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Portfolio Night In Canada (Ottawa)

Posted on May 31, 2005 and read 4,846 times

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Sponsorship scandals and greedy bureaucrats aside, there’s a small but proud community of advertising professionals in Ottawa. Away from hustle and bustle of the Big Smoke down the 401 to the 416 (in the middle of a most ‘convenient’ taxi labour dispute) ihaveanidea’s Portfolio Night in Canada came to Ottawa. Why hold Portfolio Night in Ottawa? Because in the spirit of ihaveanidea’s mandate events like this exist for a community of national and international creative minds. The goal is to help all creatives, far and wide, not only build better books, but is to build a more progressive, innovative creative community, respected and revered across the world. Like Molson’s new campaign – it starts here (and everywhere for that matter, including Ottawa).

The event was held in the historic Byward Market at one of the most delicious lounges in town – the Empire Grill. At six sharp people started arriving, and by six thirty (Tony thanks for coming out …wink, wink) with drinks and portfolios in hand, the game began.

The advertising students were nervous, and although they weren’t being reviewed by the likes of Chris Staples or Paul Lavoie, they were about to have their most polished, honed ideas – reviewed and possibly destroyed in a horrible, fiery death. Criticism is not something most people like experiencing – or actively search out for that matter (unless you’re a self-masochist – which I would theorize most creatives are) – but this is Portfolio Night in Canada and criticism – constructive criticism – is what it’s all about.

I collected the troops after finding the poor soul that went MIA (we thought perhaps he might have wet himself and ran home to change) did my little song and dance – and we were off.

Five rounds, a perpetually growing bar tab and way too many canapés later, I sat down at the end of the night with some students to discuss (and rehash) their experience. As I flipped through the books I was permitted to see I asked the juniors what they thought of the event. One common theme resonated – no pain, no gain. Like one student said, “although I got destroyed I learned something”. One student however, didn’t have such a fulfilling experience and according to one Creative Director – he simply “hadn’t learned” from the last review; he left early not to return to Portfolio Night or maybe even advertising.

Everyone although bruised and battered agreed that although it’s tough to get shit on, in this industry you have to get used to it – and fast. You need to believe in your ideas and be confident, persuasive and justified in your presentation. Without it – you’re toast. Portfolio Night in Canada aims to teach students and junior across this great land (Ottawa included) those very skills, as it’s the only way to move forward in Ottawa, Canada and beyond.

A special thanks goes out to Laurie Near from First Light, Sean MacPhedran from Fuel Industries, Sarah Roncarelli from The Intersection, Robyn Heaton from Algonquin College, our esteemed Creative Directors and aspiring creatives. It’s people like you that will help spawn a new generation of creatives and possibly bring advertising in Ottawa to new, exciting levels.


Emily Bergeron
Ottawa Editor
ihaveanidea






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