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Chris Bruney, Art Director, DDB Chicago

2 min, 42 sec read
13:00 PM | 18 July 2014

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Chris Bruney is a Mid-level Art Director at DDB Chicago, splitting his time on McDonald’s, Skittles, State Farm, and Capital One. He grew up in Florida, and loves long walks on the beach.

How did your career begin, tell us about your education and the first job you ever landed?

I sort of stumbled into advertising. I feel like I got lost, but somehow ended up in the right place. Through equal parts of dumb luck and amazing guidance from some people I respect greatly, I ended up going to Portfolio School in Atlanta, GA. It was two amazing and sleep deprived years, and when I graduated I had a portfolio I was pretty damn proud of.

What made you want to work in advertising?

I love the chase. The path to finding those ideas that no one has ever done is equal parts frustrating and addicting. 

How did you clinch your first job in advertising?

Hard work and hustle. I graduated at the height of the recession, and in the middle of December, so it was pretty difficult to find places that were hiring. I think I may have emailed every single recruiter in the states. Luckily, I ended up sleeping on a friend’s couch in Chicago, and set up a bunch of meetings over coffee to just get feedback on my book. It didn’t work right away, but my job at DDB was the result of one of those meetings.

What’s been your most memorable moment or piece of work so far?

My most memorable moment was right after my first spot ever aired. My mom was so excited; she had people over to watch it. She called me every single time she saw it for about a week straight.

What’s your role and how might your typical day pan out?

It depends, we have an open creative pool at DDB Chicago, so I’m not tethered to any specific accounts. That means that I also get a pretty diverse mix of traditional and digital projects. So as cliché as it sounds, every day is pretty different. I think the only consistent things are cat videos and spotify.

How would you suggest a student or grad goes about landing a placement/work experience?

1. Don’t give up. This is a busy industry; so if someone doesn’t respond right away, don’t be afraid to email them again. Persistence is key. 

2. Make your book reflective of your personality. In the end, you’re selling you, not the ads in your book. Every portfolio is going to have ads.

Where do you find inspiration?

Now that winter has finally ended here in Chicago, I like to go outside. I’m a very avid people watcher.

If you could share a desk with anyone, who would it be?

Hmm, I’d say it’s a tie between Jim Gaffigan or Emma Stone

In your spare time, what do you get up to?

I play ice hockey, and I’ve recently taken up home brewing beer.

What wisdom would you pass onto others looking to break into advertising?

1.    Don’t be an asshole. That should also be a life mantra.

2.    Your book is never done. It can always get better.

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