Iowa State alumnus named on Forbes 30 Under 30

Ty Stafford graduated from Iowa State University in 2011 with an advertising and speech communications major. This year he was named on Forbes 30 Under 30 advertising and marketing list.

Sydney Novak

Ty Stafford graduated from Iowa State in 2011 with a major in advertising and speech communications. This year he was named on Forbes 30 Under 30 advertising and marketing list. 

As an incoming freshman from West Des Moines, Stafford had an undeclared major his first semester at Iowa State. Stafford declared a major in advertising and speech communication his second semester.

“I am severely dyslexic and realized advertising had the least amount of reading, that was a big part of it,” Stafford said. “More importantly, presenting became a big part of what advertising is.”

When Stafford was a sophomore at Iowa State, he was able to land an internship on the “Jimmy Kimmel Show” by reaching out to the local ABC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa. He sent his video submission to them and after winning them over asked if they would send it to their connections to ABC headquarters in Los Angeles. 

Stafford made different videos for each late night show he applied for including Conan O’Brien, Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. All these videos were filmed around Ames and Iowa State. 

Taking advantage of your time in college to build your own brand is something Stafford feels is extremely important. Diversifying his skillset is what he personally feels made him successful. 

“And it’s not gonna get easier after college, I’ll tell ya that,” Stafford said. “It’s time to take some risks because the stakes are lower than they’ll ever be.”

During his time as a student, Stafford was a student brand manager for Red Bull, interned on the  “Jimmy Kimmel Show,” started an advertising agency with a few friends and started his own YouTube  channel. He was also in a fraternity. 

“I remember wheeling a filing cabinet into the library during finals week that said test answers on the front,” Stafford said. “Then when you opened it there were Red Bulls inside.”

Stafford advises students to “make stuff” during their free time. Making his YouTube channel, something that was very low budget and at the time not a very popular platform, he garnered around 10,000 subscribers, which was a lot for someone to have in 2009.

“Just make shit, and that applies to anything you do,” Stafford said. “Whether you’re going into engineering, whether you’re going into theater, whether you’re going into business.”

As a student brand manager for Red Bull, this was noticed by headquarters. A few weeks before graduation he was offered a job at Red Bull headquarters. After graduation Stafford drove to Los Angeles to start his career. 

“They put me in charge of their global YouTube strategy, which in retrospect was so irresponsible of them,” Stafford said. 

Stafford’s personal favorite project was when Felix Baumgartner jumped from space, which broke the world record for most live streams on YouTube at the time.

Stafford was able to grow the channel to over a billion views and 4 million subscribers. He produced all the U.S. content and executive produced all the global content. After six years of working with Red Bull, Stafford became the senior creative manager at Omelet. 

Omelet is a full service creative agency in Los Angeles and an independent agency. It was for his work at Omelet he was recommended for the Forbes 30 Under 30 advertising and marketing list. Stafford was the only one on the advertising and marketing list who didn’t own their own agency. 

For the past three months, Stafford has worked for NVE, an experimental advertising agency. 

“I don’t make five year plans, I don’t make future plans like that, I want to chase passions and things that excite me,” Stafford said.