Take charge. Grab the bull by the horns. Create your own destiny. We’re not ones to perpetuate old adages, but there are only so many ways to say it: you can do or be anything you want. You don’t have to settle.In 2020, to honor the legacy of our agency’s founders and mark 50 years in business, Vladimir Jones launched the Jim + Nechie Hall Scholarship, offering a full ride to the Denver Ad School (DAD) for one promising student. We took some time to check in with last year’s scholarship recipient, Piotr Brozyna, as he prepares to graduate.
Piotr! It’s so great to speak with you again. How have things been? What's new?
Things have been pretty hectic in my world, but I seem to find myself in a thunderstorm of tranquility more often than not. I am grateful that the busiest, yet most rewarding year of my life is nearing its end and paving the way for a fruitful future.
We just closed applications for the next Jim + Nechie Hall Scholarship. As the inaugural recipient, any advice for us when reviewing applicants?
I am so excited that this scholarship will be a continued tradition; it is an honor to be the inaugural recipient. My advice is finding someone who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable. Every experience shapes an individual and becomes a part of their story.
Thinking back, do you remember the moment you decided to apply for the Jim + Nechie Hall Scholarship? What prompted you to apply? Did you believe it was a real possibility?
I specifically remember the moment I read about this announcement; it felt too good to be true. The Jim + Nechie Hall Scholarship was quite literally an answer to my prayers during a time when I was pretty close to giving up on my creative dreams and just settling down for a more readily available career pivot. Life actually got really complex and taxing and exciting and rewarding and the universe did what it does best and sent me a sign to remind me it’s looking out for me.
How are things going at DAD? Remind us how far along you are in the program.
We are in the home stretch! With only two weeks of class left in my fifth and final quarter, I can’t believe the finish line is almost within my grasp. We look forward to launching our portfolios into the world in January. I noticed that after a certain point we started treating our campaign projects like our children and have a feeling it’s a similar relationship with real projects in the industry.
Tell us about a recent project or idea that inspired you while studying at DAD.
As far as projects that I am working on, I am feeling very inspired by the Burt’s Bees campaign I will have in my book. The campaign is a rallying cry for us to make an effort to protect a species that is quintessential to our existence. Bees are responsible for the production of a third of the world’s food, so the campaign focuses on ways we can contribute to helping the bees, using several metaphors to carry the message. I find it fascinating when a brand is able to make a positive impact on human behavior and I hope to bring some positive change with the formulation of my phrases in the professional setting.
How has the scholarship and your studies changed you as a person?
I certainly feel that I’ve grown a lot over the last year. I have acquired a huge appreciation for constructive feedback, which is equally difficult to give as it is to receive. I’ve learned that this industry is very subjective and it’s not possible to please everyone all the time, which is why you need a supportive insight behind every big idea. I started Denver Ad School thinking I’m the most patient boy with a degree in communications, but patience and truthful communication are definitely some virtues I had a chance to work on. I’ve also learned a lot about setting healthy boundaries with others, the precious value of time, and the concept that the more work you put into something, the more you will gain from that experience.
In our last interview, you said, and I quote, “I am finally beginning to understand the complexity and depth of successful advertising campaigns in the real world—the thoughtful ones that people truly vibe with.” Well, we want to know—who or what do you, Piotr, vibe with?
I vibe with passion, regardless of how it comes to life. There is a reason behind every single message that exists in the communications realm, and if that reason, or any small element of that reason, is something that aligns with my worldviews and interests, then I will very likely consume that content with pleasure. If I am able to connect with the world in a novel way and consider a new thought pattern because of an ad, then it will probably get my attention.
We know you already have a great job at Granicus, but do you have your eye on any passion projects after DAD?
I had to be very selective with my leisure time over the last 15 months. Working full-time and attending Denver Ad School forced me to put some of my hobbies on the back burner; I put down video games, took a back seat on most social media channels, and abstained from bingeing books, movies, and shows. I did, however, revive some angsty teenage hobbies and reintroduced skateboarding and drumming into my life as stress relievers and passion fuelers. However, I am stoked to have some more free time next year and take a stab at content creation through TikTok, combining my passions and figuring out a niche that I can take ownership of. Diving into the TikTok universe is what all the cool Gen Zs are doing, and I’m looking forward to having a new outlet where I can connect with people in new ways. I will also pursue a passion project that involves collecting my family history and compiling it in a way that will be sentimental and fun for future generations to unwrap.
What’s your viewpoint of what’s going on with the labor market and the “Great Resignation?” Do you think Denver Ad School would be a good fit for someone interested in making a career change?
The events in the last two years have had an enormous impact on the labor market—certain companies suffered and failed while others adapted and thrived. The advertising industry always seemed to be ahead of its time so it’s fitting that we fall into the second category. Despite the hardships, I am grateful to be at this stage of my professional and academic growth in this environment.
Anything else on your mind?
This might be the hardest question out of all of these. Lots. I think I have between 1 and 99 thoughts every second, it might be part of being a creative. Looking forward to sharing my best ones in my portfolio soon! Thank you so much for the opportunity of a lifetime, Vladimir Jones team!Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.