Tuesday, July 7, 2015
“I always wanted to be an inventor,” said Joseph “Fitz” Maro, a Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter alumnus. “I used to watch a lot of infomercials as a child, and I thought to myself ‘This is what I want to do,’ so I did.”
Cannes Lions, an annual international festival for people working in creative communications, advertising and related fields, was a natural draw to an inventive person such as Maro, who has entered various contests over the past few years hoping to land a trip to the event.
This year, Maro entered and won the inaugural Campaign US Fearless Thinker contest, which asked the question, “If you had the floor at Cannes, what industry-changing idea would you share?” The award granted him a week in France for the festival – which was held last month – where he wrote a diary published on the Campaign US website.
Maro thinks his belief in the message behind his entry, and his strong desire to attend, sealed the deal in this year’s contest. His winning video pushes for advertising to constantly embrace new technologies through remixing and collaboration, using the music industry and Paul McCartney to make the point.
Maro believes McCartney’s constant artistic evolution has allowed him to remain relevant in popular culture for five decades. By knowing what his fans listen to and selectively collaborating with contemporary artists, McCartney created a personal brand that has outlasted the British Invasion of the ’60s.
“If we’re all about keeping our brands and companies relevant then we need to embrace technology in a similar way,” Maro said.
Maro says his professors and colleagues at the Brandcenter helped him see the value of not just learning the concepts of branding and advertising, but expanding his knowledge and keeping an open mind to new ideas and technologies.
He credits the Brandcenter with having a strong culture of collaboration in which everyone from faculty to students tries to make things that change the world. Even though the work was hard, it paid off and helped him get where he is today, Maro said.
“When I was there I heard a term ‘coopetition,’ a combination of cooperation and competition,” he said. “I think that really defines the work everyone does at the Brandcenter.”
After his trip to Cannes, Maro plans to continue his push for businesses to adapt with the technology of the times.
He advises students and those who want to get into his line of work to embrace the struggle. It takes hard work to make your dreams come true.
“You know, I’m still young, too,” he said. “I go to work early and clock out late, that’s how you have to do it.”
Featured image up top : Brandcenter alumnus Joseph Maro recently attended Cannes Lions, an annual international festival for people working in creative communications, advertising and related fields.
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