If you tuned into MTV anytime during the last few years, you probably caught a round of commercials. MTV is known for their social campaigns (Get Yourself Tested, It’s Your Sex Life, A Thin Line, I’m Positive) which run during popular shows like “Teen Mom” and reminded viewers that there were a range of options for cyberbullying, sexually transmitted diseases, and safe sex. One of the brains behind that campaign is none other than David Grad, who left Florida State with two BAs in 1994.
The road to success started for Grad during Boys State, a leadership conference hosted by FSU. It was here that David fell in love with Florida State’s campus and the seed of chasing social-good was planted. He hit the ground running, pursuing two BA’s in Theatre and Communication. “I was able to strike a balance between exploring creative expression in theatre and cultivating a deeper understanding of what motivates and engages audiences through communications,” he recalls.
When his time at Florida State was finished, he worked in television, theatre and film as an actor. Shortly after that, he was writing, shooting and editing, running art departments for commercial shoots and finally found himself in production management and producing.
In 2006, he was offered a position with MTV’s new channel, MTV Tr3s. It was a big step for Grad, “Building an aspirational brand for young Latinos in the US gave me the opportunity to move closer to the purpose-driven work I had always longed to do.” Years later, he was given the chance to lead MTV’s on-air arm, in charge of developing pro-social initiatives.
Here’s where the social campaigns come in. Over the years, Grad had been nominated for four Emmy awards. His work in prosocial campaigns paid off in 2014 with an Emmy award for the campaign “It’s Your Sex Life.” Though Grad has a successful career and a list of awards to prove it, his passion for his work still takes center stage. “Encouraging open communication, safe sex practices, regular testing for STD’s, and confidence in owning one’s sexual health, it was a pleasure to be able to help young people overcome some of their biggest challenges,” he says.
After eight years, Grad left MTV with 3 Emmy nominations, an Emmy win, as well as a gracie, Imagen, Beacon, Promax, Namic and numerous Creativity & Mark awards. While all this was happening, Grad pursued his Master’s degree in Strategic Communications during his time at MTV/Viacom.
Currently, Grad has joined the team at Siegelvision, a brand strategy firm based in New York City. The move allows him to work directly with the non-profits and NGOs that he has worked to champion.
“I thank Florida State for providing me with the confidence necessary for seeking a life of professional exploration aimed at maximizing my personal impact.”
Check out some of David’s work on Vimeo.