Forget Ted Talks: The Richards Group Wants University Students to Tune In to Stan Talks Instead

The series offers lessons from ad legends like Keith Reinhard, Lee Clow and the late David Ogilvy

The Richards Group and University of Texas present Stan Talks. Stan Talks

The Richards Group and the University of Texas are bringing real-world lessons to advertising students nationwide through a reimagining of the popular Ted Talks lecture series. Launched ahead of the upcoming fall semester, Stan Talks garners critical insights from some of the industry’s most esteemed practitioners, with The Richards Group founder and principal creative director, Stan Richards, at the helm.

Stan Talks is a series of three- to five-minute videos featuring advice from legendary advertisers such as Richards himself; Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus of DDB Worldwide; Lee Clow, chairman and global director of TBWA\Worldwide; and even late-greats David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach. The series comes four years after the university established the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations, the result of a $10 million fundraising campaign in honor of the Dallas indie agency’s founder.

The material will live on a custom YouTube page called Stan Talks: Lesson From Luminaries so that it is not exclusive to University of Texas students. The initial 25 videos made public today are just the beginning of what will be an accumulating digital archive, according to John Murphy, professor emeritus at the University of Texas Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations.

Murphy, the originator of Stan Talks, told Adweek that the initial spark for this project came back in November 2016 when he started to mull over different ways the university could “leverage our association with TRG and its founder.” At that time, Murphy said he presented four ideas to Richards, with the series of Ted Talks-style videos prevailing. He described the condition that these videos all be less than five minutes long as “an iron rule I insisted upon following.”

“[The idea] resonated with me and I thought it would resonate with others in our industry,” Richards said.

The founder and industry statesman told Adweek that he hopes the series can help tackle one of the biggest challenges regarding talent, or the lack thereof: “Students are not prepared for what they might find in the advertising industry.”

“I’m not sure all students are looking at advertising as a career and recognize how demanding it can be, how much effort it takes,” Richards explained.

The videos look to pick up where academia might fall off.

In one video, Richards explains the importance of remaining fair as a marketer and why that tenet led him to once write a client a check for slightly over $1 million. In another clip, Reinhard, who penned McDonald’s “You Deserve a Break Today” campaign, discusses maintaining his devotion to advertising even though it took him 10 years to land an agency job.

Clow’s iconic body of work includes the dystopian “1984” ad that launched the Apple Macintosh computer line. He uses the Stan Talks format to walk through his own struggles with feelings of self-doubt, which he claims affect all creative people throughout their careers.

Old video footage (like the clip of Ogilvy below) even captures the still-relevant wisdom of some legends who have passed.

“These luminaries serve as exceptional role models for our students,” Murphy said. “It is clear to me that Stan Talks will emphasize and reinforce the effective, ethical and enthusiastic practice of our craft.”

Along with Richards, Murphy said all of the initial participants embraced the project when approached to contribute. He is now “working on the next wave of luminaries and topics to continue to build the series.”

“I said in a second, ‘If you’d like me to help, I would be really anxious to do it because it’s such a good idea,'” Reinhard told Adweek. He also praised Clow’s contribution.

“Creative people, we all have a fear [and] inferiority complex,” Reinhard admitted. “I’ve never actually been totally satisfied” with my work.

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.