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A Conversation with VMLY&R Chief Strategy Officer Belle Frank for Advertising & Society Quarterly

By BIC CCNY Posted on 12/05/2023 12:22

Getting into advertising? After a 45-year career, Belle Frank explains it all to Nancy R. Tag for this Project MUSE interview.

Project MUSE
invited BIC Program Director Nancy R. Tag to interview BIC Founding Faculty and Board Member Belle Frank to discuss her impressive career and give advice to the next generation in Advertising & Society Quarterly, a peer-reviewed publication by ANA’s Advertising Education Foundation (AEF) that reaches over 20,000 readers each issue. The ASQ is distributed by the Johns Hopkins University Press and features articles, essays, interviews, and panel discussions that explore a 360-degree view of the industry and academia. 

An industry icon whose career started at Y&R (now VMLY&R and soon VML) more than 45 years ago, Belle’s interest in academia is no accident: she planned on going into teaching before pivoting to advertising. But she couldn’t shake her love for education and with her connection to City College (her father is an alumnus), she started interviewing CCNY undergrads for a book called The Advertising On-Ramp: Getting Your First Advertising Job to give students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, perspective as they entered the advertising industry. She found them asking the same questions time and time again. And so she developed her book as a roadmap for finding entry-level jobs within advertising, answering all of the career questions students might have >> from step-by-step instructions about networking, resumes, and interviews to macro-level storytelling techniques.

Belle’s association with City College soon led her to Nancy, who was a Professor in the Media & Communication Arts Department and was developing a graduate program in branding and integrated communications that would eventually become BIC. Belle provided industry guidance, networking, and credibility as well as help establish BIC’s foundational course in Research & Awareness which she herself taught until 2020. The hour-long ASQ interview caps off a long career (and valued friendship) that not only provided guidance to captains of industry and mentorship to colleagues, but launched dozens of careers.  

Among Belle’s many words of wisdom:  “If everybody thinks about things exactly the same way, then you're not going to get to a new creative solution. It's the interplay between different perspectives that gets us someplace new, and no single person is as smart as a well-functioning group." And at BIC, we wholeheartedly agree. 

Thank you, Belle, for all that you’ve done and continue to do for this industry. And thanks to the ANA Advertising Educational Foundation for orchestrating this insightful interview!

#ReadUP on the full interview:

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