“A Day In the Life at Northwestern University.”

With 57,000 total views, it is Jay Towns’s most popular video on his YouTube channel.  

A mixture of self-produced music videos and personal vlogs, many of Towns’s videos are catered to current and prospective Northwestern students, providing information about the best dormitories and giving an inside look into campus life.

During his time at Northwestern, consistently uploading content to his YouTube channel became a stepping stone to entering the creative world. Now, Towns works as an art director and content creator at Doyle Dane Bernbach (DBB), an international advertising agency.

Since his employment in October 2022, Towns spearheaded a number of advertisement projects for DBB’s clients, including a “The Little Mermaid”-themed Happy Meal commercial, a bread photoshoot for the brand Bimbo and TikTok content for companies like Skittles and Hefty’s.

“He is like a jack of all trades,” Towns’s childhood friend Sean Kraemer said. “He’s super talented and is always really impressing me with the new things he's doing.”

Towns entered Northwestern in 2018 as a theater major in the School of Communications. Though he was never fully set on being a performer, acting was always a realistic career option for him, Towns said.

However, his career plans took a turn during February of his senior year when he went on a one-day trip to Downtown Chicago for the Chicago Advertising Federation convention on a whim.

Towns spoke with professionals such as those working for clients like McDonald’s, Coca Cola and Netflix, as well as people employed in advertising and creative agencies, he said.

“The people were super fun to talk to you — they were so funny, smart and creative, and so I talked to a lot of them,” Towns said. “They were like, ‘you might really like advertising.’”

Speaking to people within the industry sparked his interest in advertising – an area he was not knowledgeable about – and he began connecting with people through LinkedIn to learn more about its creative sector, Towns said.

Within months after attending the convention, he landed a summer internship at DBB, his current workplace.

“I thought I was gonna be an actor in February, and then by April, I was like, ‘I'm gonna do an advertising internship,’” Towns said.

Northwestern might not have had an advertising department he could take advantage of, but the skills he acquired from his entrepreneurship classes, theater experience and hobbies gave him the footing to stand out at DBB, Towns said.

Towns built a brand for himself during his time at NU by dabbling in a variety of interests  — from making music on various streaming platforms to creating YouTube videos — and turning them into avenues of professionalism.

“I think he’s a very good communicator and just has good ideas,” close friend and School of Communications fourth-year Lucy London said. “He really knows how to execute them.”

While in the past he would put himself in others’ shoes to embody a character on stage, now he uses the skill to envision a brand that would appeal to his clients, Towns said.

Towns has the ability to look at his work from a different lens and make it unique by taking it from surface level to impactful, said Gianna Sobieski, a colleague who has watched Towns work and has collaborated with him on numerous projects.

“It really makes it easy to surround yourself with a person like him because he always wants to make you feel like what you're saying matters,” Sobieski said.

For Towns, producing creative work is a way for him to impact the people around him, whether it be by creating compelling advertisements or helping Northwestern students make educated campus housing decisions.

“If you're a person that can continue to create, you will always be doing somebody else a favor,” Towns said.