly Stefanelli, an advertising student. "I feel like everything he talked about was pretty inspiring for my future."