Brad Dixon ’02 is hard-pressed to find something he doesn’t like about New York City.
After a minute of contemplation, he seems to settle on the lack of beach options.
“Diving into the East River’s not an option,” he laughs.
It’s true. NYC is no Folly Beach, but something about Dixon suggests that he knew that all along. Dixon works as an advertising creative at Great Works, an international ad agency headquartered in Stockholm. In their New York office, Dixon’s duties aren’t black-and-white – he writes, comes up with campaigns, helps with casting and selecting photographers, designs and builds websites. And sometimes he works with pop icons. Like Kanye West on an Absolut Vodka campaign.
Dixon was a double major in studio art and communication at the College, which was the only school the Baltimore-bred alumnus applied to. “I don’t really give myself options,” he says.
During his senior year, he interned at Rawle Murdy, an ad agency in Charleston, and following graduation, he moved to Miami to attend an advertising portfolio school – a critical step, he stresses.
During the two-year intensive program, Dixon completed two internships: one in Amsterdam and one in New York.
After school, he moved to New York permanently, and has been working at Great Works for a year and a half.
“It’s actually better than I could have imagined,” he says. “I have the opportunity to be working on creative projects every day. I can wear shorts and a T-shirt and still be doing a job that my mom would be proud of.”
In addition to the Absolut Vodka campaign, Dixon has worked for the Sundance Film Festival and recently traveled to the Bahamas to oversee filming for his latest endeavor, Radio Maliboom Boom, a 360 ad campaign for Malibu Rum.
After the Bahamas shoot, he then rushed to Los Angeles and San Francisco for a few weeks to conclude the digital aspect of the project, working with developers on a website. “For a month, I wasn’t home,” he says. “I was in New York for only two days, when I had to move into a new apartment.”
With the occasional glam factor and traveling, though, comes a price: long hours and hard work. “The hours are insane. Nights, weekends. It’s not a normal 9 to 5,” Dixon says.
Hard work and determination go hand in hand, and Dixon urges aspiring ad execs to be prepared.
“I think it’s good to be a nerd about whatever field you’re trying to delve into,” he advises. “Be as buttoned up as possible.”
“A lot of it comes down to timing, being persistent without being annoying,” he adds. “And, I think, at the end of the day, whether the times are tough or not, it boils down to whether you’re good or not.”
Dixon clearly had all his buttons in a row, but he’s quick to remind that the grass isn’t always as green as it looks.
“Selling good ideas and challenging clients to create good work is more difficult than one would expect or assume. But that’s part of the fun, too.”
– Rheana Murray ’08