The Alien in a Foreign Land – My Story of Integrating at TAI

My parents didn’t understand it. My sisters supported it. A lot of my friends just gave me blank stares. Those were the initial reactions I got when I told them I was going to be pursuing a Masters in Advertising at Southern Methodist University. Students from my region, that is, the Indian subcontinent, do NOT study something from the School of Arts. It’s either STEM or an MBA. My mind was pretty set though. And my conversation with Dr. La Ferle, and the sheer transparency that she provided in respect to the program, gave me ample confidence that this made sense.

AHM Mustafizur Rahman is a first year graduate student in the MA in Advertising program.

AHM Mustafizur Rahman is a first year graduate student in the MA in Advertising program. 

My undergrads were in economics, but it never really struck a chord with me. I always liked human behavior, psychology, and I always liked watching ads. After working in the marketing department of a local company, I knew I wanted a better understanding of consumers and the world of advertising. But where I come from, advertising programs are rare, and given my economic background, difficult for me to entertain the possibility of pursuing it elsewhere. That’s where TAI came in. Besides offering a program that piqued my interest from the very moment I visited the website (the landing page is an excellent attention grabber), TAI offers what most international students crave – financial aid. The small and intimate class size is also a benefit, especially for somebody with no prior experience in advertising. I am allowed the luxury of meeting and speaking to all the professors, and gaining valuable insight beyond classroom readings.

As crazy as some might think my decisions to be, I believe they’re not looking at the bigger picture. Dallas is a city filled with many opportunities in my field. I am in a program and school that is extremely well known and respected, surrounded by professors with vast industry experience. Sure, it’s not common for a person from Bangladesh to be where I am. However, I see myself growing into the program, gaining the tools and wisdom required, and hopefully carrying over my learning to a professional experience here in Dallas. I also have the opportunity to delve into further research and pursue a PhD, or indeed go back to Bangladesh, which as a developing country is undergoing exciting changes where advertising and media expertise will only gain further prominence. Therefore, despite appearing to be crazy, I believe I’ve got my bases covered. And over time, I’m looking forward to proving my doubters wrong—and hopefully inspiring others to go for what they believe in.

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Graduate Students, Masters in Advertising Program, Scholarship, TAI Students | Leave a comment

How to Succeed in Advertising (and Life): Lessons from Ad Team

PN%20PHOTOWritten by: Peter Noble

Advertising is a team sport. And being successful in this arena isn’t just a matter of having ninja-like InDesign skills or being near-clairvoyant in media planning. Success is built on a foundation of basic personal characteristics and abilities.

Having coached 10 Ad Teams that competed in the National Student Advertising Competition (including two National Championship winners), I’ve found three essentials that contribute to personal and professional success — Focus, Accountability, and Communication. Each of these is important on its own, and when combined, they become a powerful base for navigating the world of teamwork.

FOCUS
It’s very easy to get distracted in today’s multi-screen, information/entertainment-rich environment. Multitasking isn’t the answer. It simply doesn’t work. When you divide your attention among several tasks at the same time you can’t effectively focus on the task at hand. Multitask planning is the solution to juggling multiple obligations. Prioritize and plan your work to fully engage in each individual area. Focusing on what’s important at the time allows you to give your work the full attention that’s necessary to do your best work within the required time allotment.

ACCOUNTABILITY

Trust and confidence on teams are the glue that holds everything together. If you accept an assignment, you have to deliver. Your and your team’s success depends on it. Delivery is measured both as a process and a product. It means that you get the work done in an efficient, friction-free manner, you submit high quality work, and you absolutely get it done by or before the agreed deadline. When you own the work and you deliver on quality and timeliness, you earn the team’s trust and confidence.

COMMUNICATION

It’s ironic that despite the fact that we’re in the business of communication many of the common problems in a team environment are rooted in miscommunication. Effective communication starts with a clear understanding of what needs to get done, how it’s to be accomplished, and when it needs to be completed. Once that’s established, communication throughout the process of the work is essential. Simple things like asking for additional resources and providing updates on milestone events can ensure success.

Focus, accountability, and communication aren’t the only elements of success in this business, but mastery in those three basic areas will give you an edge in this fast-paced competitive environment. The same benefits apply to success in life.

 

Posted in Ad Team, Competitions, Faculty, Faculty Rants, Professional Development | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three TAI Faculty Receive Sam Taylor Fellowships

Three TAI faculty members are among the 11 SMU professors who have been awarded Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Sam Taylor Fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. Any full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for the Fellowships, which support research “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Read about the research that won below!

Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan, assistant professor of advertising: “Recent literature has indicated that members of major U.S. political parties, i.e., Democrats and Republicans, have different perceptions regarding environmental issues. Democrats are assumed to be more environmentally friendly than their Republican counterparts. However, little research has delved into understanding the cognitive and psychological processes that take place behind a party member’s stance on an environmental issue. The objective of the current study is to see how green advertisements can generate favorable attitudes and encourage American shoppers to bring reusable carryout bags (vs. plastic) by taking their political affiliation into account. Since caring for the natural environment depends on a person’s self-concept, another factor that will be integrated into the design is an individual’s values for the welfare of others, specifically, self-transcendence. The findings will help city, state, and federal policy makers to effectively communicate environmental policies and ordinances. The grant money will be used to secure a participant pool for the study.”

Dr. Anna Kim, assistant professor of advertising: “My research investigates within-narrative ad variations. As not all stories are equally interesting and effective, some narrative ads are more effective than other narrative ads. Thus, my research tests and proposes a theoretical framework that explains why some narrative ads are more effective than others. With Sam Taylor Fellowship, I will be able to collect data on this study and provide a path forward for future research in this area by identifying the specific process variables that lead to more narrative persuasion. Thus, this research will not only enhance our theoretical understanding of the persuasive power of narrative advertising, but also provide specific guidance for advertising practitioners on how to create good narrative ads. Further, the findings of this research can be applied to many different areas such as health communication, public relations, and education in terms of developing more effective narrative messages.”

Dr. Hye Jin Yoon, assistant professor of advertising: “Childhood and adolescent obesity have been rising at an alarming rate in the United States. Policy changes and various school and clinic programs have been set in place over the years to help curb obesity and continuous efforts are needed on that front. Many public service advertisement (PSA) campaigns have ran in the past, but not many have been successful in catching the public’s eye and motivating a change in behavior. This study will set out to test the effectiveness of using a combination of guilt and humor appeals in health public-service advertising. Theoretical contributions will include observing the applicability of interaction of guilt and humor appeals in social marketing campaigns. Practical implications will include using guilt and humor information in effective ways to motivate the public to stay active, eat healthy, and take care of their health. This study would add knowledge to our understanding of effective PSAs that would help us in our fight against obesity in the United States.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation, and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

Posted in Awards and Projects, Community Outreach, Faculty | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TAI Senior Ashley Eschert Shares How Internships Have Prepared Her for a Career in Advertising

AshleyEschert

Ashley Eschert (BA Advertising ’16)

Temerlin Advertising Institute (TAI) senior Ashley Eschert shares how internships with two top Dallas-based agencies–The Richards Group and Canonball Creative–have prepared her for a career as an advertising search planner. Read about her experiences here.

Ashley is one of twenty students that has been selected to participate in Praxis, SMU’s award winning and highly selective Ad Team. Ad Team participates in the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). Each year, 200 universities around the country complete in this competition by producing and presenting a comprehensive integrated marketing communications plan for a national client. This year the client is Snapple. Ashley and her Praxis teammates will first present their plan at the district competition in Lubbock in April 2016, and hope to later present at the national competition at Disneyland in June.

Read about last year’s Praxis success here.

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Competitions, Internships, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Leave a comment

Dr. Hye Jin Yoon’s Journal of Advertising Article makes “Top Downloaded Article Collection” List

Dr. Hye Jin Yoon’s “Humorous Threat Persuasion in Advertising: The Effects of Humor, Threat Intensity, and Issue Involvement” has made the “top downloaded article collection” list of the Journal of Advertising. The article can be accessed for free until December 31st, 2015 on the journal’s website.

Untitled

Her research was born out of the necessity to understand how using humor to communicate threatening information (e.g., deforestation can lead to animal extinctions and climate change) in advertising could have an impact on the effectiveness of the advertisements and for whom it may be most effective. The studies predicted and found that responses to humor use in threat persuasion would depend on how much the individual was involved with the particular issue. Overall, low-involvement individuals found humor ads to be more effective than non-humor ads, while high-involvement individuals preferred non-humor ads. When threat intensities were varied in the ads, low involvement individuals needed humor when there was high threat intensity, while high involvement individuals preferred non-humor ads under high threat intensity. The findings gave practical implications for design and targeting for campaign planners looking to utilize humor to communicate threatening information.

The Journal of Advertising is the premier academic publication covering significant intellectual development pertaining to advertising theories and their relationship with practice. The journal has an acceptance rate of 9% and all papers published in the journal go through a rigorous, double-blind, peer-review process.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Fukushima_2081985b

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.

fukushima-four-years-after-tsunami

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!

20151113_123208

Posted in Community Outreach, Faculty, Faculty Brown Bag, Faculty Presentations, Faculty Rants, Social Responsibility, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.
Breakfast_at_the_Bridge_footer

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Faculty, Faculty Presentations, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Graduate Students, Masters in Advertising Program, Professional Development, SMU Creative, TAI Students | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Faculty, Faculty Rants, Personal Branding, Professional Development | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Ad Club, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment