Temerlin alumna Deja Sanders is a global account supervisor at TracyLocke’s Chicago office. She credits her experience in Temerlin’s graduate program with facilitating her pivot into the advertising industry. “Completing my M.A. at Temerlin in 2018 was hands-down the best decision for my career. Not only was I able to stretch myself academically, but I was also able to tap into a wealth of creative resources from the Dallas area and across the world,” she says.
Sanders also credits challenging conversations with professors and colleagues that taught her how to navigate the clients she manages today. “The care and commitment to TAI students and their professional development is something that I will always appreciate,” she says.
“When I reflect on the tools and theories taught throughout this program, I can honestly say that I deploy many of them on a day-to-day basis. Beyond client relationships and good creative, advertising at its foundation is a psychographic tool leveraged to communicate across communities. Understanding these communities and what makes them tick is where my educational training intersects with my day-to-day role,” Sanders adds. She cites Dr. Sid Muralidharan’s graduate course, Advertising as a Cultural Force, as an impactful learning experience. Sanders studied how advertisers represent and communicate authentically with multicultural and international audiences. She aspires to continue these studies through a Ph.D. in advertising; her goal is to increase research and identify additional tools of engagement for multicultural and international audiences.
Throughout his career, Temerlin professor Dr. Mark Allen has worked as an art director and designer for clients including the History Channel, the New York Yankees, Norton/Symantec, Martha Stewart, The Walking Dead, A&E Networks, HBO, the U.S. National Parks Service and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. His work has been recognized for creative excellence in the Print Regional Design Annual and Applied Arts magazine and by the Promotion Marketing Association, the Illustrators Society of Los Angeles and the Dallas Society of Visual Communications. He joined SMU’s newly established Temerlin Advertising Institute in 2003, where he currently teaches various creative advertising courses. Allen recently shared his insights into his students’ work and the shift in teaching creative courses brought about by the pandemic.
“I knew that teaching creative studio-based classes virtually was going to be a challenge, but it was much harder than I anticipated. It was difficult to hold our weekly critiques—the lifeblood of our creative classes—on Zoom because we’re used to walking around the room, making notes, and drawing sketches on the work that plasters every available surface in the classroom. Losing the spatial, tactile dimension of what we do in the classroom was felt every time we met online. Additionally, there’s usually a lot of back-and-forth with the students. But humor and sarcastic banter are hard to pull off on Zoom when most of the class is on mute. More than anything, I miss hearing the flood of input from my students during a critique. They are so smart and so funny, and I depend on their eyes, ears and brains to back me up—and to challenge my ill-advised suggestions. Zoom only allows you to focus on one thing at a time: one voice, one image, etc. And I don’t usually run my classes like that,” Allen explains.
Continue reading “FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Difficult Year. Difficult Briefs. Smart Solutions.”
Leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl, Executive-in-Residence Amber Benson spoke with CBS 11 regarding her expectations for this year’s ads. In the interview, Benson noted that Super Bowl staples such as Budweiser, Coke and Pepsi chose to sit out the game, which provided space for newer and smaller brands to play. Benson accurately anticipated more humor in this year’s ads, explaining that advertisers know people needed a comedic break this year. What we didn’t expect to see was the humorous Oatly CEO singing off-key in a field, alone.
Professor Mark Allen agrees with Benson’s insights, citing GM’s “No Way Norway” with Will Ferrell as a big winner of the night. “This one had all the ingredients of a classic Super Bowl commercial: big-budget, big celebrities, big laughs. But this spot was much smarter than it may seem on the surface. Instead of interrupting the big game with a drive-by guilting about carbon emissions, fossil fuels and global warming, GM kept us laughing with an appeal to American patriotism and our competitive spirit. But this time it was all in the service of selling electric vehicles (without taking a cheap shot at gas-guzzling muscle cars). And Will Ferrell was perfect for this one—hilarious,” Allen explains.
Temerlin’s Ad Club organized a socially distant ad viewing party on February 10 and invited LERMA/ agency’s Brian Linder and Bill Cochran to share their creative insights with students. Temerlin senior Sarah Scambray helped organize the event. She says, “I’m so glad we were able to host an in-person event because it allowed everyone to see one another’s reactions as we watched the ads and discuss them openly afterward. It was a great break from the impersonal nature of meeting on Zoom. We also invited a couple of industry professionals to give their take, and it was really cool to hear their in-depth perspective on which ads were truly successful or not.”
Ad Club’s mission is to create a student community of those with an interest in and passion for advertising. The club offers agency and advertising-inspired events, career-building workshops and professional panels that give students the opportunity to learn about the advertising industry, develop the necessary skills to earn internships and jobs, and network with fellow students, alumni and industry professionals. To learn more about Ad Club or join, please contact Ad Club President Meredith Welborn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Willie Baronet, the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, has been buying and collecting homeless signs since 1993. The meaningful conversations Baronet had with the homeless when purchasing signs led to the founding of his not-for-profit We Are All Homeless. Through this organization, Baronet enlists volunteers and students to advocate for the homeless by organizing awareness-building events, including exhibits of collected signs and gathering donations.
In collaboration with a We Are All Homeless 2018 event, Baronet worked alongside researchers from Thomas Jefferson University’s Public Health Department and its director, Dr. Rosemary Frasso, to study the lived experiences of unhoused people who panhandle and their interactions with passersby. “I am so proud that I’ve been able to partner with Dr. Frasso to bring art and science together to create meaningful research to impact the homeless cause,” says Baronet. “Working with her students, and subsequently being a co-author to their research, is something I didn’t expect to be doing. The TAI slogan is Better Advertising. Better World. and the Meadows motto is Start a Movement. I hope that this work can be an example to our students who want to take the lessons we teach about creativity and purpose and find ways to make them a reality.”
Their resulting paper, ‘Even a smile helps’: Exploring the Interactions Between People Experiencing Homelessness and Passersby in Public Spaces, was published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry this January. Forty semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants who were approached while panhandling and asked to describe their experiences asking for help in public and accessing homelessness services, as well as what they wished to share with those passing by. Participants’ experiences were consistent with loneliness, as characterized in the literature as distress at lack of social connection, and were also notable for the verbal and physical violence endured in public spaces. Many shared personal histories of tragedy and called for greater empathy and compassion from passersby, as well as society as a whole, for people experiencing homelessness. The researchers said that because social isolation and trauma are detrimental to mental health in this vulnerable group, interventions to support this population should provide opportunities for consistent, supportive social connections and focus on providing low-barrier, stable housing.
Dr. Frasso, the organizing researcher, adds, “This collaboration helped us both grow as scholars and educators. Working with colleagues outside your home discipline is powerful and together we were able to shed light on the lives of people experiencing homelessness, through art (the amazing exhibit we held at Jefferson) and through traditional public health channels, such as peer-reviewed literature.”