Dr. Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna Presents “Is this safe to eat? Food Safety after Fukushima”


Photo Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

Dr. Nicolas Sternsdorff-Cisterna, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, presented his work “Is this safe to eat? Food safety and risk after Fukushima” on Friday at the TAI Research Brown Bag. The participants were taken through the tragedy that struck Japan after a devastating earthquake, nuclear explosion and tsunami put people, food, soil and water at risk of radiation. Professor Sternsdorff-Cisterna discussed  consumers’ reactions to food purchases and eating habits along with government messaging working to alleviate consumer and citizen concerns.


Bags of Soil / Photo Credit: Toru Hanai/Reuters

The intent of the brown bag luncheon is to bring together faculty members to present work they are doing in an effort to engage collaboration as well as offer ideas in moving the research area forward.

japan_earthquake_map_Sendai_Fukushima_nuclear_power_plantAttendees included Visiting Professor Yuting Li, Head of the Advertising Department, Guangdong University of Finance & Economics, China as well as colleagues from across campus. Often the work is related to research, but can also involved creative works and industry endeavors.  Our next brown bag will be in December. Keep your eye out for highlights from December’s presenter!


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TAI Professor is Keynote Speaker: 2015 Breakfast for the Bridge

The Bridge’s purpose is to end adult long-term homelessness in Dallas and the surrounding region by developing, coordinating, and/or delivering: Outreach/intake services, Jail diversion/reentry services, Emergency shelter/transitional shelter services, Primary health care/behavioral health care services, Recreational/educational services, Employment income/supported employment income/disability income services, and Affordable housing/supportive housing services.

By doing so, The Bridge benefits the broader community by: Increasing public safety, Increasing public health, Increasing public quality of life.

SMU’s own Willie Baronet will provide the keynote on November 20, 2015 at Breakfast for the Bridge fundraiser.

Willie_BridgeWillie is a noted artist, author, TedXSMU talker and creative soul. He is the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising at the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU. Since 1993, Willie has been buying and collecting signs from the homeless for the purpose of using them in art exhibits and documentaries. These signs and this practice have become a catalyst for conversations about the nature of home, homelessness, compassion and how we see and treat each other as humans.


If you are an adult experiencing homelessness in Dallas, please contact 214.670.1101 for help.

To support the Bridge please click here.

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TAI Graduate Student Spotlight: Snow Wang

Snow%20in%20Graphic%20Design%20positionIn mid-October, one of TAI’s second year MA in Advertising students, Snow Wang, began working in the Office of Student Transitions & Orientation. Here she is charged with graphic design projects for Recruitment Materials, Mustang Corral Graphics, Mustang Corral Compass as well as AARO Schedules and Student Transitions & Orientation Magazine.

Dr. Carrie La Ferle, Professor of Advertising as a Cultural Force and International Advertising, commented “How great it is when students are able to earn money working in positions that are also related to their field while also benefiting their university! It is just a win-win-win all around.” For more information on the MA in Advertising program, click here.

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Justa vs. Whata: The Importance of Enterprise in Advertising

By: Alice Kendrick

KendrickAlice When I first moved to Texas, a friend introduced me to the iconic institution Whataburger. First, I learned I had to make a basic choice: theJustaburger or the Whataburger. 

Really? “Justa”?????? I thought why settle for Justa when you could have WHATA???

The Justa mentality won’t get you very far in the field of advertising. The notion of merely finishing a task or producing acceptable work is at odds with the ‘always on,’ iterative and optimization-seeking nature of the business. Advertising’s ever-changing, highly competitive and creative environment rewards the Whata’s — the enterprising — those who don’t consider completion of assignments as the end goal but rather strive to make the work better and best by repeatedly (iteratively) going above and beyond the proverbial call of duty.

My favorite definition of enterprising comes from the Oxford Dictionary:

“Having or showing initiative and resourcefulness”. Whata combination, right?

The example they give is “Some enterprising teachers have started their own recycling programs.” So, the teachers were not asked to initiate recycling programs; they did it on their own.

Initiative and resourcefulness – going above and beyond (and often in the face of shrinking budgets) – are traits that are highly valued in advertising, for it is the new, great, integrated, efficient, clever, impactful idea or way of doing something better that wins the day, the account, the prize. If you are satisfied with simply doing something per instructions, being a professional marketing communicator might not be the place for you. I was an ‘A’ student in college, but my first internship employer gave me a wake-up call about initiative when in his evaluation he wrote that although my work was of high quality, I was not enterprising. I actually had to look it up in the dictionary, as I thought the word involved making money. It means a lot more than that. That’s all I needed to hear, and I am forever grateful that he offered that candid assessment. I have never looked back.

empphoto_40815_1334870481I draw an enormous amount of inspiration as a teacher and researcher from our fantastic TAI alumni, many of whom are incredibly enterprising. A recent example is the award-winning advertising campaign for the movie The Book Thief, masterminded by our own
alumna Julie Rieger (’91), EVP-Media of 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles. Never one to be satisfied with a Justa-campaign, Julie flexed her enterprise as a student when she led SMU’s 1991 AAF National Student Advertising Competition team to its first national ranking. poster-large

In an effort to optimize the media budget for The Book Thief, Julie made history by negotiating the purchase of two consecutive blank pages in the New York Times, the second of which simply offered the movie’s URL www.wordsarelife.com. Arresting. Innovative. Shareworthy. On strategy given the movie’s message. Resourceful. Enterprising. You can learn more about how this Whata-promotion and our Whata-alum here.

So, how can students be more enterprising? Before class, not only read the chapter but also find your own examples of what’s being discussed. And share. If you really want to shock your prof, send an unsolicited (enterprising) email with a link to an article you think she might find interesting. This semester, two of my 57 students did that. Yes, I noticed. Don’t just fulfill the expectations for an assignment. Blow. It. Out. Of. The. Water. We will notice. So will your internship supervisors when you use your down time to create an annotated bibliography of current research and thinking on a subject related to an agency account. Knock their proverbial socks off. They will notice. And they will later write you a Whata-recommendation.

Just by writing this I’m getting my enterprise on. We may need to start a movement here. #upforwhata? #beyondwhata? #bethewhata? #taiwhata?

Dr. Alice Kendrick is a professor in the Temerlin Advertising Institute, SMU. The best way to reach her is akendric@smu.edu.

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Industry veteran Brad Todd shares his insights

SMU Ad Club recently welcomed Mr. Brad Todd, Principal at the Richards Group, to campus to share his insights about the advertising industry, and his experience as a Marketing Director at Frito Lay. To a packed room in the newly renovated Advertising co-working space, Mr. Todd has discussed his more than 40 years of experience, working on both the agency and client side around the country and world (Chicago, Japan, and Dallas to name a few places). He has worked for many big brands, including Hallmark, Kimberly-Clark, Cheetos and Doritos.

IMG_4947From the beginning of his career, Brad learned early to work on anything and everything to gain experience and to try and understand things from the consumer perspective. He claims that being proactive is critical to success. However, being able to step back and look at the situation from an outside perspective will give your work a competitive edge and provide value to your client.

Mr. Todd reminded students that advertising is just aspect of the branding process. He recognizes, “It’s an important piece, but small,” and it is important to understand how a company works overall to ensure the marketing contributes to the larger goals of each organization.

Brand transformations are an especially rewarding experience. By reinventing a brand and making it relevant to consumers, advertising helps move a product from a so so in the minds of consumers, to a household name.

Fortunately, Mr. Todd has had multiple experience with brand transformations, including creating the widely known Sun Chips from a relatively underperforming chip named Pronto.

Students had many questions, so Brad gave advice about moving forward in their careers. His top tip was to make sure that you have internships get the experience needed to set you apart. Internships also let you explore different agencies and departments in agencies to find your passion. He also had great advice in how to choose a job. Some points mentioned were:

  1. to look at the distance between your position and the decision maker to ensure you can impact the brand, and
  2. make sure there is room for you to grow in the long run, either within the agency or as a stepping stone for your career.

Importantly new employees must be flexible. Given the speed at which the industry is changing, students must maintain a willingness to learn and an

active curiosity in order to stay relevant.

Moving forward may be scary, but to win in advertising Mr. Todd implores everyone…“Be curious. Be uncomfortable. Jump In.”Brad_Todd_7_7_15

Brad Todd may be contacted via LinkedIn.

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Perks and Ping Pong

paddles1During my senior year in college, one of my final portfolio courses was taught by an art director/copywriter team from Publicis. Halfway through the semester they took us on a tour of their offices and, for whatever reason, I remember being so impressed by the fact that the creative department had its own ping pong table. As a poor college student who had only worked hourly jobs for minimum wage, I was incredulous. You mean, you get to play ping pong… on the clock? Right then and there, I knew that I had chosen the right major – advertising.

Since then I’ve been able to reverse roles and take several groups of students to New York to tour some of the most respected ad agencies in the world. Each place has its own story, personality, strengths and weaknesses. But every single one of them has a ping pong table.

Now, by “ping pong table” I mean some kind of perk or feature of the agency that makes it a more attractive or convenient place to work. In some cases the “ping pong table” is a foosball table. In smaller shops it’s a free beer cart on Fridays. In the bigger agencies it’s an onsite barber, doctor or daycare, a state-of-the-art workout facility, full-time masseuse or a rooftop patio with a million dollar view (and wifi, of course). It’s always fun and a bit nostalgic for me to watch the faces of my students light up as each new tour guide tries to one-up the previous agency with some previously unimaginable perk that makes work more fun and life more convenient.

(Cue grizzled agency veteran on a mission to disabuse students of their wide-eyed naiveté)
“It’s a trap! Don’t fall for it, kids!”

It’s hard to see how free beer and neck massages could be a bad thing. But you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see the potential danger in some of the more elaborate fringe benefits. There is a fine line between conveniences that make our busy lives more manageable, and conveniences that make it so we never have to leave work. Does the agency offer a doctor on-site to keep their employees happy and healthy? Or because they’re running their people ragged? Do they offer on-site daycare because they care about your family, or because it tricks you into working even longer hours?

After my students have had a chance to revel in their ping pong moment, I typically initiate a fireside chat about three options:

1). You can become a burned-out workaholic with titles, money and perks galore.
2). You can become an ungrateful cynic who is needlessly suspicious of your employer’s generosity.
3). You can understand the difference between means and ends.

I’ll save the first two points for another time because it’s the third that really holds the key to successfully navigating the whole issue. Whether or not an employer has ulterior motives for offering perks like these doesn’t really matter at the end of the day if you keep your desired end distinct from the means necessary to attain it. If your end goal is to get married, have a family and live happily ever after in the suburbs, then take advantage of whatever perks your employer offers to make your desired end a reality. If your end goal is to see your name in all the award books and earn a six-figure income by the time you’re 30, then use whatever perks your employer offers to make that end a reality. I’m not trying to suggest that you can have it all – we all have to make sacrifices and sometimes you have to make tough choices between competing goods. All I’m trying to say is that most people want more out of life than an agency with a ping pong table. So, don’t treat the agency you’re working at or the ping pong table like they’re an end in themselves.

There is one complication, though: this whole ends-and-means thing can get a little tricky for those who are trying to break in to the advertising industry. The harsh reality is that, while you’re young, you will be expected to work a near-impossible number of hours. But again, I suppose this is the way it is in most highly-competitive professions – not just advertising. If this is where you find yourself, you will have to make a list of two kinds of ends: provisional ends (i.e., short term goals) and final ends (i.e., long term goals).

Take for example a former art direction student of mine who had the long term goal of being married, with a family and working as a film director on the west coast. From this final end he worked backward to figure out what his provisional ends needed to be after he graduated. This process led him to accept a job at an agency known for doing great work, but also for being somewhat of a sweat shop. And even though he worked like a crazy man for two solid years, he kept his head on straight, saved his money and built a solid portfolio. All of this opened the door at a great agency in NYC that would give him opportunities to work with great film directors. From here he built up his reel, made a lot of important industry connections and 3 years later he and his lovely wife were on their way to LA to start his first solo directing job.

Granted, every story doesn’t work out as planned. Advertising is a volatile industry that requires a certain openness to change and the unknown. But the moral of the story is, don’t let short term perks distract you from your long term goals. There are many things about a career in advertising that can lead to burnout or an unhealthy work/life balance. But all professions have their Sirens. At the same time, some of the best things about a career in advertising are the many perks, options, relationships and connections that you can use to your advantage wherever your journey takes you – that is, if you can keep your head on straight.

Mark Allen, Lecturer


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Design from the Heart 

MendenhallCherylBy Cheryl Mendenhall, Senior Lecturer

Here at the Temerlin Advertising Institute we stress the importance of responsibility in advertising, whether that is professional responsibility, social responsibility, or the everyday choices we make in our field. My focus is in graphic design, and I wanted to share with you some of the many ways design can be used for the greater good. It can be small things like using recycled paper or soy ink in a project or something big like designing a way for people to communicate in health care situations where there may be a language barrier.

Many non-profits struggle to get their message heard; we as designers can help develop strategies and create materials to accomplish their unique goals.

HRMYou may know immediately what cause speaks to you, but if not, there are many resources available to help you find a connection. American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) has a program called Design for Good described as “a movement to ignite, accelerate and amplify design-driven social change.” On their website they showcase inspiring projects and provide a wide variety of resources including ways for connecting designers and non-profits, groups that provide learning opportunities, and sources for funding and support grants for your self-initiated projects.

Or how about this? What do you get when you combine creatives, non-profits and a super quick deadline? A fantastic idea for helping out non-profits – a 24-hour createathon. Now that’s a GOOD reason to pull an all-nighter.

Here are some projects I find interesting:KZoo

I began working with non-profits early in my career as a way to give back when I didn’t have the money to donate. I continue to do it now because it brings me joy.

How we use our skills is up to us. I encourage you to find something that speaks to your heart and share your skills.

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Temerlin Advertising Institute Hosts Dr. Padmini Patwardhan from Winthrop University as 2015-2016 Research Fellow

Dr. Patwardhan visited TAI last week to undertake research related to leadership issues in the advertising industry. She spent her week interviewing faculty and industry professionals to gain insight into the leadership process. She will also be undertaking interviews with executives in NYC. During her visit, she was able to interact with faculty and get to experience a taste of Texas fun at the Katy Trail Ice House.

2015-09-28-TAI%20sign-Steve-Padmini-Carrie-Peter 2015-10-02-Katy%20Trail%20Lunch-Padmini

Temerlin Advertising Institute (TAI) at Southern Methodist University is a research-oriented institute composed of distinguished faculty with both industry and academic backgrounds. The purpose of the TAI Research Fellows program is to foster research collaboration and provide catalysts for advancing our understanding of the field of advertising.



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TAI Student Tien Dang Completes Internship at Publicis HCG in NYC

In February, SMU Advertising major (’16) Tien Dang was selected for the 2015 Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). Read about her experience summer internship experience below. IMG_6731

“This summer, I interned at Publicis HCG. I was also a part of MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Internship Program). In simpler terms, I participated in an intensive advertising internship. From 9am-5pm, I’d work on projects at my internship. This ranged from planning social events for the office, to writing copy for clients, and even working on an unbranded depression app for the Apple Watch for our intern project. At 5pm, I’d go home to grab dinner and would continue to work from 6-10pm, sometimes even later on MAIP’s project partnering with Weiden + Kennedy on a Nike campaign.

IMG_6246My first day in New York was a scene right out of a movie. I managed to get myself to Target via subway, but had no idea how to get back home. The Uber driver who picked me up not only offered me his mixtape and a date the following weekend, but also dropped me off no where near where I needed to be. My phone died and my friends that I somehow managed to find accidentally put me on the wrong train home. When I finally made it back, I realized that between lugging my purchases from Target around town, and grabbing dinner, I had lost my ID to get into my room. I was feeling discouraged, but was hopeful for better days to come.

IMG_6698As the summer moved forward, I became more acquainted with the city and the people that came with it. The one thing that I loved most about interning in NYC and being apart of MAIP was that I had 80 other friends who were experiencing the same things I was. We made each other laugh, cooked dinner when someone was too busy to feed themselves, and always made it a point to keep everyone motivated. As interns and fellows, we learned to work hard and save some time to play as well. We filled our free days with visits to Coney Island, stuffing our faces with delicious food at Smorgasburg, and appreciating all of the art that NYC had to offer.

By August, my internship was coming to a bittersweet end. MAIP celebrated with a week long Face of Talent program. Not only was I able to network with some of advertising’s best agencies, but I was also awarded ANA’s Multicultural Excellence Scholarship, which will help me finish out my last year at SMU. I left New York with a renewed passion for advertising, as well as an appreciation for how far I had come that summer. There aren’t many things I know for certain, but I do know that this isn’t the last that New York has seen of me.”

The 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) connects aspiring diverse entry- level advertising professionals with prestigious advertising agencies. Since its inception in 1973, MAIP offers multicultural students a unique paid, full-time summer internship at 4A’s participating agencies nationwide, combining real-world work experience, networking opportunities within the industry, and a valuable professional credential to better position themselves in the marketplace. Simultaneously, the program offers advertising agencies the opportunity to access top talent and strengthens the 4A’s efforts to enhance the workforce diversity of our industry.

The 2016 MAIP application deadline is October 30, 2015.

Posted in AAF, Awards and Projects, Engaged Learning, Internships, Professional Development, Scholarship, Scholarships, TAI Students, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Marketing Communications Should Build Relationships

Having the privilege to teach in The Temerlin ADVERTISING Institute, I was thinking about my current graduate course, Consumer Engagement Strategies, and the concept of “advertising.”
After much thought, I simply no longer believe that advertising is a particularly relevant or needed construct to describe the way marketing communications is currently practiced.

Advertising. Public Relations. Social Media. Corporate Communications. Sales Promotion. Media. Where does one end and the other begin?

Each of the above distinctions are a product of a bygone era that are quickly eroding. In my mind the quicker the better! These terms describe particular job functions that should no longer be the focus of our attention. Rather we must focus broadly on the purpose of communicating; building relationships.

advertisingCredit to Hugh MacLeod

For example, advertising has often been defined as, “…the nonpersonal communication of information usually paid for and usually persuasive in nature about products, services or ideas by identified sponsors through the various media.”(Bovee, 1992, p. 7). Such a definition tells what advertising was, but not why it was used. And it certainly does not capture what modern advertising agencies do…they build relationships.

Until 2012, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defined public relations as “helping an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” A modern definition suggests, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

But these mutually beneficial relationships are not the exclusive domain of PR or any communications discipline. All of the above traditional communications disciplines define different processes to communicate with those with whom they interact. People in advertising use terms like customers, targets, segments, and opinion leaders. People in public relations call them stakeholders. Social media specialists look for evangelists and influencers.

All marketing communications [should] have the goal of building relationships. Building relationships requires engaging with people. The best way to engage people is to serve them, provide them something of value.

Messages are valuable to the degree they are relevant to another party. Messages provide value by either informing or entertaining. Whether the end result of the interaction is transactional or something longer-term, serving people should be the goal.

Serving people solves problems, creates good will, and builds relationships.

Is this advertising, public relations, sales promotion, or …?


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