Creative Director

An advertising creative director supervises the creative team in charge of creating an advertisement or advertising campaign. The creative team includes copywriters, art directors, and illustrators or graphic designers. Creative directors typically begin their career as copywriters or art directors and, if successful, are later promoted to creative directors. Copywriters are in charge of the verbal component of advertisments and art directors are in charge of the visual component.

Basic Skills and Competencies

  • Experience creating the verbal (copywriting)
  • Experience creating the visual components of advertisements (art direction)
  • Experience supervising a creative team.
  • Knowledge of advertising and brand strategy and tactics.
  • Knowledge of psychological theories relevant to communication and consumer behavior

Matt Burgess is the Creative Director at WONGDOODY in California. At the time of this interview, he was Creative Director at OLSON in Minneapolis. He earned a BA in Strategic Communication from the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2000. He then went on to receive his portfolio certificate from Miami Ad School and began working on Best Buy's holiday and Geek Squad campaigns.Then, Burgess moved on to Campbell Mithun to work as a copywriter on such accounts as Burger King, H & R Block, Land O' Lakes, Nature Valley and Partnership for a Drug-Free America. At OLSON, his clients include the University of Minnesota and he has won numerous awards for his work, including Effies, OBIEs and FCS Portfolio Awards.

Video Index

  • Play entire video
  • Introduction
  • What was your path to get into this field?
  • What role does technology play in your job?
  • What do you wish you had done or known before you got this job?
  • What classes would you recommend that students take to prepare for a career in this area?
  • What do you find most challenging about your job?
  • What is most exciting about your job?


Courses to Help Prepare You (Within SJMC)

  • JOUR 3102: Multimedia Production and Storytelling
  • JOUR 3241: Advertising Strategy and Creative Development
  • JOUR 3253W: Account Planning
  • JOUR 3321: Media Design
  • JOUR 3775: Administrative Law and Regulation for Strategic Communication
  • JOUR 4242: Advertising Portfolio Development
  • JOUR 4243: Digital Content for Brand Communications
  • JOUR 4251: Psychology of Advertising
  • JOUR 4259: Strategic Communication Case Analysis
  • JOUR 4274W: Advertising in Society

Courses to Help Prepare You (Outside SJMC)

  • DES 1111: Creative Problem Solving

Student Groups

  • Ad Club
  • NSAC

Participate In

  • Student Advertising Summit
  • Minnesota Daily


  • Intern at local advertising agencies (may need to apply as early as January for summer internships)
  • Talk to local organizations, small business and churches and offer to help with advertisements, social media or websites
  • Watch for national advertising internship opportunities or training

Your Career

Career Resources

Professional Organizations

Potential Job Titles

  • Art Director
  • Copywriter

Where Alumni Work

  • Guess?
  • Life Time Fitness
  • space 150
  • Risdall
  • Periscope
  • Crispin Porter Bogusky

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