Copywriter Talks About His Vanilla Ice-Inspired Video Application to DDB Chicago

By Patrick Coffee 

When it comes to side projects, ad industry creative dudes have a thing for straight hip-hop.

Just recently we’ve had the duo behind some of T.I.’s videos, including the one “starring” first lady Melania Trump. Then there was Aaron Gough of BBDO San Francisco, who made a video tribute to Mountain Dew that was itself a tribute to Chase Zreet’s Sprite “cover letter” that got him a job at Wieden + Kennedy New York.

We see a pattern developing here.

Chicago-based copywriter Nick Farley (portfolio here) told us he hadn’t heard of any of these guys last year when he made his first “Please Please Hire Me” clip for a Cramer-Krasselt internship. That one didn’t quite work out, but now he’s back with more views thanks to a LinkedIn push from his agency of choice, DDB.

Anyway, here we go.

It all started while Farley was still in school studying for his masters at the University of Missouri.

“I made it a year ago for a summer internship [at C-K],” he said. “Part of the application process was to make a video,” so he decided to make “a parody music video explaining why they want to hire me.”

As for the jam in question, Farley needed “a song everyone knew” and thought of going with Queen before quickly realizing that those tracks are, perhaps, a bit too long (not to mention too demanding for the average vocalist).

“But Vanilla Ice ripped off a Queen beat … and once I had the line ‘Please please hire me,’ that was it,” he said. So Farley had his girlfriend shoot him in front of a green screen and made the mix using his own recording equipment.

He didn’t get the internship, because by the time C-K reached out for an interview he’d already gone with mcgarrybowen.

Fast forward to a year later, when Farley was once again on the hunt for a gig after graduating. As he told us, “I applied to so many internships and got rejected so many times … I could cut the video and customize it for any agency.”

So he began working all his connections. The whole thing took off, relatively speaking, when DDB Chicago creative recruiter Taylor Styduhar shared the clip on LinkedIn.

Lots of recruiters from staffing companies have been reaching out,” said Farley when we asked him about the response to date. He’s also heard from past contacts and total strangers. “They don’t know me, I’m totally new to the industry. It’s totally cool to see everyone vibing to it a little bit,” he said.

When we asked Farley how much he thinks up-and-comers like himself need such side projects to get recruiters’ attention, he said, “I didn’t go to portfolio school, [and I] don’t have spec work. It’s nice having this to supplement all the real experience I have.”

And no, he doesn’t just send the link around to everyone.

When asked why he wants to focus on DDB, Farley credited the same connections that helped him get this video in front of the recruiter. “At this point in my career, I will take what I can get,” he said on the client front, noting that DDB is currently so busy hiring for the Army business that the internship in question got cancelled.

So would he be up to check out Jason Peterson’s new company, The Times?

Definitely. I’m open and interested in any opportunities in Chicago to help me kick-start my career,” he said. And yes, he’s still looking.