Upgrades At The Industry School

Ad Age has breaking news out of Richmond.

Effective Jan. 14, the Richmond, Va.-based VCU Adcenter, founded in 1996, will be called VCU Brandcenter. It also is unveiling a new logo, courtesy of New York-based design firm Collins, as well as a website, www.brandcenter.vcu.edu, created by Interpublic Group of Cos.’ RG/A, New York.
Following lengthy debate, faculty, board members and students concluded that association with advertising was too limiting and that the school needed a broader name to reflect the rapidly changing industry landscape in which the school’s graduates find employment, said Rick Boyko, managing director of the VCU Brandcenter.

VCU Brandcenter also dropped $9 million to move to a new building, tapping world-famous architect Clive Wilkinson to lead the effort. Wilkinson partnered with local firm Baskerville to transform a historic 27,000-square-foot building in VCU’s Monroe Park campus into an open, airy space with a modern feel.
Boyko hopes the changes will help the school further set itself apart from the pack of portfolio schools and traditional academia by more closely aligning itself with an evolving ad business.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I think agencies need to evolve and recognize this as well. Especially when it comes to actual job roles, function, and eventually compensation.
    There are writers out there who write scripts, headlines and body copy all day. And when they’re not doing that, they’re probably working on a novel or screenplay. They are copywriters through and through.
    As a ‘copywriter’, I signed up for that initially, when I joined advertising. But that’s not all I do anymore. Copywriting is probably about 10% of what I do on a daily basis, if that. A few of us have seen our roles expand way beyond the old headline and TV script. What we really do, on a day to day basis, is branding, viral, 360° integration, new media, ideation (if we want to go ahead and use all the ‘industry buzzwords” every other department uses).
    So in the case of things like “connections planners” and “integrated media production” specialists, etc, that are more applicable to what they do now – shouldn’t this new bread of creative be called something else beyond the 10% skill they use.
    How about just a ‘Creative?’ That way we’re not pigeonholed in everyone else’s mind as per our specialties and we’re able to do what we’ve been trained to do – create in any form we have to. Whether that means a powerful headline, or a branding idea for tap water.
    At the end of the day, idea is kind and it starts with the creative. No reason to be kept in a box.

  2. I always liked the simple “writer” and “designer” designations.

  3. I can see why they feel the need to distance themselves from the PortfolioCircus crowd, but I’m not sure what the name they’ve chosen does for them (other than make the curriculum sound more boring and vague than it did before).
    If someone asks me what I do, I tell them I’m in Advertising and they immediately know the industry I’m talking about. If I told them I was in Branding, I’m not sure they would. Nor would I, to be honest.
    Also, Brandcenter sounds like an appliance superstore.
    If you don’t write much anymore then yes, it probably does make sense for YOU to change your title. (And if you’re that out of practice, you probably should.)
    As for me, I happily call myself a Copywriter for the crazy reason that that is in fact where my talent, training and heart lie. Being asked to draw from time to time does not make me an Illustrator, nor does it make me wish for some new designation to somehow clue people in to the fact that I’m asked to draw from time to time. (Or design logos, or collaborate on social networking architecture, or whatever.)
    I guess all this new name stuff could come in handy if you were trying to get away with doing shitty work, though. Headlines suck? Site reads like ass? VO copy lame? Character voicing all wrong? Who wrote this shit? Don’t look at me, Dude. I’m not a Writer. I’m a Creative.