White Develops Newhouse Creative Advertising Mentor Program with Award-Winning Creative Directors from Top Ad Agencies Worldwide

July 25, 2017
A photo of Mel White, assistant professor of advertising, creative
Mel White, assistant professor of advertising, creative

Newhouse assistant professor Mel White developed the Creative Advertising Mentor Program for art director and copywriter students enrolled in the advertising department’s senior-year Portfolio 3 ADV 431 Creative Advertising course. First envisioned by advertising Chair Dr. James Tsao, White expanded the program from exclusively utilizing advertising creatives from local Syracuse-area ad agencies into a more robust program that pairs student teams with award-winning creative directors from several of the world’s top ad agencies—Wieden+Kennedy, Grey, Y&R, Ogilvy, Havas, McCann, Arnold, and Hudson Rouge. 

White states, “Students are typically awestruck when they first receive their mentors’ names and see the prestigious agencies that they are from. Most students are nervous about those first Skype meetings with their mentors, but as the semester progresses, the mentors’ feedback increases, and as students’ understanding of advertising grows, so do their relationships. Through this program, students’ ideas get pushed further and their thinking is challenged and opened up in ways that they never could have imagined.”

When the students receive positive feedback on the progress of their ideas from their mentors, they start to see themselves as having the potential to work at top tier ad agencies. At the end of their participation in the mentoring program, students Sammy Monk, Ryan Harper, and Yunze Shi wrote to their mentor, Paul Vinod, Creative Head of Havas N8TIVE: “The advice you shared improved the way we approached projects... We truly appreciate all the words of wisdom you shared with us and for inspiring us to always think bigger and ask more out of this industry.” While students Zach Schweikert and  Jill Archibold wrote to their mentor, Jonathan Rodgers from Y&R, “You’ve given us great advice. Our skills were sharpened by your kind critiques.” To ensure that each student team receives a similar level of mentoring, all the creative directors have won top industry awards and work or have worked at top-tier ad agencies. 

Between the 14 mentors, they have won over 300 top industry awards, including Emmys, Clios, Cannes Lions, One Show, ADDYs, NY Art Directorʼs Club, D&AD, London International Awards, Ad Age Best Campaign of the Year, Clio Hall of Fame, and many Grand Prix awards in various shows. A few of the award-winning campaigns that mentors have worked on include: the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” (Steve Doppelt); Volvo’s “Greatest Interception” Super Bowl Social Media Campaign (Rob Perillo); MilkPEP “Got Milk?” and “Got Chocolate Milk?” (Rob Rooney); and “Write the Future” for Nike Football (Eric Quennoy).