TAI Creative Advertising Students Meet with Industry Professionals for Critique

On Monday, September 12, first-year TAI Creative Advertising students in Professor Mark Allen’s Concepting class were given an opportunity that many students will never get – to show their work to multiple industry professionals and get feedback from people who are currently working in the field.

Professor Allen calls it “Speed-Dating Critique.” Each professional is stationed at a separate table to speak one-on-one with the students, who will each have a stack of 50-60 concept sketches loosely organized by similar concepts and themes. Students spend roughly ten minutes with at least three to four different professionals throughout the class period, receiving feedback on which of their ideas are most promising.

Professor Allen's Concepting class during "Speed-Dating Critique."

Professor Allen’s Concepting class during “Speed-Dating Critique.”

“I do this event twice every semester,” Professor Allen said. “But this time the response from the local advertising community has been overwhelming—we typically have 4-5 professionals volunteer to review work, but this time I [had] 14-16!”

Some of the professionals who participated in the critique include: Steve Grimes, Creative Director (CD) at The Richards Group; Shelby Tamura, Art Director (AD) at The Richards Group; Dr. Ben Wyeth, Copywriter at The Richards Group and SMU Adjunct Professor; Randall Kenworthy, Freelance Copywriter; Greg Hunter, Group Creative Director (GCD) and Principal at Firehouse; Julie Bowman, Senior CD at Slingshot; Jose Benitez, Senior Copywriter at Dieste; Arturo Lee, AD at Dieste; Jason Shipp, GCD at Moroch and SMU Adjunct Professor; Matt Villanueva, Associate Creative Director at Moroch; and Matt Lindner, Copywriter at Moroch.

“I gained some priceless advice after talking with industry professionals during Concepting,” sophomore TAI student Jolie Guz said. “I still cannot believe that in my third week in the Creative program, we were able to put our work in front of art directors and copywriters from The Richards Group, Moroch and more. I am looking forward to being able to meet more and more Dallas area creatives during my time in Temerlin!”

Several of these advertising professionals are alums of TAI, having attended SMU for their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. Having successful professionals visit an undergraduate class to provide input on student work is an incredible experience. However, having successful professionals who were once in your exact same position (in the same program at the same school) is an invaluable experience, providing students with even more motivation and confidence to be successful in their careers after graduation.

The Temerlin Advertising Institute offers students the opportunity to earn a BA in Advertising while specializing their knowledge in one of three key industry areas: Creative, Digital Media Strategy, and Strategic Brand Management. The major is designed to provide students with the optimal blend of theory and practice. Learn more about the major and specializations here.

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TAI Alum Jordan Kretchmer’s Company Livefyre Acquired by Adobe

Credit: Branding Magazine

Jordan Kretchmer (’06) Photo Credit: Branding Magazine

In July of 2009, TAI Alum Jordan Kretchmer (’06) founded Livefyre, a content marketing and engagement platform. In the past seven years Livefyre has grown tremendously, acquiring customers like CNN, Coca-Cola, Major League Baseball, and Cisco. Due to their growing success, Livefyre caught the eye of Adobe, who has since acquired and integrated it into their Adobe Experience Manager.

In his time at SMU, Kretchmer was a member of Praxis, SMU’s award-winning Ad Team, for two consecutive years. He served as Vice President and Creative Director and was a presenter for the Visit Florida campaign, which won the 2004 National Championship in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

Kretchmer had a successful career in advertising before founding his company. He worked as an Art Director at Tribal DDB, VP Associate Creative Director at Mullen, Associate Creative Director at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, and Vice President Brand at Current TV. He is also currently on the Board of Directors at Mashable and is a Venture Partner at Draft Ventures and will continue his work as CEO of Livefyre, while also working with Adobe.

After being acquired by Adobe in May, Livefyre became a product available within the Adobe Experience Manager, as well as remaining a stand-alone service outside of Adobe. According to Adobe, “[Livefyre is] an all-new capability of Adobe Experience Manager that lets you tap into everything shared on the web to create a constant flow of fresh and high-quality content on your own sites.”

Photo Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat

Photo Credit: Ken Yeung/VentureBeat

The purpose of Livefyre is to allow companies access to user-created content in one aggregated location. Originally Livefyre was created as a commenting platform, where companies can gather all the comments being posted online about their product, service or event, in one place. Many of the major news sources, including Fox News and CNN, use this aspect of Livefyre to display comments during live events, like political debates.

In an interview with Branding magazine, Kretchmer explained “when you integrate user-generated content with professionally-created content you get to tell your story alongside all of your best fans.” Livefyre was created to be this solution for brands, and now the company that Kretchmer created from scratch seven years ago is providing that solution to some of the biggest brand names on one of the biggest platforms available, Adobe.

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TAI Student Nicki Fletcher Shares Experience Interning On Tour with Steven Tyler and Loving Mary Band

Most advertising students dream of having an amazing job opportunity, working for a huge brand, like Nike or Coca-Cola, or even getting the chance to work with celebrities. This summer, TAI student Nicki Fletcher had that opportunity. Fletcher is an Advertising major on the Creative track, and this past summer she had the opportunity to intern on tour with Steven Tyler and the Loving Mary Band.

Steven Tyler and Loving Mary Band interviewing for a radio show.

Steven Tyler and Loving Mary Band interviewing for a radio show.

While visiting her mother in Maui last Christmas, Fletcher met Kari Smith and Marti Frederiksen, the band manager and lead singer of the Loving Mary Band. Fletcher has always dreamed of working in the music industry, the same industry in which her mother works, and meeting Smith and Frederiksen gave her the perfect opportunity to break in.

“I had told Kari and Marti that I was interested in working in the music industry,” Fletcher said. “And they said if there’s ever an opportunity we’ll let you know. Then not too long after that they contacted me and said ‘We’re going on tour this summer, do you want to come? You can be the tour intern and learn the whole business.’”

Fletcher started working with the Loving Mary Band in May at CMA Fest in Nashville, where she was then given the opportunity to go along with them on tour during the summer. On July 1, Fletcher headed off on a month-long journey living on tour with famous musicians.

Loving Mary Tour promotion created by Nicki Fletcher.

Loving Mary Tour promotion created by Nicki Fletcher.

While on tour, Fletcher worked as an assistant to the musicians, as well as running the Loving Mary Band social media accounts, creating promotional graphics for the band and tour, and helping run band merchandise. A typical day for Fletcher involved starting work around 11am, making sure the bus was ready to go and everything was in place. She would get to the venue, which mostly consisted of large theaters, around 2-3pm and start working on sound checks and other miscellaneous preparations. After the concert was over, she would help bring VIP guests backstage and then pack up the bus to head to the next city, not staying in a single city for more than four days.

“I did a lot of flyers and promotional pieces that went out on Loving Mary’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and website,” Fletcher said. “I helped with merchandise for the band mainly, so I learned a lot in the way of managing all of that. We did that through shows, at the venues, at the big concerts, and at Loving Mary’s smaller concerts and through the website. It was a lot of learning how to manage all of those parts and pieces too.”

Fletcher used many of the skills she’d learned from her participation in Ad Team, as well as advertising classes she has taken at SMU, while on tour. Going into the job she already knew the importance of keeping a campaign consistent, an important skill she attributes to her time on Ad Team. She also knew the importance of planning ahead and being detail-oriented, which helped her as she was preparing content that would be viewed by thousands of people.

Fletcher also learned valuable new lessons through this opportunity.

“You get thrown into this crazy world of rock-and-roll musicians,” Fletcher said. “And it’s so important to have professionalism no matter what the industry is. Even if it is an entertainment industry where the people around you, like the fans, are super excited all the time.” She learned how to balance staying focused and professional with taking the time to enjoy the amazing experiences she was having.

On top of that, Fletcher got to spend a lot of time with Steven Tyler.

“We’d be in the city, and we’d all go and have a family day and go and do something together,” Fletcher said. “He’s a really fun person to be around. He’s really sweet. He really just loves the band so much, and he’d get on our bus in the middle of the night and hang out or he’d ride with us from place to place.”

Backstage at one of the concerts while Fletcher was on tour.

The view from backstage at one of the concerts while Fletcher was on tour.

Her favorite memories from the internship involve the contrast between the “calm, beautiful morning” and “playing a show at a huge sold out concert venue” that night. Although she really enjoyed visiting Northern and Southern California, Canada, Seattle, Boston, and New York, one of her favorite shows was a corporate event at an outdoor venue in Minnesota.

After the amazing experience Fletcher had, she wants to encourage her fellow classmates to reach for amazing opportunities as well.

“Don’t be afraid to ask,” Fletcher said. “Always use your resources, ask them questions. Don’t be afraid to take a crazy chance. You can learn a lot from something that is so unconventional.”

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TAI Professor Willie Baronet to Showcase “We Are All Homeless” and Serve as Panelist for University of Pennsylvania Seminar Series

Over the past twenty years, Willie Baronet, TAI’s Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, has been traveling across the country buying and collecting signs from homeless people. To date, Professor Baronet has collected or purchased over 1,000 signs. He uses these signs in art installations and exhibits all over the United States in a project called “We Are All Homeless.”

Willie Homeless Signs

Professor Baronet with some of the homeless signs he’s collected and purchased.

On Tuesday, September 13, Professor Baronet will have an exhibit at Harnwell College House at the University of Pennsylvania. The exhibit is part of a greater event called the CPHI (Center for Public Health Initiatives) Seminar Series Kickoff: We Are All Homeless. As part of the event, Professor Baronet will participate in a panel along with Dr. Rosie Frasso from CPHI and several individuals who will share their experience about being homeless.

Dr. Frasso reached out to Professor Baronet in 2015 after hearing about his project on NPR. Together with several of her CPHI colleagues, Dr. Frasso and Professor Baronet “conducted a qualitative analysis of the messages on almost 300 signs,” looking at how the messages vary by city. The research will be published in the American Journal of Public Health this fall.

“This is the first time anyone has done a research project based on these signs,” Professor Baronet said. “We were humbled and honored to work with Rosemary and Allison at U. Penn to bring this to fruition, and we’re all excited that it’s being published in the American Journal of Public Health.”

The CPHI panel will also feature Eddie Dunn, whom Professor Baronet purchased a sign from in Philadelphia last summer. Mr. Dunn reached out to Professor Baronet a few months ago, stating he’d “turned his life around and is now sober and sponsoring people in AA.” He will be sharing his experience of homelessness on the panel at the event.

Willie Baronet’s “We Are All Homeless” project includes a documentary called “Signs of Humanity,” which explores the themes of home, homelessness, compassion and humanity. “Signs of Humanity,” which was filmed during a coast-to-coast road trip in 2015, has been an official selection in four major film festivals and was just selected to screen at a fifth this fall.

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TAI First-Year MA in Advertising Students Present Campaign Proposals to REACH

MiNK Group

MiNK Group

As a final project for the Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship (ADV 6372) class, two teams of Temerlin Advertising Institute graduate students—KCB Group and MiNK, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Sidharth Muralidharan—created advertising campaign proposals for the non-profit organization, REACH, whose sole mission is to “provide services for people with disabilities so that they are able to lead self-directed lives and to educate the general public about disability-related topics in order to promote a barrier free community.” By targeting a primarily young demographic in the DFW metroplex, the major emphasis of the campaign was to create awareness of the various services offered by REACH.

KCB Group

KCB Group

On behalf of the client, the presentations were graced by several distinguished TAI faculty and staff, namely, Peter Noble, Anna Kim, John Hall, Alan Lidji, Amy Dahmann, and Cheryl Mendenhall. They provided invaluable advice to the students, ranging from presentation style to strategic ideas. Dr. Sid commented on the presentations, noting, “I am really proud of both teams as this was a challenging task considering the limited resources and budget, however, the students worked hard on the research and were able to extract some great ideas from the findings. I have no doubt that they can be implemented by REACH in the future.”

Social responsibility is a cornerstone of the Temerlin Advertising Institute’s Masters in Advertising program. ADV 6372: Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship is just one of several courses with a focus on social responsibility that students in the Institute’s MA in Advertising program are able to take. These courses, and the experiences gained through working with real clients, equip graduates to become leaders in the advertising industry by helping them recognize their responsibility to their brands, their consumers, their industry and their society.

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MA in Advertising Class of 2016 at Graduation


We want to wish success to our graduating students as the class of 2016 move forward into their professional careers. Each one has grown and excelled over the past two years in the program.

2016 MA Graduation Photo

From left: Preston Barrett, Erica Chiarello, Colleen O’Brien, Yiyang April Yu, Diana Herrera, Jingxue Snow Wang, and Jing Jin. Marin Berardi (not pictured). Faculty: Steven Edwards, Sid Muralidharan, Cheryl Mendenhall, Amy Dahmann, Carrie La Ferle, Anna Kim, and Hye Jin Yoon.

New knowledge has been acquired from persuasion theories and research to strategic brand management and ROI metrics. Portfolios have been developed and perfected as well as understanding the importance of responsibility in advertising and the positive impact this can have on a brand’s bottom line.

Cultural sensitives and personal growth have been gained during a month of learning in Hong Kong. Students visited several advertising agencies and cultural sites enriching their understanding of international advertising and particularly that occurring in the Asian region.

As these exceptional graduating MA in Advertising students head out from their semester long Executive Internships, many are continuing to work for the same companies from The Richards Group and TM Advertising to Mary Kay, Commerce House to Swimming Duck.

We are super proud of all of you and are excited to see you continue to excel as you enter into the next chapter of your story.

While you move on from the campus and the TAI physical location, you are always a part of the TAI family and we know you will go out and make us all proud.

Best wishes and congratulations to all!

The Temerlin Advertising Institute!
Better Advertising. Better World.

Interested in graduate classes? Check out our new 1 year program and part-time certificate program.

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TAI MA in Advertising Student Defends Advanced Research Project

Marin%20preparing%20to%20present-May%204%2716Congratulations to Marin Berardi, MA in Advertising student!

Marin Berardi, a second year MA student in the Temerlin Advertising Institute’s Strategic Brand Management track, has successfully defended her Advanced Research Project. Marin’s research was titled, “Gender Targeting in NFL Sunday Night Football Commercials: A Content Analysis.” According to the chair of Marin’s committee, Dr. Carrie La Ferle, “The committee was delighted with the work undertaken and even more intrigued by Marin’s findings. There are several avenues for future research and many practical implications for advertisers.”

Marin and seven other second year MA in Advertising students will receive their degrees on Saturday, May 14 at the Meadows School of the Arts Diploma Ceremony.


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TAI Faculty Named Judge for Ethics Awards Program

Dr. Carrie La Ferle, Professor of Advertising for the Temerlin Advertising Institute, has been selected as a judge for the upcoming Greater Dallas Business Ethics Awards Program 2016. The selection of judges is based on demonstration and commitment to ethical practices, and include accomplished professionals representing the business, academic, public service, and consulting communities. Read her thoughts on being selected as a judge below:


“I am honored to participate as a judge in the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Awards. It is very rewarding to see businesses wanting to be more and do more for their employees, business associates, customers and the community at large. The companies that compete for this award are working to put integrity in business first, treating people as having value and not as a means to an end while also growing their businesses through trust and long term relationships. It is exciting to be a member of a city where ethics and integrity are on the hearts and minds of many of the businesses working to shape our economy and our communities.”


The Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award was founded in 2000 and honors Dallas-based companies that demonstrate a measurable commitment to ethical business practices in everyday operations, management philosophies and responses to crises or challenges.   The purpose of the GDBEA is to hold those businesses up as examples and provide guidance and support to companies that wish to improve their ability to operate ethically and ensure ethics are an integral part of their culture.

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Learning Centuries-Old Techniques with Digital Technology

by Cheryl Mendenhall MendenhallCheryl

In all of my classes you will hear me talking about the invention of the movable-type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg back in the 15th century. Movable type had been used in Asia hundreds of years earlier but Gutenberg’s methods made production much easier. His invention revolutionized printing, distribution of printed materials and influenced the development of typography. Printing methods did not change, albeit a few improvements, for hundreds of years. But as new printing methods finally came about, letterpress began to fade and all but disappeared in the 1980s with the rise of the computer. It has now seen a revival as the look of handcrafted pieces has become popular again – especially for invitations, stationery and posters.


We are so used to instant printing now that I wanted students to get a feel for what the letterpress printing process entailed. A field trip to a letterpress shop would be ideal but hard to accomplish with an 80 minute class in the middle of the day. I have however been able to bring a little bit of the experience to class by using of all things the iPad. I think it’s interesting to be able to use digital technology to experience something from centuries ago. We do miss the tactile aspect of the printing, but students are able to get a sense of how to compose a piece for the press. Imagine having to place each letter individually on the press bed. And add on top of that it needs to be upside down and read left to right. Not an easy task. Even with its complications, the students create some really fun pieces in a short amount of time. Working with Meadows to supply iPads for the activity, I’ve been able to use a new technology to help students experience a very old technology.

Below are some examples from my classes


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Executive Internships 2016: Marin Berardi

In the final semester of the Temerlin Advertising Institute’s MA in Advertising program, students work in an executive internship with a Dallas agency. Read Marin’s story below:

Marin Berardi: TM Advertising

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Instead of writing a few paragraphs about what I’ve been up to at my internship this semester, I wanted to explain what a day in the life of a TM Account Management Intern is really like. Since TM is located in the same building as the WFAA News Channel 8, just in front of American Airlines Center, I am usually greeted every morning by something unexpected as I walk up the Victory Plaza stairs to 3030 Olive St. Some days it’s the Dallas Stars mascot getting fans hyped for a game and some days there are five dogs being filmed in hopes of getting adopted. Once I make my way to the fourth floor and get to my desk, I check my calendar to get ready for any meetings I have that day. If it’s a Tuesday, I will be attending weekly status conference calls between the agency and the client, such as American Airlines Credit Union or Captain D’s, so we can recap the current status of all projects and also go over the next steps for both the client and agency teams.

At any given time, each client has multiple projects in the works, which require our account management team to ensure creative briefs are executed on time and feedback is provided from the client so the creative team can craft their revisions until both teams are satisfied with the piece. Once a project has gone through multiple rounds of revisions and has been approved by each person involved internally (account manager, project manager, art director, print producer, and proof reader), we schedule a mechanical release meeting that ensures everything is double-checked and is ready to be printed.

While these day-to-day tasks consume most of my day, I have also been given the opportunity to sit in on media meetings, food photo shoots, agency training sessions, and have been introduced to the very complex world of T&R (talent and residuals). My internship at TM has not only been immensely helpful in putting what I have learned in the classroom to use, but also in teaching me aspects of the advertising industry that simply cannot be taught in a classroom. The occasional surprise breakfast tacos, Friday morning putt-putt tournaments, and the beautiful office all collectively create a culture at TM that makes coming to work everyday extremely easy. But without a doubt, it is the employees and the people I have had the opportunity to work with who make TM a remarkable place to work and who have made my time here invaluable. It is no wonder they have been on Ad Age’s Best Places to Work from 2012 to 2015.

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