The Chicago Portfolio School


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What’s in my Office Thursday: Thomas Belmonte

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum Thomas Belmonte, Junior Art Director at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners in the Big Apple.

Check out his advice below:

“Use your time at CPS to develop a sense of hustle. Scour the internets for every free digital resource you can find, twist the ears of whoever will listen and never consider your work done. Its hustle that’ll get you the gig of your dreams. CPS will set up the tee, but it’s up to you to take the swing.”

Take a look at his awesome work:

By heather : April 16, 2015

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Integrated Campaigns vs. 360

Many people I talk to who ask about the industry don’t realize the amount of work that goes into creating just a few advertisements. Campaigns are far more complex than they appear on the surface, and not just because they require a lot of time and thought.

One of the difficulties I notice my peers have, myself included, is distinguishing the difference between a 360 campaign and an integrated campaign. After talking to several instructors and professionals, ranging from juniors to creative directors, I have learned a few things about the key points of both campaign styles. The biggest difference I have come across is that a 360 campaign starts with the brand problem, develops a concept to solve the problem, then finds every single media channel that is best suited to advertise the solution. This is a pretty traditional approach to advertising. You get a brief for, say, Kraft Macaroni. You brainstorm what the selling points of Kraft Macaroni are specifically, or you look at what isn’t being done for the brand that should be. Let’s use Kraft’s current selling point- it’s the cheesiest macaroni that kids love. There’s our concept. Now we go out and in the form of print, digital, OOH, mobile, commercial etc., make clever ads to show that Kraft Macaroni is, in fact, the absolute cheesiest and best macaroni.
This campaign has made a full 360 degree circle with its ads and executions.

An integrated campaign is different because its first execution is developing a big idea that will always be at the center of your campaign. An integrated campaign may or may not have additional executions in the form of print or OOH, but often times it does not. This is confusing, so here is an example of a fantastic integrated campaign.

In 2013, British department store John Lewis launched a holiday campaign called the Hare and Bear. It featured a mini-movie of animated forest creatures getting ready for Christmas but the bear goes to hibernate, much to the dismay of his rabbit friend, the hare. At the end of the video, the hare slips a John Lewis alarm clock into the bear’s cave and he wakes up on Christmas morning for the first time ever, and comes out to see the beautiful tree his friends made. The message: Don’t just give someone a gift for Christmas, give someone the gift of Christmas.

The video went viral and John Lewis ended up making a Hare and Bear story book for kids, Hare and Bear stuffed toys, educational resources, online games, and many more executions, but they all had to do with the Hare and the Bear. This is an integrated campaign. The advertisers started with a message, then tailored the campaign to match the message.

If this were a 360 campaign, John Lewis would have said, “We want to tell people to give the gift of Christmas, not gifts for Christmas”, then they would have ran a print series about giving the gift of Christmas, made a few billboards about the importance of giving, and perhaps they would have made a game where you can give your friends little gifts online.
Both methods of advertising are great, it’s just a matter of learning and choosing which one will be the greatest for your specific campaign. For other examples of integrated campaigns, look up Coca Cola’s Small World Machines, the BGH Big Nose campaign (hilarious by the way), or Snickers You’re Not You When You’re Hungry. You’ll start to see the commonality in integrated delivery. Until next time, I hope this helps with a few projects, and happy comping, my friends.

Written by: Jillian Aramowicz

By heather : April 14, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Prashant Nashi

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum Prashant Nashi, Freelance ACD/Sr. Writer at VML working on Special K and Kellogg’s. He just found out he’s getting kicked out of his desk to make way for a full-timer. It’s cool; he wanted to sit closer to the free food anyway. #freelancelife

Check out his advice below:

“I graduated from CPS in 2009. My first job was at Element79 where I worked on Supercuts, Cricket Wireless, BMO Harris Bank, Cadence Health, Wilson Golf, Greater Than, and American Greetings. After 2 years, I went to gyro as a Sr. Writer and worked on Kimberly-Clark, John Deere, USG, Aon, and Siemens. One morning I realized how bored I was with the routine, so I quit my job and decided to freelance. I’ve been jumping around at most of the agencies in Chicago, and have worked on Tide, Citi, Swiffer, Skoal Tobacco, Swash, and International Trucks. If it’s a form of advertising, the odds are pretty good that I’ve done it.”

“A few things I’d tell current CPSers…
1. Be friends with your teachers. Grab a drink. Shoot the shit. They’re your best resource for getting a job.
2. Develop thick skin. Job hunting isn’t easy. Pitching ideas isn’t easy. You’ll be told “no” a lot. It’s part of the territory.
3. Play well, and never edit an idea until you’re told to. You’re getting paid to think of the weirdest stuff with others.
4. Don’t take advertising so seriously. It’s advertising. We make ads. It’s not life or death. Relax.
5. Most importantly, don’t be a dick. By nature, creatives are 50% pretentious. And that’s fine. But don’t let that creep into your other 50%. The industry is full of people like that. Be one of the nice ones, because people will like working with you, and that’s how you get ahead.”

“My portfolio is at Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or whatever.”

By heather : April 09, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Brian Metzger

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum Brian Metzger, Copywriter at Arc Worldwide.

Check out his advice below:

“During Portfolio School, it’s easy to get caught up in the work of it all. The real stress will be when you finish and actually start looking for a job. If you’re lucky, you’ll find something right away. If you’re like the rest of us, you’ll get some freelance gigs, an internship, all things with a possible end date. You’ll get an interview for a full-time position and you might not get it, so you go back to that part-time job you hate while continuing to search for work.  And then one day your prayers are answered in the form of another interview and you land yourself the job you’ve worked so hard for. What I’m getting at is you should enjoy your time at school instead of staying completely focused on the end goal. Job-hunting takes time, months, and for some delusional reason I didn’t realize that and wished someone would have told me this more often. You and your peers will all work hard and the fact is some of you will get jobs right away while the others hunt for a bit. Doesn’t mean you did something wrong, it’s just the nature of the game. Stay focused and enjoy the fun that can be had at CPS.”

“Once you finally land a job is when the real learning starts to take place. You get the general gist of it all during school, but once you get a real world assignment with all of its obstacles is when you truly start thinking like a creative and you’ll take that experience with you into future projects.”

“Finally, create a book that shows range and your willingness to adapt to different clients. While in school, I put together a campaign for U By Kotex and as a young gay man I virtually knew nothing about periods but wanted to show that I could write in all sorts of tones and styles. I got my interview at Arc Worldwide because one of my creative directors saw my U By Kotex campaign and had a spot to fill on their P&G Fem-Care team. I now write for Tampax and Always, along with a few other P&G brands, and I’ve written materials surrounding Burnett’s “#likeagirl” campaign. It does pay to take on projects that take you out of your comfort zone.”

Take a look at his awesome book:

By heather : April 02, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Jeff Roy

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum Jeff Roy, Associate Art Director at Golin. While at CPS, Jeff’s print ad for Kohler (the one with Jimmy Hendrix) was featured in Lurzer’s Archive student section, and his Square Cash app idea was named Young Glory’s Student Silver!

Check out his advice below:

“First off, I’m an Art Director which means I can’t word, so please bear with me. Just kidding, I’m eloquent as a mofo. I once heard a story about a seed. I can’t really remember the details, but the message was that some seeds stay dormant for years and years before finally sprouting, and rapidly growing into an immense, beautiful and neat tree. It takes the perfect mixture of timing, luck and determination for that tiny seed to finally sprout. But, it will sprout.”

“Think of your time in school as being like that little seed. You may not see that you’re making progress, and think you’re not growing – but you are.  Trust me. So take this time to learn from your mistakes, do the kind of bold work that clients will never buy and just have fun. Soon enough, you’ll all be some big ass redwoods looking back at the CPS days with fond nostalgia.”

“Above all though, be nice to everyone. If you can take one thing away from this rant – it’s to be nice to everyone. Oh, and be like that seed, so two things. Wait. Also, stay neat. Those three things and you’ll be fine. Trust me, I’ve been employed for over 6 months now…”

“P.S. I’m sorry the above got delusional about halfway through. It was finished at 3 am after an 18-hour day. But, I’m still saying being in advertising is worth every minute of stress, every dead idea and every sleepless night. So you know it must be fun.”

“Best of luck and see you all soon when you’re taking my job,
- Jeff.”

Check out Jeff’s talented work here:

By heather : March 26, 2015

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Social Media Obsessed

I went off on a tangent in Jeff’s class once about why I don’t use Snapchat. Basically my argument was, it takes too much time for me to be constantly updating my friends on the complete banality of my daily life and I also don’t have enough time to be constantly updated on the banality of theirs, either. I tried it before. But Snapchat doesn’t do anything for me.

The problem with our generation is that we are so plugged into to all these different outlets that allow us to share every detail of our lives that I don’t think we’re paying that much attention to our actual lives. We aren’t living for moments anymore, we’re living for uploads. I can guarantee you the next concert you attend, a good chunk of the audience is going to watch it through their crappy phone camera, trying to get a good picture for Instagram instead of actually enjoying the show.

We’ve created an entire social brand in our society of overly stimulated narcissism that keeps growing constantly. With the amount of social sharing apps my generation uses, I feel like the protocol for doing anything is, “Let me post about my day on Facebook, then send a tweet, then text all my friends to check out my posts, then send them all a Snap of my face with a caption that has nothing to do with my face, then post it to Instagram, check my Gmail, my Hangouts, my Pinterest boards, my Yik Yak, my Tumblr, see if I matched with anyone on Tinder, check my texts real quick, then update my Snapchat story with 125 seconds of me doing nothing! I’ll repeat this for the rest of the day.” How did we find people before smartphones? Did we actually make plans and commit to them, then spend the time enjoying each other’s company while making eye contact and having real conversations? That sounds great.

Some of these apps are fun. I use a handful of them and fully understand around two of them. I think Tinder is creepy. I’m still not entirely sure how I’m supposed to be reading Tumblr comments. When I set up Uber, it said to hold your card in the red box and it would scan automatically and I physically laid my phone down and put my card on the red box on my screen. In my defense, wine. I made a Vine once. But for the most part, I like to keep up on my social media. I just think in some cases, we’ve gotten to the point where we are more attached to our phones than to the people we’re sending the content to. We should give it a rest sometimes.

Social media is certainly in no danger of being a dying trend in pop culture anytime soon, and I feel that it should be embraced to its full potential. But there is a thin line between being connected and being conceited, and the millennial generation is flirting with it. Thanks for listening, readers, I needed to get that off my chest. Now stop reading this blog on the Internet where I ironically shared my opinions about people sharing their opinions on the Internet and go play outside. There’s still snow on the ground.

Written by CPS Blogger: Jillian Aramowicz

By heather : March 24, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Cassidy Pazyniak

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet recent CPS alum Cassidy Pazyniak, Copywriting Intern at Edelman.

Check out her advice below:

“I’m giving you CPS advice that’s basically life advice, so think of me as Chicken Soup for the Soul.  The books, not the meal.  #TBT.”

“I came from a job that did nothing to stimulate my mind.  Maybe we all need to work at something we don’t really enjoy before we’re allowed to do what we love – because then you feel this gratitude.  To go to school every day with funny people, to spend your days creating, to stand at the front of a class and realize just how bad an idea is when you say it out loud, and for the free basket of pretzels at Ocals.” 

“This gratitude you feel, it has to drive you.  Not to be better than anyone, because you will see at school and in the real world, there is so much talent all around you.  The only person you’re trying to be better than is the ‘you’ from a quarter..a week..a day ago.”

“It can’t be said enough. The love you give is the love you get – in your work, in your art director/copywriter relationship, in your life.  So feel gratitude for this opportunity and then love the crap out of it.”

“God speed you talented mf’ers.”

Take a look at her awesome book:

Follow her on Twitter: @CassPaz

By heather : March 19, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Diana Ahn

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum Diana Ahn, Designer at Slalom Consulting.

Check out her advice below:

“Here are a few things that I’ve learned…

1.    Be the person you would like to work with.  Be nice. Smile often. And compliment people when necessary.

2.    Listen to what other people say about your work. As a designer, you have to listen to what the client wants, and (even though sometimes it seems impossible) make it look good. Feedback or criticism will only make your work better.

3.    Talk. This can be hard especially as the newbie at a company. But the person next to you will say what you were thinking and get a whole lot of credit for it. Your opinions count and are just as valid as anyone else’s.

4.    Be curious. Ask questions. You’ll never know unless you ask.

5.    Continue learning. You will never be the authority on type or design. So, continue exploring, reading, listening, and be proactive about knowing more about your craft.

6.    Lastly… Be human. And understand what it means to be human. Everyone makes mistakes and changes their mind. Embrace it. Enjoy it. At times, complain about it. Learn that not everyone is like you. But remember that everyone matters.”

Check out her beautiful portfolio here:

By heather : March 05, 2015

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What’s in my Office Thursday: Will Bright

What’s in my Office Thursday: Meet CPS Alum Will Bright, Creative Director at JWT in the Big Apple. Will has produced insanely talented work for BMW, Ad Council Adoption, Porsche and more – be sure to check it all out!

Here are some of Will’s true stories and the lessons he’s learned along the way:


I got let go from my first job after two days. In fairness it was a freelance gig, but I was supposed to be there at least a couple of weeks. In the middle of the second day the creative director said as nicely as possible, “You don’t know what you’re doing and we don’t have time to teach you.”

Right there, I realized that even after a year of school, I still didn’t know what I was doing. The real education starts once you start working.


My second job was a full time gig and my first assignment was writing a series of overhead announcements that would be played in the elevators of a casino in Detroit.

If there’s a bottom rung on a ladder, that’s it.

But for the first time I was making something real. And early on that’s all that matters. Just focus on making a lot of stuff. You don’t have to love everything, but producing actual work is how you will really get better.


When I worked on BMW I was able to go down to their performance driving school in South Carolina a couple times. I don’t know what other jobs are like, but I’m pretty sure that accountants or teachers or regional supply chain managers don’t get paid to test-drive BMW’s all day.

Sure, there will be bad days. But for the most part this is an incredibly amazing business. Just ask your friends and family how many of them have beer fridges, or summer Fridays or get to see something they made out in the real world or on TV.

Take a look at his work:

By heather : February 26, 2015

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The Ghost of CPS

Not many of you will believe me when I say this, but rest assured, the Chicago Portfolio School is haunted.

It was a dark and stormy night in late October and I was working on the fourth floor at CPS. Class had ended, but I was working late on a campaign for Pine-Sol and I refused to go home. I glanced out the window. Traffic whizzed on the street below and the sounds of engines revving, brakes squealing, and sirens whirring in the distance floated up to me. A chill hung in the air. I was making marker comps… and that’s when the trouble started.

My marker comps were pinned to the tackboard and I sat with my notepad staring at the wall. I was wondering which of my print ads worked best when I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around, but all I saw was old scrap paper fluttering in the wind. I refocused on the tackboard and noticed something odd. Four pins were in the middle of one of my executions and the words “feels like a one off” were written in what appeared to be a red sharpie. BUT I DIDN’T HAVE A RED SHARPIE…

“I must have done this absentmindedly,” I said to myself, looking back down to my legal pad. I wrote a few more headlines. Wash your floor with a Christmas tree. Boring. The best thing about Pine-Sol is the easy cleanup. Dumb. Make your house smell like a lumberjack’s daydream. Ugh. I rested my forehead in my palms, when I heard a voice behind me whisper.

“Where does it live?”

My head snapped around, but I didn’t see anything. “Who’s there?” I yelled.

Then, again, from just behind my ear, “Say it straight… then say it great.”

A cold sweat dripped down my brow and my hands shook as I uncapped my pen and grabbed a piece of printer paper. I drew out a bottle of Pine-Sol being poured into a bucket and wrote my headline. At this low price, buying Pine-Sol is just a drop in the bucket. As soon as I wrote that final “t”, I felt hard slaps across my face. SMACK! “Never base advertising on the price.” SMACK! “Don’t use puns.” SMACK! “That’s too see-say.”

My heart was pounding and I struggled for breath. “Who are you?” I gasped. “What do you want with me?”

At that, a cloud began forming in front of me. At first it seemed like a haze or a fog rolling in from the street, but after a moment I saw her outline form. The apparition was a young girl, in her early-to-mid twenties, wearing jeans and a plaid shirt. She had thick-rimmed glasses and a sharpie in her pocket. Her mouth fell open, “My name is Gashley, and I am the portfolio school spectre.”

I began to say, “Gashley, that’s an odd nam—”
Interrupting, she shrieked, “It’s a portmanteau of ghost and ashley! I don’t make the rules for ghost naming!”

“Oh”, I said, “Why are you here?”

“It is my curse to haunt hopeless students of this school, to tell them when to give up on a concept.”

“How did you die?”

“That’s a long story”, she said. “I had become obsessed with a concept that none of my instructors liked. I shopped it around, and one by one they told me it wasn’t working, but I didn’t believe them. I thought that it just needed to be pushed. So I pushed, and I pushed, night after night, trying to make this concept work. Well, I pushed too hard and had an aneurysm. I didn’t kill my idea, and it wound up killing me. And now I’m here to tell you to kill yours.”

I tried to explain to her that I almost had the concept figured out, and started pointing out my other executions on the board. “Booooooooo!” she howled, and then, “just to be clear I am not just saying boo, I am heckling your terrible idea.” It was only then, looking at her ethereal corpse, that I realized she was right.

“Pine-sol is for lumberjack housewives on a budget is not a genius concept,” I agreed, “Thanks Gashley.” With that, she vanished into thin air. I haven’t seen her since, but I still sometimes hear her whispering “would you put it in your book?”

Written by: Jon Podulka - CPS Blogger & 3rd Quarter Copywriter

By heather : February 24, 2015

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