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!”

Posted in Ad Team, Better Advertising. Better World., Competitions, Internships, Internships, Professional Development, Scholarships, SMU Creative, TAI Alumni, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Community Outreach, Guest Lecturers, TAI Classes, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing SMU’s 2017 NSAC Ad Team Members

This year SMU will be competing again in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). Students were selected by Ad Team manager Professor Amber Benson to be a part of SMU’s award-winning Ad Team, Praxis. The Ad Team is broken up into four teams, including Creative, Strategy/Planning, Media & Research, and Account. These teams will work together to create a full campaign for this year’s client, Tai Pei Frozen Asian Food.

Ad Team members

Ad Team members shown in the order listed below. Not pictured: Matthew Smyth, Melissa Hodges, and Mariela Tanchez.

Creative Team:

Laura Walsh is the Executive Creative Director. She is an Advertising (Creative) and Marketing double major with a minor in Graphic Design.

Matthew Smyth is an Art Director/Copywriter. He is an Advertising major on the Creative track with a minor in Graphic Design.

Tiffany Giraudon is an Art Director/Copywriter. She is an Advertising (Creative) and Studio Art double major with minors in Graphic Design and Art History.

Abby Coon is an Art Director/Copywriter. She is an Art and Advertising (Creative) double major with a minor in Photography.

Melissa Hodges is an Art Director/Copywriter. She is a Marketing major with a minor in Advertising.

Christina Skertchly is an Art Director/Copywriter. She is an Advertising major on the Creative track with minors in Business Administration and Graphic Design.

Emma Clayton is an Art Director/Copywriter. She is an Advertising major on the Digital Media track.

Rachel Kainer is the Copy Chief. She is an Advertising major on the Digital Media track with Psychology and Sports Management minors.

Eric Sedeno is the Graphic Designer. He is an Advertising major on the Creative track with a minor in Graphic Design.

Kendall Krieger is the Video Producer. She is an Advertising (Digital) and Film double major.

Strategy/Planning Team:

Nicholas McCall is the Planning Director. He is an Advertising major on the Digital Media track with minors in Chinese and Statistics.

Cheyenne Tilford is the Strategy Manager. She is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with minors in Fashion Media and Arts Entrepreneurship.

Joanna Fennessey is an Integrated Strategist. She is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Psychology.

Cooper Wildeson is an Integrated Strategist. He is a Marketing and Advertising (Digital) double major.

Paige Brown is an Interactive Strategist. She is an Advertising major on the Digital Media track with a French minor.

Rebecca Romero is an Interactive Strategist. She is an Advertising major on the Digital Media track with minors in Psychology and English.

Sara Jane Stephens is an Experiential Strategist. She is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Spanish.

Amy Cooley is an Experiential Strategist. She is an Advertising (Strategic Brand Management) and Spanish double major.

Media & Research Team:

Gifford Mellick is the Research & Media Director. He is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Statistics.

Peyton Turbeville is the Insights Manager for Primary Research. She is an Advertising (Strategic Brand Management) and Psychology double major.

Gyeryeong Kim is the Insights Manager for Secondary Research. She is an Advertising major on the Digital Media Strategy track.

Chad Brennecke is the Business Analyst. He is a Marketing major with an Advertising minor.

Yuan Yuan Wu is a Media Planner. She is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track.

Emma Flores is a Media Planner. She is an Advertising pre-major.

Account Team:

Lex Pedraza is the Group Account Director. He is a Markets & Culture major with an Advertising minor.

Jessica Giraudon is the Project Manager. She is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track.

Donald Conkey is the Assistant Project Manager. He is a Political Science major with an Advertising minor.

Mariela Tanchez is the Production Manager. She is a Communications major with an Advertising minor.

Margot Wynant is a Business Development Manager. She is an Advertising major on the Digital Media track with a minor in Graphic Design.

Alex Gurasich is a Business Development Manager. He is an Advertising major on the Digital Media Strategy track.

Four of these Ad Team members, not yet decided, will be selected to present the team’s work in a 20-minute long presentation to a panel of judges made up of industry experts at each level of competition – first at the District level in Fort Worth, TX in April, then (if they advance) at the National level in New Orleans, LA in June.

Posted in AAF, Ad Team, Better Advertising. Better World., Competitions, Professional Development, Professional Organizations, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students, Upcoming Events | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

TAI Alum Jenny Lanier (’11) Featured in 2016 Communication Arts Advertising Annual

TAI Alum (’11) Jenny Lanier has had a very successful career since her graduation from SMU. In her three years as an Art Director at Moroch, Lanier accomplished a lot, working with clients like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Mattress Giant. Recently, Lanier was featured in the 2016 Communications Arts Advertising Annual.

“I was featured in the Communications Arts Advertising Annual for a billboard for McDonald’s,” Lanier said. “The assignment was to push $1 beverages in markets during the summer. Our client wanted something more special. My team and I thought it would be interesting to have a temperature gauge on the billboard to say that each degree of heat is just another reason to grab a drink at McDonald’s.”

One shot of the McDonald's billboard featured in the Communication Arts Advertising Annual.

One shot of the McDonald’s billboard featured in the Communication Arts Advertising Annual. Photo credit: CA Advertising Annual

To be featured in the Communications Arts Advertising Annual is a very special honor for former advertising students. TAI Creative Advertising Professor Mark Allen, also Lanier’s former professor, refers to it as “the golden ring” for creatives.

“It’s special [to me] because it was a publication I frequently referred to as a student,” Lanier said. “CA Annuals were required books for all of our advertising classes. I remember we would go through and flag the campaigns that resonated with us – ones that we wish we had thought of. To think a student might do that with the project I worked on makes me smile.”

This year, Lanier and her team at Moroch won a gold ADDY in the OOH & Ambient category for their McDonald’s “Refresh” campaign. Lanier also won a silver ADDY in 2014 for an Interactive Web Banner for McDonald’s called “Up and At ‘Em.”

“Everyone loves to be told ‘good job,’ especially when you work really hard,” Lanier said. “These awards are just a little pat on the back that let you know you’re on the right track. I was always proud of my peers for getting published or winning awards. It feels good to experience those honors firsthand.”

Jenny Lanier ('11)

Jenny Lanier (’11)

Lanier attributes a lot of her career success to her time in the creative department at TAI, from the student and faculty connections she made to the practical skills she carried into her career.

“I felt incredibly lucky to be under the tutelage of two amazing professors in the creative department: Mark Allen and Glenn Griffin,” Lanier said. “To say they changed my life is an understatement. When I was in the program, they inspired all of us to want to be great while empowering us to get there ourselves. More practically speaking, the rigor of the program helped prepare me to meet deadlines and practice professionalism with my clients. I also met many talented students who have remained very close friends. Having a tight network of alums is invaluable.”

Currently, Lanier is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. She’s recently accepted an offer to be a Software Designer at IBM in Austin, which she will be starting next summer.

“It’s an exciting time to work in technology,” Lanier said. “I’m eager for all of the opportunities that await me at IBM. My goals for my career have always been to keep learning, work hard, and be proud of myself at the end of each day. I do see myself teaching somewhere down the line. I remember SMU and SCAD professors who made a huge impact on my life. Having a positive influence on other potential students would be extremely gratifying.”

Throughout her undergraduate, graduate, and career experiences, Lanier has learned valuable lessons that she hopes to impart on people who are in the same position she was once in.

“To the creative track students: take advantage of being in Professor Allen’s class,” Lanier said. “It is rare to find someone who not only cares about your academic development, but also cares about you as an individual. Professor Allen is brilliant and I felt like I became smarter just by breathing the same air as he did! So listen to him. To everyone [all students]: Make good connections with both your classmates and professors. Perform in ways that make people want to be on your team. I think you can get a lot of opportunities by being a kind, honest, and hardworking person. Employers will invest in your education and training if they want to work with you.”

For anyone, student or not, looking for a job or trying to establish a name for themselves, Lanier suggests using social media to help build your personal brand.

“On a more tangible level, use your social media presence as a way to show your personality,” Lanier said. “People will comb the depths of the Internet to look you up, so make sure what you say reflects you accurately. If you love photography, showcase your talents on Instagram. If you fancy yourself a comedian, fill your Twitter with shareable one-liners. There are a lot of ways you can convey your personality online, so take advantage of what’s most appropriate for you. An interviewer once brought up one of my Tweets in a meeting because he thought it was really funny. It sounds silly, but it isn’t. Take your personal brand seriously because you always have an audience.”

Posted in Awards and Projects, Better Advertising. Better World., Personal Branding, SMU Creative, TAI Alumni, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TAI Digital Media Strategy Students Dive Into The Changing Landscape of Fast-Casual Dining

With the success of fast-casual restaurants on the rise, fast-food chains have to find new ways to attract customers as they’re losing market share to their fast-casual competitors. Many restaurants are trying to appeal to the popular consumer segment of Millenials, who seem to value overall experience and atmosphere very highly when it comes to dining out.

Fast-food chains, including KFC, Arby’s, and Taco Bell, have started redesigning their restaurants, inside and out, to appeal to consumers. According to Ad Week, a lot of these chains, Arby’s especially, have seen aging customer bases. Redesigning the physical stores, many of which are outdated, is a way for these chains to increase customer satisfaction in their existing customers, while creating interest in consumers who might not be customers yet.

One view of Dickey's Barbecue Pit's new restaurant layout.

One view of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s new restaurant layout. Photo credit: Franchise Times

“The fast-casual restaurant industry is a market that is still in its growth phase, meaning that there is a lot of room within the market,” TAI Digital Media student Nicholas McCall said. “For the fast food industry, the barriers to entry are almost non-existent due to their already existing supply change. A small change in the food and atmosphere of a fast food restaurant would not be tough to make happen; however, rebranding a company’s [established] brand into a healthy, fast-casual option would be slow to materialize.”

These new and improved store designs have typically followed updates to the stores’ menus, keeping up with changing consumer tastes. The overall idea is for fast-food chains to be able to compete with rising fast-casual restaurants, urging customers to spend more time in the store by providing a better atmosphere and better food options.

“Consumers are busier than ever as well as more focused on their health,” TAI Digital Media student Paige Brown said. “Fast-casual restaurants offer the best options available that provide both of these increasingly influential factors at a reasonable price.”

One view of Dickey's new restaurant layout.

Another view of Dickey’s new restaurant layout. Photo credit: Franchise Times

This semester, TAI’s second year Digital Media Strategy students are working with a class client, Dickey’s Barbecue, in the fast-casual industry in their Digital Media Strategy 3 course. Last year, Dickey’s introduced their newly designed store into the market, with a completely new tone and vibe. Now our students are working to help Dickey’s find innovative ways to bring new consumer segments into their store, mostly through digital efforts.

As we’ve seen, newly designed stores and up-to-date menus are a must-have to be competitive in the market. With fast-casual restaurants continuing to improve, will fast-food chains be able to keep up? Even a newly designed fast-food restaurant might not be enough to beat out the modern feel of a fast-casual restaurant. The stigma surrounding fast food might be hard to overcome for these chains.

Posted in Awards and Projects, Better Advertising. Better World., TAI Classes, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TAI Student Mae Murrell Shares Her Internship Experiences

In her last two years at SMU, TAI student Mae Murrell has interned with three different advertising agencies. Through these experiences she has learned the ins and outs of what agency life is like, including culture, work pace, and the responsibilities of different positions.

Currently, Murrell is working at Johnson & Sekin as their account service intern. She is the only intern at the agency right now, so she has gotten to experience working with many different departments.

“When other departments need a helping hand, I’m there to help!” Murrell said. “So far, I’ve created two months’ worth of social calendars for three clients, scheduled and posted posts to all social media platforms, helped in the development of new brand positioning, creating recap decks for the client that include their analytics data, and pitched ideas for client newsletters. Recently, I’ve been dipping my toes in web development and coding.”

Working at a smaller agency, she has gotten to experience the unique culture that comes along with it.

“So far, I have loved the energy of Johnson & Sekin!” Murrell said. “Working in a small agency is so different than a large agency because you get to know everyone on a much deeper level. There may be less people but there certainly is more personality! Everyone in the office is more than just colleagues, they’re friends. From Halloween pranks to happy hours to ‘mystery jelly bean games,’ Johnson & Sekin employees know how to have fun at work.”

All of her internships have helped Murrell realize what facet of advertising she wants to start a career in once she graduates, which is account service.

“Account service did not fall directly into my lap,” Murrell said. “It took some digging to determine that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I started my internship journey in non-profit, moved to project management, and then did media and account service internships simultaneously at Moroch. There I learned that account service was the right place for me. This internship in account service has solidified that I’m on the right career path!”

The slide in Moroch's Dallas office.

The slide in Moroch’s Dallas office.

This past summer, Murrell worked at Moroch Partners here in Dallas. At Moroch she worked as both an account service intern and a media intern, working on clients like Dickies, Wilsonart, McDonald’s and Six Flags.

“At Moroch, I gained a ton of experience about account service,” Murrell said. “I was thrown straight in to working directly with clients and interacting with them regularly. This was the internship that truly taught me the art of how to work in account service. It does not just take organization skills. It’s a mix of every job: creative, technical, analytical and strategic. It’s necessary to have excellent communication and organization but also understand everyone’s role in the agency so that the campaign process can be carried out effectively and efficiently.”

While Moroch helped her discover her passion for account service, Murrell also had an incredible experience interning with Spill Agency in Paris, France. At Spill, she was a project management intern working with clients like Hermes, Chanel, and Memo Paris.

“[Spill] is an agency for luxury brand clients and focused more on the digital side of advertising. I learned how to get work, get it done efficiently, and make myself useful so that my supervisor’s jobs were made easier. In addition, I did the social media for Hermès, which was really fun! I helped with the new website launch of Chanel and Memo which was a lot of work but extremely rewarding.”

Working in a foreign country, Murrell had to adjust to the differences not only of living in a completely different country but also in the workplace. As the only American working at the agency, she easily noticed that the work environment was very different than that of an American agency.

Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“One of the [biggest] differences was the pace of the agency in France,” Murrell said. “In America, the norm is to be consumed by work and be busy all the time. In France, they are leisurely about their work and put socializing first. I would go in to the office at 10am and be the first one there! That said, some days I would leave at 9pm and my colleagues would still be working away. The hours are, for the most part, shorter and end once they leave the office. There is no working at home or out of the office. Work stays at work.”

While her time in Paris was an irreplaceable experience for Murrell, it was unforgettable in more than one way. Completing her internship during the fall of 2015, Murrell found herself in Paris during the time of devastating terrorist attacks. Although she could have chosen to leave Paris after the attacks, Murrell stayed feeling it was her duty to help during the city’s time of need.

“Being in Paris during the attacks was a terrifying experience,” Murrell said. “Not just in the sense that I was scared for my safety but also in the sense that I was seeing the destruction of terrorism right before my eyes. After the attacks, people were like ghosts that wandered the streets of Paris. Each person’s eyes filled with sorrow, sadness, and most of all emptiness. Paris was no longer upbeat and exploding with love; the people lulled through the streets. Everyone had a broken heart: from the crying strangers on the streets to my coworkers mourning their friends, everyone was hurting. There were ‘what ifs’ running through everyone’s minds, and thoughts of how easily it could have been us. From it all, there were bonds that were being created among the people of Paris. Everyone was mourning and came together as a strong, united city.”

Although not every moment of her time abroad was as she had imagined, Murrell still regards her internship in Paris as her favorite thus far.

“Getting to work in Paris was a dream come true! I have always wanted to spend some time in Paris, and getting some advertising experience under my belt at the same time was the icing on the cake. Who knows, maybe I could end up there again someday!”

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Global Immersion, Internships, Internships, Professional Development, Study Abroad, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TAI Alum Sarah Erickson Returns as Guest Speaker in Professor Mendenhall’s Typography Course

Name lecturing in Professor Mendenhall's Typography course.

Sarah Erickson lecturing about brush lettering techniques in Professor Mendenhall’s Typography course.

Thursday, November 3, TAI Creative Advertising and Graphic Design Professor Cheryl Mendenhall had a guest speaker lecture in her Typography course. The speaker was TAI Alum Sarah Erickson (’15), who is a designer for Doodle Dog Creative and owner of and designer for Sarah Ann Design. Erickson specializes in Calligraphy and lectured the students about the ins and outs of Calligraphy in regards to Typography.

Professor Mendenhall’s students were fascinated by Erickson’s lecture, and it is always exciting for professors to have former students come back, especially to lecture on their career and area of expertise.

“Sarah has amazing lettering skills!” Professor Mendenhall said. “It was great to have her back on campus and show us how she’s using these skills in her work and to teach us a few lettering techniques.”

Sample of work by Erickson for Sarah Ann Design. Photo Credit: Sarah Ann Design

Sample of work by Erickson for Sarah Ann Design. Photo Credit: Sarah Ann Design

TAI professors love to have guest speakers lecture in their classes to provide students with a different perspective from someone currently in the industry.

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Guest Lecturers, SMU Creative, TAI Classes, TAI Students | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TAI Student Joshua Oh Shares Experience Participating in MAIP Internship and Program

This summer, TAI Digital Media Strategy student Joshua Oh participated in the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). Through this professional development program, a select number of students are chosen every year to participate in summer-long internships across the country, as well as workshops and seminars.

Oh (far right) with a group of MAIP participants.

Oh (far right) with a group of MAIP participants.

“MAIP, in my point of view, is a really great opportunity for multicultural students to enter into the advertising world,” Oh said. “It also gives participants access to advertising internships that are really only accessible to those with direct connections. MAIP is also a great way to meet other people from other campuses around the world and build relationship with them.”

Over the summer, Oh worked at Hill Holiday, an advertising agency in Boston. The Hill Holiday internship was structured around a “pitch project” that all the interns in every department would participate in.

“Each of the interns were assigned to different parts of the agency,” Oh said. “For example, I was assigned to media planning and other interns were in production, new business, account planning, and other positions. For the pitch project, which was the highlight of the internship program, all 33 of the interns were split into four teams and two ‘clients.’ The two teams on each client were awarded a prize. So each intern had the work that was assigned to them by their supervisors, as well as the work for the pitch project.”

Oh (far right) with all the interns from Hill Holiday.

Oh (far right) with all the interns from Hill Holiday.

Although he worked in the media planning department, Oh also got to shadow video producers, something that he is interested in for the future.

“My favorite moment from my internship was when I got to talk to the producers and videographers at my agency,” Oh said. “Even though they assigned me to media planning, I had the opportunity to shadow some of the producers and ask questions during my downtime. It helped give me a better focus of what I wanted to pursue postgrad.”

During his internship, he worked with some pretty big clients and did a lot of hands-on work.

“I was part of the Dunkin’ Donuts team,” Oh said. “I pulled reports, helped budget the months, analyzed invoices, and other media planning duties. I also assisted the Supercuts team with Google AdWords.”

Outside of his internship, Oh also attended workshops and completed assignments that helped him get a better idea of the advertising world.

“MAIP planned small workshops for us, the MAIP interns, that were located in various ad agencies around Boston where we listened to speakers, asked questions, ate food they provided, and participated in activities,” Oh said. “We were also given a coding assignment on Khan Academy that was due by the end of the internship.”

The biggest workshop MAIP interns attend is a seminar in New York at the end of the summer. MAIP interns from all over the country come together for this seminar.

“My favorite memory from the program was the entire week I was in New York,” Oh said. “At the end of the internship, every MAIP participant gets flown to New York and not only do we get to attend seminars and career fairs, but we get a lot of free time to explore the city. New York City is now probably one of my favorite cities after Dallas.”

Throughout the program and internship, Oh learned a lot of valuable lessons that he can use well on into the future.

“I learned that almost everything in life can be negotiated,” Oh said. “Whenever I needed help or needed a fast break, all I had to do was ask. At first I was so surprised about how willing people were to help me out even though we’d never met before. I also learned where to focus my efforts to pursue the career path that I want to pursue and not put time elsewhere.”

Overall, Oh speaks very highly of MAIP and values his time in the program, as its benefits will carry on far after the program’s end.

“Although the internship had its ups and downs, emphasized by the fact that MAIP was in a transition period, the entire program was so beneficial,” Oh said. “I had so much fun, learned a lot about the advertising world, and gained so much global insight. The entire program also became worth it after I attended the MAIP Career Fair in New York. I saw how desperate the agency representatives were to hire people and how interested they were about our experiences.”

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Internships, Internships, Professional Development, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TAI Professor Willie Baronet’s Documentary “Signs of Humanity” Showing in Two Film Festivals

Some of the many homeless signs collected by Professor Baronet

Some of the many homeless signs collected by Professor Baronet

TAI Creative Advertising Professor Willie Baronet has been purchasing and collecting homeless signs from people across the country since 1993. Over the last twenty-three years he has collected over 1,000 signs. For years, Professor Baronet has displayed these homeless signs in exhibits all across the country in his art project “WE ARE ALL HOMELESS.” This past April, his project was turned into a documentary following Professor Baronet’s 31-day cross-country trip buying homeless signs in 24 cities.

The documentary, “Signs of Humanity,” was released in April, and has since been accepted into several film festivals across the country, including the 2016 Dallas International Film Festival and the Chain Film Festival. The film will be playing at the UNAFF 2016 International Documentary Film Festival in San Francisco on Thursday, October 27, and the Unspoken Human Rights Film Festival in Utica, New York on Friday, October 28.

Professor Baronet interviewing for "Signs of Humanity"

One of the interviews from “Signs of Humanity”

Although Professor Baronet has been collecting signs for over twenty years, this was the first time he had done something so concentrated.

“[The documentary] was the first time I did such in depth interviews with folks on the street,” Professor Baronet said. “And the media attention from the trip helped to make it clear how many people struggle with what to do when they see someone with a sign, and often have mixed feelings about what to do. I began to realize this project helped some people voice those concerns and have conversations they might not otherwise have.”

“Signs of Humanity” has given Professor Baronet an amazing platform to voice the issue of homelessness and find a way to help. In making the film, Professor Baronet and the other filmmakers partnered with many organizations that help homeless people.

Help USA sponsored the exhibit in New York at the end of the documentary,” Professor Baronet said. “They also sponsored exhibits at both political conventions this summer in Cleveland and Philly. Maria Cuomo Cole, the chairman of Help USA, is also an activist and filmmaker and has been a big supporter of this project. The Bridge has also been a big supporter, and I also spoke at their annual fundraiser in 2015. They helped sponsor events around our premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival as well. I’ve also partnered with Stewpot and the Housing Crisis Center on projects in the past. All of these organizations are doing great work for the homeless.”

Although Professor Baronet didn’t document many of his early encounters purchasing homeless signs, he remembers quite a few people that have stuck out to him over the years.

Michael from Omaha and Professor Baronet taking a selfie

Michael from Omaha and Professor Baronet taking a selfie

“There was a woman who sold me a sign that her late husband had made,” Professor Baronet said. “There was a man in Austin who wanted to talk about art and his relationship with his father. Michael in Omaha was a veteran missing one leg, who I had a powerful connection to. Cheryl in Detroit is the only person so happy that I was buying her sign that she reached in the car and hugged my neck. Elli in Baltimore was only 17; she was Romanian and spoke five languages, so full of promise and doing what she could to take care of her family.”

One person in particular Professor Baronet has kept in contact with is a man named Eddie who he met in Philadelphia.

“Eddie had a sign that said ‘What if God occasionally visits Earth disguised as a homeless person panhandling to see how charitable we are. Completely hypothetical of course.’” Professor Baronet said. “Eddie and I have become friends, and I’ve reconnected with him twice in Philly. He is a former heroin addict, and now is working and sponsoring others in AA. He and I spoke together on a panel at the opening of a ‘WE ARE ALL HOMELESS’ exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania in September of 2016.”

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One of the women featured in “Signs of Humanity”

Over his years of collecting homeless signs, Professor Baronet has gained a new perspective on the meaning of “home.”

“I’ve gotten a deeper understanding about what ‘home’ means, to me and to others,” Professor Baronet said. “I’ve learned that we all share many of the pains and privileges of the human experience. Holding a sign on the street is simply asking for help, something I’ve had to do many times in the course of my life. And I’m lucky to have friends and family as a safety net when I need something.”

Professor Baronet hopes his documentary can take away some of the preconceived notions surrounding the homeless.

“It can be easy to put people in boxes based on judgments we may make,” Professor Baronet said. “Even waving and smiling and seeing the humanity in each other can change the dynamic between the housed and those on the streets.”

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Faculty, Faculty Interviews, SMU Creative, Social Responsibility | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TAI Students Attend Dallas Networking Events

Last week, both undergraduate and graduate students from TAI participated in multiple networking events making connections with companies across DFW.

Tuesday evening, TAI graduate students went to Ad2Dallas’ Speed Career Connections event. The event had professionals from numerous agencies, including The Company of Others, Inspire Agency, The Richards Group, ReedMitchell, SocialCentiv, TM Advertising and Resolution Media. The Creative Circle also helped attendants by reviewing resumes and providing career guidance.

Attendants at the Ad2Dallas Networking Event Photo credit: Ad2Dallas

Attendants at the Ad2Dallas Networking Event
Photo credit: Ad2Dallas

“I really enjoyed the Ad2Dallas event because it was a fun and casual way to meet working industry professionals,” TAI graduate student Lauren Lombardo said. “They offered some very insightful advice about entering the advertising job market, and it was interesting to hear different perspectives within the industry. It also helped me work on my social skills, and I feel confident now walking up to people and starting a conversation. The Creative Circle even had a resume reviewing station where they offered critiques, which was quite helpful. Overall, it was a great opportunity to network with potential mentors or employers, and I had a wonderful time.”

Thursday afternoon, TAI undergraduate and graduate students attended a Communications Networking Event, jointly hosted by the SMU Hegi Family Career Development Center, TAI, the SMU Chapters of PRSSA and AAF (Ad Club). The event included employers such as Brunswick Group, D Magazine, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Southwest Airlines, The Infinite Agency, TracyLocke Advertising Agency, Weber Shandwick, and more. This event offered students the opportunity to meet industry professionals and make valuable connections for the future.

“The SMU Communications Networking Event was a great experience for me and my fellow peers,” TAI undergraduate student Monica Gonzalez Glenn said. “We got the opportunity to meet some amazing employers from a variety of fields and industries here in Dallas. The employers were very excited to meet us and enthusiastically responded to every question we had. Based on my post-event experience, recruiters have been extremely open to shadowing requests, internship interviews, and willingness to network more.”

A similar career and networking event will take place in the spring on Wednesday, March 1 from 3-5pm in the Hughes-Trigg ballroom. The Temerlin Advertising Institute loves to partner with local Dallas and SMU organizations to provide opportunities for our students to make connections and further their advertising careers.

Posted in Better Advertising. Better World., Community Outreach, Graduate Students, Professional Development, TAI Students, Undergraduate Students | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment