Creative Cafe: A Preview

Creative Cafe, an event where advertising students and professionals gather together to review portfolios and share feedback, will take place on April 26, 2016 in the Photonics Center.

Started by John Verret, Associate Professor of Advertising in COM, and Tobe Berkovitz, Associate Professor of Advertising in COM and Department Chair of Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations, Creative Cafe has been around for many years and caters to Boston University COM students. The event is put on twice a year–once in the spring and once in the fall.

“Most of the students who want to follow a creative path need to have a creative portfolio,” says Edward Boches, Professor of Advertising in COM. “Creative Cafe is an opportunity for students to show their portfolios, either work in progress or finished, to professionals relatively young who went to school just a year ago all the way to creative directors at companies.”

During the event, students have the opportunity to network and receive feedback on their portfolios. This year’s Creative Cafe will host professionals mainly from Boston based companies and agencies, including but not limited to MullenLowe, Hill Holiday, and Digitas.

“There are mutual benefits for both sides of the constituents – students and professionals. [Professionals] like this event because it’s an opportunity to give back, and a chance to check out new young emerging talent to find people they might want to hire,” says Boches. “It provides an opportunity to network and receive feedback on portfolios, for confidence building and for learning.”

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According to Boches, the night is similar to speed dating. Attendees are set up at desks and students are showing their work and receiving feedback. At some point, either Boches or Verret will direct participants to switch and the night continues in this fashion.

“What’s best about [Creative Cafe] is being able to get feedback from people outside of my professors and classmates,” says Jinn Lieu, a senior studying advertising in COM. “When you’re in class you get the same general feedback from your peers, but when you show your work to creative directors who are in the field right now, you get a lot of different responses. Some people love [your work] and others hate it, and I think that’s interesting.”

“[Creative Cafe] is a celebration of creativity and the challenges, frustrations and joy of making beautiful, wonderful inspiring work that might actually sell a product, connect a person, change the world, or solve a problem.” said Boches.

The event provides students with opportunities to connect with the community and to see that there are people who are successful and creating work in the marketplace despite having recently graduated a year or two ago.

“It’s pretty unique for a student to be able to see so many advertising people at one time and it’s a night that celebrates creative advertising at BU,” says Tom Hagglof, a senior advertising major in COM. “I think it’s really that one event, unless you’re a part of a club or organization, that is open to all creative ad students at BU—it’s a unifying event for the whole community within the school.”

Lieu would encourage anyone in COM and anyone studying advertising to attend the event.

“Even if you think you don’t have a book, or have some work, it’s a really good opportunity if you’re serious about going into advertising,” said Lieu.

“As a faculty member, and I’m talking on behalf of the whole faculty, we love [Creative Cafe],” says Boches. “We love the energy in the room, the excitement of the students. The students’ excitement is crazy because you can sense the anxiety, that they’re afraid, but when they get positive feedback you can see that it’s so validating. It’s really terrific.”

For more information and registration, go to this website.


gina choiBorn and raised in Southern CA, Gina is a senior studying PR, sociology and the beautiful art of combining coffee ice cream with Oreos. She laughs more than she breathes and is all about making the ordinary extraordinary. When she’s not thinking about the next big thing you can find her jammin’ to good vibes. Connect with her on Instagram @ginajiyoonc!


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