The ad industry has been hard hit by the pandemic as we’ve seen layoffs continue. Among those impacted are aspiring talents, who’ve lost internships or proper access to educational opportunities. So a group of creatives is trying to offer a bit of relief to young talents by bringing advertising school to them—on Reddit.
Starting on June 1st on over the course of twelve weeks, the r/Advertising School will bring to budding creatives lessons across a range of advertising disciplines, including copywriting, art direction, production, media planning, design and more.
Billed as a "community-driven advertising program," it will tap an industry pro of director level or above to present a lesson each week in their area of expertise to up to 50 students through video conference. Each class will consist of a half hour of lecture and 15 minutes of discussion, and then the instructor will issue an assignment. Though the live video conference lectures will be open to 50 students, afterwards, they’ll immediately be posted on Reddit at r/Advertising, so any community member will be able to participate. Any student who completes the assignment can submit it for review, and members of the R/Advertising will provide feedback.
So far, confirmed teachers hail from agencies including Goodby Silverstein and Partners, Grey, Truth and Consequences, production company Tool and companies including Apple. Students interested in applying to the school can do so on the r/Advertising School site.
The school is the idea of Dan Greener, a writer at Goodby Silverstein and Partners, Joe Federer, the former head of brand strategy at Reddit, freelance art director Shannon Smith and fellow Goodby creatives Neha Guria and Edward King.
Greener and Federer had met at a Reddit workshop and bumped into each other on the advertising subreddit. Federer moderates the r/Advertising community and had hosted some happy hours, where Greener says they noticed that about a quarter of attendees were students with plenty of questions about the industry.
“We thought it would be cool to formalize these—bring in a few pros way smarter than we are to educate the community and beyond,” he says. “And then with COVID, people started losing their jobs and internship, and we thought now would be the best time to provide this sort of free resource to a community already struggling to get back on its feet.”
The founders all had varying ad school experiences. Between them, they attended VCU Brandcenter, Art School—SCAD, Australia’s Award School—or had no formal portfolio school at all. “We thought it would be really helpful for students to hear from different practitioners across the industry to help them decide what they actually wanted to do before they spend tens of thousands of dollars committing to portfolio school,” Greener says. “Maybe we could get students who wouldn’t have ordinarily considered a career in advertising into the game—or help folks who are struggling to get a leg up.”