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How’d You Get In: David Houghton

Posted on January 13, 2009 and read 1,996 times

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This week we check in with Y&R Toronto, Vice President and Creative Director, David Houghton. After school he did what I think a lot of students could benefit from, he didn’t get an agency job – on purpose. While not everyone has the opportunity to go out on a European tour with the Cowboy Junkies, going out and getting life experience is always an option – if you really want it.

Even today, David the poster boy for work life balance. Being an avid cyclist he has been known to take weeks or even months off at a time to participate in bike races across Canada, the US and even Africa.

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davidh Howd You Get In: David Houghton






• David circa 1978 •

During my four years studying Advertising Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design, I’d been moonlighting and making a few bucks playing music. I’d gone from playing ‘Girl From Ipanema’ in scummy hotel lounges to playing with some heavyweight artists like Cowboy Junkies.

As I was completing my final year at school, the Junkies invited me to join them on a tour of Europe. So what if I’d miss my graduation? After four years of academia, I was ready for sex, or drugs, or rock & roll, whichever the tour could provide. I took off two months before graduation and traveled through England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. It was an education – with a per diem.

When I came back, I figured I’d have to hit the pavement with my measly little advertising portfolio. But there was a message on my answering machine. It was from Karen Howe, Associate Creative Director at Cossette, the biggest agency in Canada at the time. Seems all the best young students from my year at school had been snapped up, and she’d been trying to track me down for two months.

I called Karen back and we met for lunch. Before I’d finished my grilled chicken, she offered me a job. It was preposterously easy. By making myself scarce, I’d become valuable. And I still had some leftover drugs in my pocket.






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