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Portfolio Night comes to SA

Portfolio Night, where aspiring young advertising copywriters, art directors and designers meet with several renowned advertising creative directors in a fast-paced evening of advice, networking and recruitment, is coming to South Africa for the first time on 22 May 2013.
Portfolio Night 11 (@PortfolioNight), supported by its global sponsors, iStockphoto and VCU Brandcenter, brings together young creatives, creative directors, 63 city hosts in 35 countries, in a 'one night only' event across the planet.

McCann Johannesburg will host the event in Johannesburg. Its chief creative officer, Pierre Odendaal, says: "Portfolio Night is ideal for people whose heart's desire is to work in the creative department of an advertising agency. As this event only occurs once a night annually, you do not want to miss this invaluable opportunity."

A whole new generation

A whole new generation of creative talent will be selected to participate in the event. What will transpire is an explosion of energy, enthusiasm and verve and youngsters can expect to leave having presented their work to South Africa's most talented in the business, including a jury of creative directors, executive creative directors and chief creative officers.

Likened to speed dating, the evening's format is structured for students to present the best of their portfolios to executives on a one-on-one basis, in 15-minute increments. "It is fun, it's fast and it will rally the industry together for a preview of the next generation of talent," explains Odendaal.

Portfolio Night does not just make advertising industry news; over the years, the event has been featured in the international mainstream press, including New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes and the Hong Kong Economic Times.

Pierre Odendaal

Winner goes to US

Another draw card for students to participate is the competition named 'Portfolio Night All Stars', whereby one student from every city that takes part will be voted on the night as having the best, most interesting portfolio.

"The winning Joburg student will be flown - at no cost - to New York in August for a week of workshops and seminars at the Art Directors Club. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet some big names. It also highlights the agency's commitment to helping the next generation of talent long after Portfolio Night is over," says Odendaal.

"It's a special treat to finally be able to bring Portfolio Night to South Africa," says Brianna Graves (@SaturnReturn), ADC's director of content and communications. "I've spent some time in Johannesburg, observing the advertising industry, and I kept saying, 'Why hasn't Portfolio Night happened here yet?'. But now McCann will be leading the charge and we thank them."

There is a selection process for students who wish to participate in Portfolio Night and students, who are not part of a school that has entered, can email the agency directly. Students are required to pay R100 each to join the evening, thereby demonstrating a commitment towards their creative future. The venue and other details will be on the website closer to the time.

MD at McCann Johannesburg, Karabo Denalane, concludes, "We're honoured to have been chosen as the South African flag bearers. This is one way to demonstrate our commitment to growing talent and taking our creative standing to new heights. We're looking forward to this being the start of something fantastic for our industry."

For more, go to or, and follow @PortfolioNight on Twitter.