TAI Student Monica Gonzalez Starts Event Planning Company

Many college students dream of starting a business of their own. Get to be your own boss. Work on what you’re passionate about. It’s a student’s dream job. However, many aspiring entrepreneurs never achieve this goal because of the many challenges they may face along the way. TAI student Monica Gonzalez has achieved her dream by starting her own event planning company, D’LUXE Group.

Gonzalez gained experience creating relationships with restaurants, bars, and other vendors while working for UConnection, a recently launched app that provides college students with discounts for off campus dining. She used these connections and her networking ability as a starting block to create her event planning company.

“My experience with UConnection helped me penetrate into the restaurant/bar industry in Dallas,” Gonzalez said. “Based off of the relationships I created from my summer with UConnection, I was able to easily approach the business that I knew would be interested in partnering up with D’LUXE Group, if they had previously shown interest in the SMU market. I never fully understood the power of building relationships until now. These people I took the time to know have given me their unconditional support and would do anything in their power to see D’LUXE Group succeed.”

Monica Gonzalez and her partners Gabriel Gonzalez (left) and Jonathan Garay (right).

Since its inception in December 2016 D’LUXE has helped local sororities and fraternities plan events for their chapters, including SMU’s chapters of Pi Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi, and Phi Delta. Gonzalez has had lots of help along the way, including her partners former SMU Cox student Jonathan Garay and current SMU Cox student Gabriel Gonzalez.

“The three of us have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to the development of our company,” Gonzalez said. “It is incredible to see how each one of us brings something different to the table. We complement each other in our personal strengths and weaknesses.”

Like any other new business, there have been challenges along the way. However, the rewards of creating a business surely outweigh the negatives.

“The most challenging part, like any other entrepreneur might say, is the unlimited hours and effort building a business takes,” Gonzalez said. “And it makes it even harder when you don’t see a profit right away. [However,] the awesome partnerships I’ve created and seeing my friends having the best time ever at the events D’LUXE Group has organized for them is very rewarding.”

Gonzalez has used her advertising education and skills to help her brand her company from scratch. She has also appreciated the help of TAI’s professors and faculty.

“My advertising courses have taught me how to brand a company from the ground up,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve learned the power of promotion and the platforms that should be used to maximize your media budget. I would like to thank TAI for their unconditional support and mentorship. They have always believed in me even when I did not. They are the reason I was brave enough to decline two internships and take a leap of faith in building D’LUXE Group.”

With so much support along the way, Gonzalez has been able to create a business that she is proud of and achieve her dream along the way.

“My career-driven dream and goal has always been to build a business I am passionate about,” Gonzalez said. “D’LUXE Group has not only given me the opportunity to start my own business, but has also gifted me with the privilege of doing what I love most: long-lasting relationships, event planning, and brand building.”

To contact D’LUXE Group, call (512) 563-4073 or email dluxegroupdallas@gmail.com

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TAI Student Paige Brown Will Graduate a Year Early

Many students enter college with no idea what they want to major or have a career in. This can put a lot of students behind when it comes to graduating on time. However, if you’re one of the lucky few who has a good idea of what you want to do then you might even be able to graduate early. TAI student Paige Brown will be graduating this May, an entire year earlier than expected, with an Advertising (Digital Media Strategy) major and a French minor.

Brown came into college undecided on a major. She only knew that she had strengths in English and the humanities, and did not want to pursue math and science.

“I briefly considered being a markets and cultures major,” Brown said. “I also contemplated applying to Cox Business School to study marketing, but decided against it. I did not want to spend money or time on learning a lot of general business prerequisites, such as accounting or economics, and only taking a handful of actual marketing classes. I chose advertising because it is a more specific, creative alternative without all of those excessive prerequisites.”

After deciding on advertising, Brown took the required courses and applied for the advertising program in the Spring semester of her freshman year. Once admitted into the major, TAI’s advertising program is designed to be completed in two years – four consecutive semesters. With good planning and foreword thinking, Brown was able to finish her requirements for graduation in three years.

“I was officially accepted into the school the summer before my sophomore year,” Brown said. “It is only a 2-year long program, so I knew I would be able to complete my major studies by 2017. After double-checking to make sure I could also fit in my French minor, University Honors Program, and general UC requirements I went into my academic advisor’s office and changed my graduation date. For other schools besides TAI, I may have needed to take J-term or summer courses to accomplish everything in time to graduate early but I was able to get everything completed in the fall and spring semesters. This was extremely helpful because I used winter and summer breaks to intern.”

Throughout her years in the advertising program, Brown has had the opportunity to connect closely with fellow advertising students as well as getting to know her professors on a more relatable level than most.

TAI Digital Media Strategy students

“My favorite part about the advertising program was the people,” Brown said. “The faculty members are so inspiring, and care deeply about your future. There were several instances when my professors shared job opportunities with me, set up interviews, wrote recommendation letters, nominated me for scholarships and awards, and encouraged me to apply for Ad Team. Not only did they do this, but they all took the extra step and continually followed up with me to ask how things were going or if they could do anything to help me. The peers in my digital advertising classes also became my friends as we spent hours with each other every day and bonded over group projects. The class sizes were small, you always felt engaged and present, and it was extremely motivating.”

Her advertising courses provided her with a strong skillset to succeed in previous internships, as well as her future endeavors.

“My advertising classes have prepared me by covering real life case studies, terminology, and know-how,” Brown said. “One of my favorite classes was about how to behave and communicate in an agency setting. All of the courses are very practical and can be easily applied to your career if you are going into digital advertising. There were countless times at my internship where someone would introduce an idea or task to me, and I would already be familiar with it because of prior class discussions and projects.”

This past summer and fall semester, Brown interned with digital marketing agency Wpromote, acting as both SEO & Social Intern and Client Success Intern.

Brown (left) and fellow intern Alex Perez in the office.

“My internship experience was incredibly relevant, and made me feel like I am ready to enter into my advertising career this upcoming May,” Brown said. “I was assigned real work, had a number of helpful mentors from various departments, and created and presented a full digital campaign to the VP and other agency leaders. I now have working experience with SEO, social media, paid search, content creation, and client services. I feel confident and well-equipped for my future in digital advertising.”

With internship experience and her advertising degree in hand, Brown is planning on starting a career in the advertising industry post-graduation.

“I’m leaning towards [working at] a full service digital agency because of my degree’s digital specialization and my previous internship and work experience,” Brown said. “Digital is what everyone is using now, and will continue to use for the foreseeable future, and it’s always changing. I love that advertising in the digital space is a valued expertise that challenges you to keep up and continue to learn.”

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An Evaluation of 2017 Super Bowl Advertising

Whether a football fan or not, advertising professionals and students love to watch the Super Bowl, critiquing each advertisement that comes across the screen. Every year there are majority favorites that are usually run by the same few brands; however, this year there were a few changes to the lineup. Easy to say Super Bowl LI was one for the books!

Each year SMU’s Ad Club hosts a Super Bowl Ad Critique following the game. Members of Ad Club get together to discuss their favorite and least favorite advertisements from the Super Bowl and why. This year’s event was Tuesday, February 7, and a few Ad Club members shared their thoughts about the big changes in 2017.

One of the most surprising differences was that the fan favorite from past years, Doritos, did not participate in this year’s Super Bowl.

“I thought it was interesting [that Doritos did not participate] considering they usually participate through their commercial competition,” TAI student Eric Sedeno said. “I think it was a bad move on their part to not put any ads at all because their ads are ones that get more publicity than most.”

Although Heinz’s “Weiner Stampede” was highly loved last year, they did not run an ad during the Super Bowl. Instead, they have a campaign centered around the game in which they are attempting to make the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday. There is even a Change.org petition started by Heinz. While this may seem like a joke to many, Heinz is serious in its commitment to making the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday.

Ad Club members at the Ad Club Super Bowl Party.

“I think it was a genius move,” TAI student Alex Gurasich said. “Instead of just having another ad, they are actually trying to make a difference with the dollars they would’ve otherwise spent on a Super Bowl ad. I think it was a great marketing tactic, even if it will probably never work.”

Wendy’s released its first Super Bowl ad in 50 years. Mr. Clean also ran its first ever Super Bowl spot this year, with an interesting theme no doubt.

“I enjoyed the [Mr. Clean] spot very much,” Sedeno said. “It was clever, it hit their target market insanely well, and although it made some people very uncomfortable it got stuck in everyone’s head.”

This year boutique hair care brand It’s A 10 ran their first Super Bowl ad as well – the first ad ever run by a privately owned professional hair care company during the game.

“While this commercial was obviously referencing the president, I believe this one is in good fun,” Gurasich said. “Compared to the other politically fueled ads, this one is pretty tame and I think it works in its favor. I enjoyed the diversity of hairstyles; that was a good introduction to the ‘10’ brand.”

As everyone knows, a popular theme among advertisers was equality and diversity. Although many of the ads were in production before President Trump’s executive order concerning travel and immigration, it is clear that this is a topic that runs deep in America.

“I think that messages filled with love and acceptance were something that America needed to hear this year,” TAI student Jolie Guz said. “I am glad that advertisers could take the stage during commercial breaks and stand up for those whose voices may not be heard.”

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SMU Ad Team Leaders Expectations for Competition

2017 Ad Team members.

With their first workshop completed, SMU’s NSAC Ad Team has begun their work toward creating a campaign for Tai Pei Frozen Asian Foods. SMU’s Ad Team is broken up into four smaller teams: Creative, Strategy/Planning, Media & Research, and Account. Each team is headed by a team leader, who was chosen by Ad Team manager Professor Amber Benson. With Ad Team beginning, the four team leaders shared their expectations for what this semester will hold for them.

Laura Walsh, Executive Creative Director – Creative Team

“I am extremely optimistic for Ad Team this year. There’s so much talent in each area of the team. It won’t always be easy, but I am confident that we can use one another’s strengths and talents as well as Professor Benson’s experience to really succeed in April. As far as creative, I’m excited to see what we can do and how far we can push the envelope with Tai Pei as a client.”

Nicholas McCall, Strategy & Planning Director – Strategy & Planning Team

“I’m really looking forward to working with the members of the Ad Team. We’ve got an incredibly talented group of people with majors ranging from Digital Advertising to Marketing. Everyone has their own unique abilities that they are bringing to the table. It will be awesome to see how we are able to leverage those skills to develop the best possible advertising campaign for Tai Pei!”

Gifford Mellick, Research & Media Director – Research & Media Team

“I’m really excited to be a part of Ad Team this year, there are so many smart and talented people participating! We all want to do really well and I know all of the discipline leaders are super excited to work with our teams. Our client this year is very interesting and in a category that doesn’t get talked about that much. I can’t wait to see what our team comes up with in terms of research, strategy and creative. We have a pretty big group so I know a ton of great ideas are going to come out of this project. I really want to make it to nationals, getting out of our district will be tough but I believe our team and resources that we have at TAI and SMU will be a big advantage.”

Lex Pedraza, Group Account Director – Account Team

“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Ad Team experience. With the new organizational structure put in place by Professor Benson this year you can definitely feel a renewed sense of excitement from the entire team. I truly believe this year we have the smartest, most creative and most dedicated students on our team and I’m looking forward to winning it all this year!”

From a leadership perspective, everyone has a positive outlook going into this semester. Ad Team will present their integrated marketing communications plan at the AAF District 10 Convention, ADVENTION, on Wednesday, April 5 in Fort Worth, Texas. The winning team(s) from each district will advance to the semi-finals competition in early May. Eight finalists will then compete for the national title at the annual ADMERICA conference, which will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana in early June. TAI is confident in Ad Team’s abilities and cannot wait to see what they come up with.

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TAI Hosts Portfolio Night for Creative Advertising Students

Attendees at the event.

Wednesday, December 7, TAI hosted a Portfolio Night & Exhibition to display the work of creative advertising majors in both Concepting and Advanced Portfolio classes. The event was held in SMU’s Owen Arts Center and was attended by over 100 people. The night started off with an opening reception and exhibition viewing followed by a portfolio review.

During the portfolio review, DFW-area industry professionals from over 15 agencies reviewed the students’ creative work. Industry reviewers at the event included Amanda Fowler, The Richards Group; Randall Kenworthy, TM; Gus Granger, 70kft; Jason Shipp, Moroch; Kevin Sutton, Moroch; Matt Lindner, Moroch; Zack Ward, Johnson & Sekin; Kent Johnson, Johnson & Sekin; David Wilgus, The Launch Agency; Anna Lee Doughtie, TracyLocke; Arturo Lee, Dieste; Jose Benitez, Dieste; Raul Mendez, Dieste; Greg Hunter, Firehouse; Michelle Sensale, The Richards Group; Abraham Campillo, The Richards Group; Rob Wilson, Illustrator / Designer; Alan Lidji, Lidji Design Office; Keisha Whaley, LDWWgroup; Jim Sykora, Willow St. Agency; Larry Johannes, Willow St. Agency; Mallory Massa, 3 Headed Monster; Blake Cleavenger, 3 Headed Monster; Travis Hanson, 3 Headed Monster; Ken Koester, KoesterDesign; Ky Lewis, Infinite Agency; Jordan Spencer, Infinite Agency.

Some of the work featured at the event.

“The most common thing I heard from our reviewers over the course of the night was that the work was really strong and only seemed to be getting better and better,” TAI Lecturer and Creative Professor Mark Allen said. “After seeing the work in the exhibition and the portfolio review, I had several agencies ask for recommendations for internships and full-time creative positions. My favorite thing about the whole event is getting to watch the faces of my students light up as they finally get to see their work displayed in an art gallery full of creative professionals who are visibly impressed with what’s on the wall—this is the moment when they understand why I push them so hard; why all the late nights and the seemingly endless rounds of changes are worth it.”

Several of the reviewers were also SMU and TAI alums, which provides students with a familiar perspective and encouragement about where they could be in the future. It also serves as a special experience for the alums themselves.

“Getting a chance to sit on the other side of the SMU portfolio review was quite an experience,” TAI alum and Art Director at Dieste Arturo Lee (MA ’14) said. “Seems like it was only yesterday I was having my book evaluated. The only thing that has changed since then is the level of talent, which [has] gone up exponentially. Can’t wait to see what next semester’s students are able to come up with.”

At the end of the night, Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, Willie Baronet, and Mark Allen presented awards to students who had particularly positive reviews and creative work. The student awards include:

Best Concept – Tiffany Giraudon & Caroline Moss, Bumble

Best Art Direction – Helen Rieger & Tiffany Giraudon, Hypnotic Donuts (campaign) and Morgan Hoff & Caroline Moss, Converse Chuck II Poster (single)

Best Copywriting – Nicki Fletcher & Jennifer Nelson, Lotrimin

Best Graphic Design (TIE) – Sam Butz (Cookie Cottage, Zero Gravity and personal branding projects) and Tanner Thompson (Hotel California and NASA Interplanetary Missions posters)

Best Video/Commercial – Tanner Thompson & Sofie Rosell, Anonymous

Best Digital/Non-traditional – Laura Walsh & Christina Skertchly, 1-800-GOT-JUNK App

Best Overall – Tanner Thompson & Morgan Hoff, Dallas Grilled Cheese, Co.

Students Morgan Hoff and Tanner Thompson with their awards.

“It was really rewarding to see all of the student’s hard work being shown off at Portfolio Night,” TAI creative advertising student Morgan Hoff said. “I couldn’t believe how many people came to see our work! It was also a great way to show my friends and family what I’m passionate about. The feedback I received from industry professionals was really valuable too, because it helps me improve my work and helps me understand what agencies are looking for when they are reviewing portfolios. Overall, it was a really exciting event.”

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SMU’s Inaugural Digital Accelerator Program

Entrepreneurship in Dallas is catching on like wildfire. Even Fortune 500s like AT&T are seeking a start-up culture to drive innovation. Innovation is great but must be managed effectively for business to succeed. Ever-changing technology landscapes and customer expectations means firms must understand how to harness these changes and create new valuable customer experiences that will thrive in the digital world.

Designed to meet the increasing demand for digital skills, the SMU Digital Accelerator trains working professionals in the skills needed to make sense of the complexity of real-world interactions and to apply what is learned to increase ROI within their company/organization. The Temerlin Advertising Institute’s first offering of the SMU Digital Accelerator was held at SMU-in-Plano November 14-17.

“We are pleased with the results of the inaugural Digital Accelerator program,” Managing Director of the SMU Digital Accelerator program Eric Greenberg said. “The feedback from the 30 executives who attended was very positive, and many firms have signed up for additional seats for the Winter and Spring sessions. While we are glad that the experience during the program was positive and getting repeat customers is fantastic, we are looking forward to following our alumni as they implement the ideas generated during the session back at their firm.”

The program had 30 participants representing 19 different companies. Most participants serve as directors/managers within their firm’s marketing/advertising, development or operations division(s). The four full-day in-person program provided interdisciplinary and hands on learning in eight topics: digital strategy, customer experience, design thinking, digital marketing, social media, driving innovation, big data, and digital transformation. Industry subject matter experts facilitated each module. The stand-out module that was a hit among participants was design thinking.

“We are also delighted with the caliber of senior thought leaders who participated as faculty for our inaugural program,” Greenberg said. “For example, Nicki Purcell, the Chief Digital Officer at the Dallas Morning News, did an outstanding job leading executives from firms such as Salesforce.com, Fedex, Cisco, AT&T, and Ericsson, through the design thinking module. Engaging them with hands-on exercises, they learned the tools and principles of design thinking generating innovative ideas to take back to their firms. We are privileged to have business leaders like Nicki as part of our faculty team, who are not only experts on the topics, but also bring real world experiences to share with the class.”

Some of the participants’ testimonials are featured below in a video about the Digital Accelerator.

For more information on the SMU Digital Accelerator program or to register for the next session, visit our website.

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TAI Professor Anna Kim’s Research on Narrative Advertising Accepted to “Journal of Advertising”

TAI Professor Eunjin (Anna) Kim recently had a research paper accepted in another academic journal for her research titled “Why Narrative Ads Work: An Integrated Process Explanation.” To date, Professor Kim has been published in eight academic journals, with another publication forthcoming. She has always been interested in narrative persuasion and persuasion knowledge.

Her most recent accepted publication about narrative advertising will be in the Journal of Advertising. She was motivated to start this research to create a more integrated framework to decipher what makes storytelling and narrative more effective.

“In previous studies, experiments used fake advertisements where consumers would watch and then judge [them],” Professor Kim said. “Most of storytelling advertising is in a video format. If you have to create the stimuli [ad] then it will be artificial. I tested with real TV commercials that aired on CBS over a two-week period from 5:30pm-11:30pm (2/20/2015-3/6/2015). Out of the 312 unique commercials aired, those ads were drawn into a random sample of 25 narrative and 25 non-narrative commercials. Four hundred and eighty-four participants were recruited from an online panel system; each participant was randomly assigned into either a narrative condition or non-narrative condition, watched a single commercial, and then answered a set of questions. I evaluated the responses for each category, comparing the two groups to see how storytelling [commercials] performed compared to non-storytelling commercials among criteria I created.”

This research means a lot to Professor Kim, as it started as her doctoral dissertation. She considers publication in the Journal of Advertising as one of her greatest career accomplishments to this point.

“It is a big accomplishment since Journal of Advertising is the top advertising journal, with an 8-9% acceptance rate,” Professor Kim said. “This paper is one of my dissertation studies that I won a doctoral dissertation proposal award from American Academy of Advertising in 2014. Narrative persuasion is one of the major research areas that I am focusing on. I want to build my reputation on the topic of narrative advertising. So, I say it was a very good start. My first narrative advertising study in the top advertising journal.”

Professor Kim teaches four courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level throughout the year, including Digital Media Strategy 1, Strategic Brand Management, Media Measurement and Metrics, and Theories of Persuasion. Since she started teaching at SMU last fall, Professor Kim has had to learn how to balance both her teaching and research responsibilities effectively.

“Balancing the two is not easy as a junior faculty [member],” Professor Kim said. “I try to set [aside] a time for research only. For example, I focus on teaching from Monday to Thursday and then try to work on research from Friday to Sunday. I teach four different classes per year, two per semester. Since three of them are newly created courses, it takes more time for me to prepare them. The other one is a graduate class. This was not a new course, but it was new to me since I started to teach the course last fall for the first time. Hopefully, next semester I can spend more time on research.”

Through her many years of research, Professor Kim has learned and gained a lot from her various research endeavors. Aside from theoretical and statistical methods and trainings, she considers patience and endless curiosity to be her biggest gains.

“Research is not a simple process,” Professor Kim said. “It takes long time to publish one paper. Conducting a research, including ideation, takes at least a year. Often times it takes more than a year if your data don’t cooperate. Once you conduct research, writing a research paper takes about six months depending on your time availability. Then you submit a paper. The review process takes about a year [sometimes longer]. After you submit a paper, authors usually go through 2-3 revisions until they publish. Now you can see why I have to be patient. [And] one research is not the end of the research on a specific topic. Usually, research at my hands inspires me a lot and makes me curious about why people behave in a certain way and why and how they arrive a certain choice. So over the years of research experience, I’ve got lots of research questions that I want to pursue. I create research idea documents and saved [them] in a folder labeled ‘Research ADD’ on my computer. There are so many interesting phenomena and research questions that I want to explore/solve. Believe or not, sometimes I can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking about them.”

Because of this endless curiosity, Professor Kim will have many future research projects ahead of her. Her next project is a subsequent study about why some narrative ads are more effective than others. She is hopeful that the next paper will also be accepted by the Journal of Advertising.

“As we know, not all stories are equally interesting and fun,” Professor Kim said. “Likewise, not all storytelling ads are equally effective. For example, a story in an ad itself might not be interesting and attention capturing. Even if a story is very good (e.g., fun, interesting, moving, etc.), if the ad contains no brand information, the ad is not effective in terms of branding. If an ad contains too much brand information and the information is not well integrated into a story, this will interfere with the story flow and viewers would get easily get annoyed, thereby developing negative responses to the ad and the brand. Another case could be a situation where consumers cannot relate the ad or brand with themselves. Let’s say an ad story is very interesting/entertaining and brand information is well integrated in the ad. As an advertiser, you feel like you couldn’t do any better than this. You would expect very positive responses from target consumers; however, things could turn out badly if consumers cannot relate themselves with ad characters, situations, and/or advertised product or brand. Ad relevance is another big factor contributing to the effectiveness of narrative advertising.”

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TAI Student Addie Audette Creates Video Package Featuring TAI

For a final project in her Basic Video and Audio Production course, TAI Digital Media student Addie Audette created a video package featuring the Temerlin Advertising Institute and its programs. For the project, she interviewed both TAI students and faculty to get an inside perspective on what TAI has to offer. In the video, you get an insight into everyday life in TAI, including how classes are run, how students interact with professors, and how students work with each other.

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Faculty, Faculty Interviews, Professional Development, TAI Classes, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Leave a comment

TAI Alum Marissa Lopez (’16) Shares How Undergraduate Experiences Influenced Her Career Path

Recent TAI graduate Marissa Lopez (’16) is now working as a Junior Art Director at BBDO in New York. Lopez has quite an impressive resume, participating in both the NSAC Ad Team and AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student (MPMS) program along with a variety of internships during her undergraduate career. Every unique experience that she had in college prepared her for the career she has now.

Marissa Lopez ('16)

Marissa Lopez (’16)

Lopez took advantage of all the internship opportunities she could. She had three advertising internships during her college career, at both large and small advertising agencies and directly for a brand. Working for such different companies allowed Lopez to get an idea of her ideal workplace.

“The summer before my Senior year was when I had my first advertising agency experience,” Lopez said. “I was an art director intern at Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency located in Dallas. I had the opportunity to work on Cricket Wireless, LaLa Yogurt, and AT&T accounts. When I returned to school in the fall I started an internship at Southwest Airlines as a digital marketing and design intern. I took this opportunity because I was interested in seeing the difference between advertising at an agency versus in-house. At Southwest I got to focus on how print translates into the digital sphere and website design. In the Spring of my senior year I worked at a smaller, boutique agency called Willow St. located in Deep Ellum. It was a great experience and I learned so much. The perk of a small agency at an intern level is the one-on-one time you get with industry professionals. During my time at Willow St. I designed packaging, a website and was constantly producing social media content for various brands. I think working at a smaller agency while still in college helped me to really focus in on my graphic design skills.”

All of these internship opportunities taught her some very important lessons that helped prepare her for her job today. While each taught her different skills and lessons, she took away several pieces of advice that can be applied to all internship experiences.

“Some of the most important things my internships taught me were how important work environment/company culture is, time management, and how to successfully handle direction and criticism,” Lopez said. “Once you set foot in the advertising industry you’ll be quick to notice that no one is going to hold your hand. It’s sink or swim, and you have to self-motivate and even fake it till you make it at times. The sooner you can get exposed to that, the better.”

Along with internships, Lopez had the opportunity to be a member of SMU’s NSAC Ad Team. She served as both a creative and a presenter on the team, giving her first hand experience in campaign design and pitching a campaign.

“My experience on the NSAC Ad Team was one of the most rewarding,” Lopez said. “At the end of the day, you have to be able to work with people regardless of what you do or where you’re working. Being able to be a ‘team-player’ is so cliché but it’s the truth. You want people to want to work with you. It’s how you get your hands on the best accounts and work. Ad Team is the closest experience you get to what working on a campaign at a professional level is like, and I’m so lucky to have gotten that exposure. I walked away with so much more confidence as a presenter, and also with a greater understanding of how important it is to put egos aside, be flexible and successfully work with others.”

Once starting her job at BBDO, Lopez quickly learned that while the campaigns she worked on in school have the same elements as campaigns at work, they also differ in many ways.

“In college when you’re working on campaigns for class or Ad Team, you have more creative freedom than you probably ever will again,” Lopez said. “Take advantage of that. The campaigns I’ve worked on at BBDO have a lot in common to Ad Team; there’s a brief, a target, a budget, a team you work with, and some type of deliverables. The biggest difference is the turnaround is not a few months, but instead a week, maybe if you’re lucky two.”

Lopez at MPMS awards.

Lopez at MPMS recognition.

While all of the previous experiences helped her gain skills and lessons for working at an advertising agency, Lopez attributes her current job to AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student program.

“MPMS is what got my foot in the door at BBDO,” Lopez said. “It was an extremely rewarding experience, and I was very honored to be given the award. It was so refreshing to see how diversity plays a role in the industry and how it is becoming such a large part of it. I was very fortunate to meet a BBDO recruiter that saw my potential at the awards program. Exposure and networking is so crucial. Take advantage of every opportunity, contest, award show etc. You never know who you will meet.”

After graduation, Lopez moved to New York to start her internship with BBDO. Soon after, she knew that she wanted to work there full-time, so she worked extremely hard to prove that she deserved the position.

Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.

Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.

“The internship was a wonderful experience, and I fell in love with the BBDO company culture and everyone I was working with,” Lopez said. “All of the creatives and the creative work I was surrounded by was extremely inspiring and I knew right away that I wanted to stay past summer and get hired on full-time. I did anything and everything over the course of the summer to prove that I deserved to stay. I worked late hours, weekends, and said ‘yes’ to every opportunity. After 5 months of interning, I was offered a full-time position as a Junior Art Director on the PepsiCo account and have been hard at work ever since.”

Lopez has used the skills she learned in her advertising and graphic design courses at SMU to achieve the success she has today.

“So much of what I learned in my advertising classes at SMU have translated and helped me in my job now,” Lopez said. “Being able to share and talk about your work is probably the most important one. You have to be able to believe in your ideas and get others to as well. At BBDO there are many people your work has to go through before it actually reaches the client, so you’ve got to be able to pitch and talk about it with confidence. All of the Graphic Design and Portfolio classes that required me to present and create presentations to show my work have all helped me so much today.”

Throughout her experiences, Lopez learned the importance of networking and being able to set yourself apart from others. She hopes that her advice can help current students achieve their goals as well.

“Network and meet as many people in the industry as you can,” Lopez said. “Most people are willing to help and share advice. Also, find a strength that sets you apart from others. It doesn’t even have to be a skill; maybe it’s a personality trait. Everyone is talented and creative, but find that passion or trait that’s unique to you and showcase it in your work, portfolio, or resume. People like to see passion. Also, just be nice. Working hard and being kind and genuine will actually get you places!”

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TAI Digital Media Students Reflect on Industry Guest Speakers

In the past month, TAI Professor Eunjin (Anna) Kim hosted several guest speakers in her Digital Media Strategy 1 course. The speakers included: James Moore, Chief Revenue Officer at Simpli.fi; Paul Buckley, President of D Custom; Mike Wylie, Managing Director Dallas at Wpromote; and Brad B. McCormick, Chief Digital Officer at Moroch. Respectively, the speakers lectured about Programmatic Advertising, Content Marketing, Paid Search & SEO, and Social and Mobile Media Marketing.

TAI Digital Media student Alex Gurasich was very interested by Moore’s lecture on Programmatic Advertising. As a topic discussed often in Digital Media classes, students enjoy seeing the everyday applications.

James Moore speaking about Programmatic Advertising.

James Moore speaking about Programmatic Advertising.

“Programmatic advertising is the process of automatically buying ad space in real time to best suit the consumer,” Gurasich said. “Moore discussed in detail the process of programmatic buying and how the Internet has evolved since its conception. Moore was very energetic and passionate in his teaching, and made the hour-long lecture seem short with the amount of information he managed to talk about. While many of the topics he touched on had been discussed in past classes, he did an excellent job at conveying the sheer vastness of the web, what it can do, and where it is possibly headed. James Moore was a very passionate and intelligent guest lecturer, and it was a great pleasure to get to talk with him.”

When Mike Wylie came to lecture from Wpromote, he also brought along a recent SMU graduate, Jordan Pierson, who works with him. Pierson graduated from Cox School of Business with a BBA in Marketing in 2014. Having an SMU alum come back to speak to current students provides a unique perspective, as students can easily relate to them.

Mike Wylie and Jordan Pearson by the TAI sign.

Mike Wylie and Jordan Pierson by the TAI sign.

“Being able to hear two employees from Wpromote talk about their work in digital marketing was a unique learning experience for our class,” TAI Digital Media student Shelby Pointer said, “teaching us about real-world applications of what we’ve been learning in our advertising classes all semester. It was especially helpful having a recent SMU graduate as one of the speakers, as he was able to answer our questions about finding internships and tell us what kind experience is the most valuable after graduation. It was also very enlightening when Mike explained the more complicated procedures of SEO and Programmatic advertising and how they can be used to create the most effective advertising campaigns possible. We’ve been talking about these methods of digital advertising in our classes and I found it interesting to see them in use in real ad campaigns.”

Professor Kim’s students found McCormick’s lecture on Social and Mobile Media especially thought-provoking, as he explained to the students how difficult it can be to accurately track success in digital advertising.

Brad McCormick lecturing about Search Advertising.

Brad McCormick lecturing about Social Media Marketing.

“McCormick presented relevant and interesting information on digital advertising and how the real world works,” TAI Digital Media student Becca Romero said. “McCormick quoted John Wanamaker [saying], ‘half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’ He explained that even with all the digital data we have it is impossible to know exactly who to advertise to; however, advertisers can get very close. His main point was that advertising is not only a creative field it is a scientific field as well. McCormick was lively and maintained the classes’ attention throughout the presentation. Altogether McCormick was informational on social media, responsive design and paid, owned and earned digital media.”

TAI Professors from each advertising track, Creative, Digital Media, and Strategic Brand Management, host guest speakers and lecturers in their courses throughout the semester. This provides a different way for students to engage with the material and see the “real-world applications” of what they are learning in the classroom.

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