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Experiencing Ad Agency Life Before Graduation

Young & Hungry reflects the Academy’s advertising program as well as the industry. The agency is structured within two class sections of ADV 498: Collaborative Project. Students interview for a spot in the class, much like they would for an entry-level position after graduating. The class functions as a working advertising agency, allowing students to learn functions and workflows, budgeting, account servicing, how to meet clients’ needs and how to pursue new business. Students work in teams to create ads and campaigns for real clients that have included Sonnen BMW, SpoonRocket, Tommy’s Margarita Mix, San Francisco Tourism, the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Habitat for Humanity, the Washington Nationals and ridesharing app GetAround.

Students take on roles that align with their emphasis of study—including art direction, copywriting and strategy—but are also exposed to all agency roles. “They’re trained from the beginning of the program to understand all the disciplines,” says Associate Director of Art Direction & Industry Development James Wojtowicz, who serves as Young & Hungry’s creative director. “Sometimes a copywriter may help with strategy and a strategist may help with video production.

“One of the other things students get out of this experience is understanding the collaborative process. It’s often easy to work in isolation for a class. But when students are part of a team, and that team needs them to be there for meetings and to be productive in their roles, they’re responsible to the team, and their awareness of that builds up.”

But without a doubt, the most valuable thing students gain is experience working with real clients. “It’s just not something you can really get in a classroom,” Wojtowicz says. “The participants build up confidence as they get exposure to real clients. The clients are real people, expecting real results for the time and money they’re investing.”

Students working at Young & Hungry can use the semester to gain professional experience in their chosen area of emphasis or try their hand at multiple agency roles:

Art Director
Art directors are responsible for communicating a clear, unique and interesting idea about a brand or product. They create visual elements for ads across mediums, and apply strategy, concept and visual communication techniques to an ad.

Copywriters compose the written messages that communicate a clear idea about a product or brand, employing their knowledge of voice, tone, grammar, structure and vocabulary.

Agency strategists conduct research-focused projects and help devise communication tools to inform and inspire creative teams. They manage the flow of information, foster strong teams, and advise clients on business strategy.

Production Artist
Production artists work closely with advertising teams to execute designs and layouts. They complete technical builds and all creative assets of a project.

Young & Hungry: Experiencing Ad Agency Life Before Graduation

Student Spotlight

Former U.S. Marine Chad Jenkins came to the Academy as an aspiring photographer. As he approached his final semesters in the School of Photography, he decided to take classes in the School of Advertising. He was the first photography major to work at Young & Hungry, and it was this experience that led him to realize he wanted to pursue a career in advertising. Today he works as a successful art director and photographer and has directed campaigns for the Better Business Bureau and the Agricultural Institute of Marin and has photographed Larry King and Anthony Bourdain.

As Young & Hungry’s only Photography major, Jenkins assumed the role of in-house photographer and production manager, working with multiple student teams and clients. “I feel I had a very important role in the inner workings of the class and gained valuable tools from the experience. It prepared me for what it’s like for a commercial photographer to work with an advertising agency,” he says.

Jenkins’ participation was beneficial for his fellow students as well. “Chad came in and exposed the ad students to how photographers think and move through a project, which is a very valuable thing,” says Wojtowicz.

The relationships Jenkins developed during his time at Young & Hungry also led to eventual collaborations outside the class. “I highly recommend reaching out to the other departments at the Academy to collaborate on projects,” he advises. “The students and instructors have endless amounts of talent and knowledge to take advantage of. I worked with over 40 young art directors who have all graduated and are out in the real world now. I’m still in touch with them, and needless to say, I am a very busy photographer!”

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