There’s an art installation at McKinney composed of metal letters that spell out “Defy What Is.” That’s exactly the advice McKinney Director of Media Swap Patel shared with a roomful of marketing students at Duke last evening.

“In advertising, you can choose to do things conventionally, but it’s the unexpected that truly stands out,” he said. “If we live to defy the traditional, we’ll be invited into people’s lives, and that’s what we strive to do every day.”

Swap presented several campaigns, including “Find Your Fun” for Crocs, “The Last Barfighter” for Big Boss Brewing and “Color Search” for Sherwin-Williams.

“These campaigns were created with a truth in mind,” he offered. “People don’t care about brands. They care about themselves. So for a brand to matter to someone, we need to connect it to that person’s hopes, dreams and desires. When we do that, we create work that drives business and builds brands.”