The smell of dead fish defined my childhood. I’m from a small fishing village on the Sea of Galilee in Northern Israel. Fishermen by trade, my family is filled with gifted storytellers, each with their own unique cadence, hand gestures, and ability to stretch the truth. I think watching them captivate audiences with their stories subconsciously made me want to be a writer, but first I had to learn English.
Immigrating to the States was a harsh transition, and going from a small fishing village to Manhattan’s East Village had its learning curves. I remember being in 2nd grade, with no reading skills, and making up stories based on book illustrations during assigned reading time.
I knew I wanted to be a copywriter in my first undergraduate advertising class. My professor’s passionate behavior and middle-aged pirate aesthetic reminded me of the great orators in my family. He was also a staunch advocate of the Brandcenter, always referring to their grads’ portfolios and suggesting we’d have a tough time competing with them for jobs. I hated him for being right.
My years working as a Media Planner triggered a quarter-life crisis. I was on a career path I didn’t enjoy and worried that I was facing a lifetime of boredom, regret, and self-deprecation. In hindsight my fears were exaggerated, but at least they gave me the motivation to finally apply to the Brandcenter. My first three hours here brought me more joy than three years of building media investment decks and Excel pivot tables.
Being at the Brandcenter is by far the most fun I’ve had in a professional or academic setting. While working on school projects, I’ve found myself sharing a bathtub with three of my classmates and a bottle of steak sauce. A separate assignment had me pouring buckets of fake blood onto a classmate, also while in a bath (there’s a theme here but it’s entirely coincidental). Every day at Brandcenter has brought something different and unexpected. I feel well prepared for the surprises I’ll certainly face in this industry.
Yotam Ohayon (CW, 2020)