Feature

2014 MEDAL WINNER BRENDAN MCMULLEN, ADVERTISING

Brendan McMullen. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Brendan McMullen. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Brendan McMullan’s medal award-winning ad campaign concept for a soda company, Pursue the New, celebrates the stories of strange soda flavours and those who drink them. Here’s how he describes it:

My advertising thesis was entitled Pursue the New. Its objective was to get people to chase Jones Sodas again and frame the drink as an indulgence by getting people to pursue new and unfamiliar flavour experiences. I brought it to life in an entertaining and fun way by telling the stories of the Jones family of strange flavors and those who drink them and celebrating anyone willing to Pursue the New.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I was motivated by the brand I chose. Jones Soda is fun and eccentric. Choosing it gave me the creative liberty to literally do and make whatever I thought was cool and entertaining. Not everyone has the chance to do that in their career. Jones Soda’s quirky essence made it easier to be excited about working on the same thing every day.

The idea of tackling a soda company was an enticing challenge as well because of the stigma around the category. Blowing up its strangeness really positioned it as something you consume in moderation, guilt free.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from having to transition from a completely strategy focused fall semester to a completely creatively focused spring semester. It was difficult to go from one to another when you spend so much time on strategy before creative. I had to break a personal barrier between being caught up in a very rational strategic process and having to start coming up with crazy creative ideas. It taught me a lot about what mindset I had to be in.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

My project was always changing, past the day I handed it in and up until the day I pitched it to a group of peers and industry folk at the Masters presentations. I’m proud that I never settled and never got comfortable. I was able to kill ideas that muffled the message I was trying to deliver and completely change my delivery days before the pitch. I’m proud my campaign adapted and got stronger when obstacles came up.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

Despite dreaming of ending my university career as a medal winner, when I heard I won I was in disbelief. There was such a high calibre of both work and character in our program that I felt many of us deserved to win. I had been proud of my work and work ethic before but never as much as I was that day. It felt very validating to have my work appreciated by my teachers (and now colleagues).

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I will miss the ability to show up every day and get to work creatively with my best friends: people who push me, inspire me and make for one hell of a good time. I know I’ll have the chance to work with different creative minds in my career, but I may never have the chance to collaborate with my best friends like that again. My peers and friends motivated me creatively in ways I never imagined.

What are you planning to do next?

I’m staying in Toronto indefinitely, hailing from Montreal. I believe I have a future in advertising in this city. I’m currently interning at an agency I respect a lot and hope to take in as much as I can one day at a time. I aspire to always work for an agency that pushes creative work and has brands that I can get excited about.

Brendan invites you to check out his website, let him know your thoughts and connect on social media. Brendanmcmullen.com




Brendan McMullen. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Brendan McMullan’s medal award-winning ad campaign concept for a soda company, Pursue the New, celebrates the stories of strange soda flavours and those who drink them. Here’s how he describes it:

My advertising thesis was entitled Pursue the New. Its objective was to get people to chase Jones Sodas again and frame the drink as an indulgence by getting people to pursue new and unfamiliar flavour experiences. I brought it to life in an entertaining and fun way by telling the stories of the Jones family of strange flavors and those who drink them and celebrating anyone willing to Pursue the New.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

I was motivated by the brand I chose. Jones Soda is fun and eccentric. Choosing it gave me the creative liberty to literally do and make whatever I thought was cool and entertaining. Not everyone has the chance to do that in their career. Jones Soda’s quirky essence made it easier to be excited about working on the same thing every day.

The idea of tackling a soda company was an enticing challenge as well because of the stigma around the category. Blowing up its strangeness really positioned it as something you consume in moderation, guilt free.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from having to transition from a completely strategy focused fall semester to a completely creatively focused spring semester. It was difficult to go from one to another when you spend so much time on strategy before creative. I had to break a personal barrier between being caught up in a very rational strategic process and having to start coming up with crazy creative ideas. It taught me a lot about what mindset I had to be in.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

My project was always changing, past the day I handed it in and up until the day I pitched it to a group of peers and industry folk at the Masters presentations. I’m proud that I never settled and never got comfortable. I was able to kill ideas that muffled the message I was trying to deliver and completely change my delivery days before the pitch. I’m proud my campaign adapted and got stronger when obstacles came up.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

Despite dreaming of ending my university career as a medal winner, when I heard I won I was in disbelief. There was such a high calibre of both work and character in our program that I felt many of us deserved to win. I had been proud of my work and work ethic before but never as much as I was that day. It felt very validating to have my work appreciated by my teachers (and now colleagues).

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I will miss the ability to show up every day and get to work creatively with my best friends: people who push me, inspire me and make for one hell of a good time. I know I’ll have the chance to work with different creative minds in my career, but I may never have the chance to collaborate with my best friends like that again. My peers and friends motivated me creatively in ways I never imagined.

What are you planning to do next?

I’m staying in Toronto indefinitely, hailing from Montreal. I believe I have a future in advertising in this city. I’m currently interning at an agency I respect a lot and hope to take in as much as I can one day at a time. I aspire to always work for an agency that pushes creative work and has brands that I can get excited about.

Brendan invites you to check out his website, let him know your thoughts and connect on social media. Brendanmcmullen.com