After 3 and-a-half years of post-secondary education, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the world of advertising — and I did, but unfortunately it was limited to the world of big brand advertising. What I didn’t know is that there is a whole market of medium and small businesses who also need to advertise. It’s because of my introduction to this world, through Derooted, that my interest has been restored in the entire industry.
Before coming to Derooted I had pictured myself at a big agency working towards the fancy desk job with the sexy title and big-business perks — the safest choice of course. After interviewing with a couple large agencies, I found myself sitting in Derooted’s modest studio opposite Creative Director Simon Rojas. Behind him was a wall covered with some of Derooted’s previous clients. Simon explained to me that many of the clients they work with here at Derooted are friends and acquaintances from around the GTA who’ve started their own businesses. What wasn’t immediately apparent was the sense of community that I would soon become part of as a result of this relationship. I remember my first client meeting. Simon told me he “had to step out for a bit, and may be not be back in time to explain the brochure concept to the client”. I was aware that I was being tested and that made me more nervous than anything else through the course of my internship. However, despite my fears, the meeting went swimmingly and I emerged victorious. It was a great feeling knowing that this real estate agent was satisfied with my representation of her professional image. I wasn’t just designing an ad for a marketing department with an arms-length relationship to their brand, I was helping a client promote the business that they rely on to provide for their family, and put gas in their car. It gave me a sense of purpose far beyond anything I could get from working on Coke’s next big television spot, or Nestle’s next brand acquisition.
It was in this moment that I realized that my frustration with the ad industry came from the overwhelming sense that I was part of the machine. Pushing business forward simply so that business can push forward. But such is not the case at Derooted. I was privileged enough to be trusted with something these people have put everything into, their livelihood. And that’s the great thing about Derooted, it’s not just about business, or brands, or advertising even, it’s about livelihood — working to live, and helping those around you do the same.
– Josh Bezemer