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What David Droga wants to see in a Copywriter's Portfolio


In an interview with David Droga, Founder and Creative Chairman of Droga5, New York; from "Breaking In... Over 100 Advertising Insiders Reveal How To Build A Portfolio That Will Get You Hired" - Interviews By William Burks Spencer.

When asked about what senior Creatives would like to see in portfolios, David Droga answered:

"WS: What do you look for in a student book? And what impressed you?

DD: It depends on what needs we have. For me, the most important thing is - and there’s a couple of high-level generic things-but ill dill down. Obviously there’s no question it comes down to their thinking, and the diversity of their thinking, and the originality. I think a lot of students spend their time trying to emulate what’s been done before and to be on a level that’s in sync with the serene agencies that they are going into, or stuff that’s won awards in years gone by. And for me, it’s not about that. For me, it’s about broadness of their thinking and really just seeing how they tackle something in a lateral way.

WS: What about copy for writers? Do you want to see the evidence that they can write?

DD: Definitely. I think copy is one of those things that goes in and out of favor all the time. But as someone who started as a copywriter, I see myself as a writer. i like to know that they understand the craft of writing.

And I want to see their personality. How they write. Because whether it’s long, long copy, or it’s punchy, I still want to see that they understand the best way to convey something in their words. So, definitely. I want creatives to have a skill set. I don’t want everyone to be so neutral that they’re all vanilla.

We don’t have departments as such. It’s pretty integrated here. And people have certain sill sets. So the digital designer sits next to the old-school designer, or whatever you want to call them. But I like to know that people do have skill sets so they can mix it up a bit. I think just having a floor, just of concepters, sounds really exciting for the first phase, but when it’s got to go live, you drop the ball if the nuance parts aren’t crafted. So it depends who you’re looking for. But, first and foremost, it’s the thinking. And then I think it’s a shame that the craft of advertising has disappeared. Because all the best stuff you admire, whichever, wherever it is, there’s still a great craft to it. That’s a shame because a Mac can’t craft something for you, it doesn’t write them for you. So definitely, I like the old-school values with the new-school outlook.

WS: And what do you think about putting things in a book that aren’t ads at all? Just personal work, or art, or journal writing…

DD: I think if it adds dimension to who they are. If it’s just trying to paint them as a wacky, interesting person, maybe. I look around my office and I’ve decorated it with real Chinese contemporary art. It’s a bit of who I am. If it adds some texture to who they are and tells more of a story so I can understand a little bit more about how they think, definitely. But if it’s just things they like and they borrow from, if it doesn’t manifest itself in their work and their thinking, then it’s a distraction."

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