Portfolio Night has become an annual event that happens on the same day (this year it's June 11) at ad agencies in 22 countries around the world and that allows young men and women about to graduate, or just graduated from, college to present their work and get constructive feedback from working advertising creatives. Given the current trying state of the ad industry, this may not be the most upbeat of nights. But who knows.
Portfolio Night this year in Chicago is being orchestrated by Gertrude Inc., a boutique shop that has a low, but hip profile. At least the agency's flashy Web site certainly suggests the shop is striving for hipness. DDB/Chicago, whose local profile isn't what it once was, had run the Portfolio event in Chicago in years past.
Gertrude founder and Chief Creative Officer Otis D. Gibson (not to be confused with the cricket player) told us he was happy to take over the event from DDB because he's always been a big supporter of young advertising talent in this city and likes to hire young recruits at his agency as often as he can. "I see lots of young talent with great ideas, but they need to learn how to implement," said Gibson.
Gibson has reserved Chicago's Relax Lounge for the Portfolio evening and commissioned Dale Levitski of "Top Chef" fame to prepare what are being characterized as "small bites" for the occasion.
Since Gertrude is relatively small, the shop has reached out to creatives from other local agencies to interact with students at Portfolio Night. That list of participating professionals includes some familiar names, including Steffan Postaer, the famously quirky chief creative officer at Euro RSCG/Chicago, and Vinny Warren, the cheekily comedic creative director and founder of the Escape Pod/Chicago. Several creatives from Leo Burnett/Chicago also are on the list, as are Jim Schmidt and Joe Stewart from Downtown Partners and Paul Brourman from Sponge.