Avid gamer to join CJC faculty as Guest Lecturer in Advertising
In 2007, Bienvenido “Benny” Torres — a gamer since age 5 — knew he wanted to work on the Nintendo advertising account, then being managed by Leo Burnett. At a Most Promising Minority Students professional development program, he marched up to the Leo Burnett recruiter and within five minutes she knew he was her guy. He proceeded to steal all of his father’s ‘70s/’80s ties for that internship and, even though the agency was a casual place and he hated ties and slacks, he wore one of those ties every single day. The president of the company eventually announced at the end of the internship that he wanted to meet the “intern who wore ties every day.”
Fast forward eight years and that quirky intern, a 2007 UF grad, will join the college in the fall as a guest lecturer in the Advertising Department. Self-described as zany, awesome and very creative, Benny will take a brief respite from his current copywriter position at the Chicago-based start-up ad agency Frequency540.
Benny received bachelor degrees in both advertising and psychology. At Burnett, he quickly became known as the go-to guy on video games. He parlayed that into a full-time position researching any games for which Burnett was developing ads.
Although he claims Burnett hired him because he refused to leave, he did move on in 2010 and joined Publicis-backed boutique firm Denuo as an “alchemist,” a hybrid role requiring a mix of skills traditionally associated with account management, account planning, creative direction, production, media planning, copywriting, engagement planning and game design. He worked with a diverse range of clients from Old El Paso to Redbox to Minelab Metal Detectors. In 2012, he returned to Leo Burnett as a copywriter and strategist working on the Nintendo, Sprite and Always accounts.
Benny categorizes himself as a goofy, nerdy guy who relishes being alive and tries his best while performing stand-up and improv comedy. He is a dedicated Gator fan and even summited Mt. Kilimanjaro while wearing a Tim Tebow jersey.
Back to 2007, Benny was accepted to the Most Promising Minority Students program with the required essay on “How does me being a minority help for a more inclusive ad industry.” Bristling at that “really kind of patronizing prompt (and the slightly patronizing name of the program)”, he wrote a fairly “aggressive/subversive essay” focusing on minority of experience, not the color of his skin. Years later Lisa Duke Cornell, who introduced Benny to the program, admitted she edited his submission to be a bit less… antagonistic. But she kept the “soul” intact.