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How’d You Get In: Bruce Bildsten

Posted on May 27, 2009 and read 4,202 times

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A big thank you goes out to Bruce Bildsten’s cousin. Without him we might not have BMW Films. Or the infamous PBS ‘Stay Curious’ campaign. Or any of the other inspiring pieces that Bruce has touched over the years. It was at a Tom McElligott speaking event that Bruce was inspired to change his major and it was his cousin who brought him there.

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bruce Howd You Get In: Bruce Bildsten

 

 

 

 

 

I was studying architecture at the University of Minnesota when my cousin asked me to join him at the journalism school to hear this guy named Tom McElligott speak. I did and then immediately decided to change my major. After graduation I called Tom to see if I could show him my book.  This was the 80’s, so the book consisted of my own very rough sketches and copy that was created on a typewriter and pasted on.  Very slick.  At the time, Tom was the CD at Bozell and Jacobs and invited me over.  He seemed to find a glimmer of something because he invited me back. Then he invited me back again.

But as much as I wanted to work for Tom, I wasn’t confident I was actually going to get a job offer. And I was broke. So I took another offer, at a completely forgettable agency. A few weeks later, Fallon McElligott Rice was announced. I always suspected that Tom was actually looking for cheap labor for his new agency during those interviews, but even when I finally landed at Fallon a few years later, I never asked him.

As for how I found my way back to Fallon McElligott Rice, that’s another story. While at my first agency job I was interested in another local creative shop headed by Joe Duffy called DKO. They had a great campaign of long-copy (think Neil French long) full-page newspaper ads they were running for a local clothing company. The ads had such a strong following that DKO decided to host a “write an ad” contest, which I was lucky enough to win. When Joe decided a year and half later to start his graphic design firm –The Duffy Group- under Fallon’s wing, he invited me to join him.  After a year I made the move over to Fallon, where I stayed for a couple of decades.






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