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Young Creative Takes 14-Month Tour of Adland

Steve Taylor Aims to Work at 14 Agencies in 14 Cities

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It may not be the next "On the Road," but one agency creative is setting out on a coast-to-coast sojourn to discover the agency world -- and will chronicle his experience along the way.

Steve Taylor
Steve Taylor

Starting in December, Steve Taylor, 28, will be working at 14 agencies in 14 cities for a month at a time and will detail his trip on his blog, The Great Agency Adventure (thegreatagencyadventure.com/). He'd eventually like to turn his writing into a book.

"I just wanted to do something big and not just be another person in the industry," said Mr. Taylor, who worked at several New York agencies including TMP Worldwide, where he was a copywriter. "I wanted to be known for something." That something, he said, is helping young creatives find an agency in a city that's a good fit for them. I'm hoping I can take some guesswork out of that -- maybe help them make a better decision," he said.

To that end, Mr. Taylor said he'll be writing less about his work and more about the people he meets and the things he experiences. He'll focus on creatives, such as designers and writers, "to show how they get their fulfillment out of advertising and their brainstorming processes." He'll also try to illustrate how creative advertising is. "Some designers don't think the ad industry is creative enough, but it is," he said.

So far he's got seven agencies confirmed. His first stop is Cleveland's Recess Creative. In January, he'll be at Beam in Boston; BooneOakley in Charlotte, N.C., in April; Red Deluxe in Memphis, Tenn., in May; Minneapolis' Campbell Mithun in August; 97 Degrees West in Austin in September; and Cowie & Fox in Vancouver in November 2014. Mr. Taylor will be getting paid, but he said he's only asking for $10 an hour. In most cities, he'll be staying with friends or finding housing through Airbnb, a rental website.

Most of the shops on his list will likely be small, and that's by design -- although he does plan to visit one or two big agencies. "I don't want to go to too many bigger agencies, because I know there's going to be a lot more red tape. I've always found the smaller boutique agencies to be more fun. They have more culture."

"He came to us with the idea and within two seconds we were signed on," said Tim Zeller, chief creative officer at Recess Creative, a 10-person shop with clients such as Sony Pictures. "A lot of guys here on the creative side have been around for awhile and worked at a lot of places and had some great experiences. In [this] career you can meet with one person and they'll inspire you and teach you different things and push you."

But how much can a person really learn at an agency when he's there for only a month? "In such a short time you can learn skills of ideation," said Mr. Zeller. "You can spend an hour in a brainstorm with the right person and they can change the way you think."

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