Below is an excerpt from an article I Have an Idea did with a couple CD's @ Wieden + Kennedy:
ihaveanidea: What about the skill sets of copywriters and art directors who are responsible for making this kind of 'non-traditional' work. Is anything changing?
Todd: I would say you need to have a very intimate knowledge of almost every one of the clients that we have. We want someone who has authority in some specific area in their industry. We feel it's important to have a level of specialization, a level of knowledge as it relates to what they are doing.
So in answering the question, when we are looking for a team or a person that would be working on ESPN, they absolutely need to know and love sports. You know, it's one thing to be an interesting typographer, but it's another to be a really great designer and love basketball.
So I think what's changed is the need for expertise and enthusiasm in a lot of different areas, it isn't just, "I have a really good book from an ad school", it's more "Here's what I'm interested in as a person, here's what I'm passionate about and I'm looking for a place to provide a kind of stage so that my passion can play itself out". And that means that we don't always hire people from ad schools, we hire people who are smart and curious and want to say something. That area could be playwriting, that area could be architecture. We have a playwriter who never went to ad school and who is probably one of the most successful writers here, we have a guy who got his degree in architecture who is also working in our creative department.
We don't want ad people to make ads, we want interesting people to bring what they love and their expertise to our conversation.
ihaveanidea: Kevin, you're a VCU Adcenter graduate. What role did VCU Adcenter play in shaping your career and leading you to finally become co-CD at WK?
Kevin: At VCU, I developed my craft and my understanding of the business in an environment that, because there were planners and account people on every project, was very focused on creative solutions to business issues and not just advertising gags. Two years ago VCU added a media planning track - so now every creative who graduates from the program will have spent four semesters working alongside both a strategic and a media planner. It's a far cry from the days when a student book was a condom campaign, a guitar store campaign and a bunch of funny headlines. How has this helped me? I think it's a lot easier to take that approach from the beginning instead of trying to reorient mid-career.
(-) Do you want a book showing more great/unique strategy? Or one more focused on killer executions?
(-) Do you want brands that you're supreamly passionate about? Do you want brands that are somewhat "studenty" but are executed in great/unique ways? Or do you want really, really hard brands? All the above?
(-) To what extent do you want to show your ability to think outside traditional media?