Advertising Executive Gordon Law Named New Temerlin Interim Chair

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By: Sarah Jane Eckelkamp

Gordon Law, Dallas advertising and marketing executive with over 40 years of experience, has been named interim chair of the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

Law began his career in education with SMU in 2011. After eight years of being an adjunct and two years of being a visiting professor of practice, he cannot imagine his life without teaching and feels this is where he is meant to be. Professor Law will continue to teach several classes on various topics, including Internet and Mobile Advertising, Advertising Media, Digital Media Strategies, and Strategic Brand Management.

“Teaching is the absolute greatest blessing I have had in my professional career: The classroom is my happy place, and being in a position to help my students and fellow faculty in and outside the classroom is what I enjoy most,” said Law.

After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in advertising and public relations, Law began his professional career and has had the opportunity to work with several national advertising agencies: Moroch, Grey, Backer & Spielvogel, and Bozell. For the past six years, he has served as president of Swimming Duck, a marketing and media service based in Dallas. He has also lent his expertise in media strategies, agency management, business, and brand development to other regional agencies like Keller Crescent Company; Hadeler, Sullivan & Law; and Slingshot.

Law’s hopes for this new role are high, and after being in business for more than four decades, he is excited to step into a position that consistently gives him new perspectives to learn while also providing him the honor of teaching. Students have shared their excitement for his increased involvement in the Temerlin Advertising Institute, and we are delighted to have someone with such significant experience overseeing our operations.

Executive Internship: TAI Graduate Student Noble Farr Reports after Two Weeks at Firehouse

I arrived at Firehouse bright-eyed and on the wrong floor. After finding the correct lobby, I was given a tour by Steve, an incredibly welcoming gentleman who I knew looked familiar but could not pinpoint exactly who he was. I’ll blame information overload and the absence of caffeine. Only after a 20 minute tour of Firehouse’s incredible office did I finally muster up the courage to ask, “And what is it you do, Steve?” To which he kindly and laughingly responded, “Oh—I’m the CEO.” *insert Homer Simpson backing into the bushes meme.

Now only one more misstep away from throwing myself down the proverbial fire-pole, I sat at my desk and took in the surroundings of my new home for the summer. Bobbleheads of celebrated employees lined a corner wall, countless agency awards were polished and reverberating excellence, and a mural of Lil’ Wayne equally encouraged and unsettled me from his perch as my next-desk neighbor. The agency’s mantra of “work hard, don’t be a dick’ was written on another wall, reminding me of both my favorite and only-known quote by Conan O’Brien: “Work hard, be really kind, and amazing things will happen to you.” Like all good agencies, Firehouse takes this a step further.

Most palpable in that moment, however, was a sense of the agency’s powerful culture. A culture that is made up of so many unique and talented individuals that it has created a sub-culture of its own. All are welcomed and all are accepted, contingent, of course, on one’s willingness to spontaneously pause work for the ever-present (and incredibly competitively) foosball game.

Having been at Firehouse for only two weeks now, I am even more excited to continue working here. As a strategy intern, I’ve already been given so many exciting opportunities to research new clients and help work on creative briefs. Within the first week, I was pulled into

Noble Farr, SMU Graduate Student in Advertising
Noble Farr, SMU Graduate Student in Advertising

meetings where I felt welcomed yet often overwhelmed and undeserving to be in such an unfamiliar and real-stakes environment. I’ve learned that while one can excel in academics and think he knows a lot about the advertising industry, learning to put that knowledge into action can be difficult. Thankfully, that’s what internships are for: to find out what you like and don’t like, learn how to tap into the innate and learned abilities one’s been given, and to conquer (at least attempt to) the imposter syndrome that comes with being surrounded by so many experts in their fields.

I thought it appropriate to write myself a strategy brief to help me through this short summer at Firehouse. After all, writing briefs is my job. It consists of asking questions like, ‘What do I want to learn?’ ‘How can I best accomplish my goals?’ and ‘When I leave, how can I make sure my work has made a lasting and positive impact?’ I hope to find these answers along the way, but until then I’ll just keep bettering my strategy skills, improving my foosball game, and working to make Firehouse a Fire-home (had to drop a dad joke in there somewhere).

My first introduction to Firehouse was during an agency tour with Professor Peter Noble. I’m confident that without his and so many other TAI faculty members’ guidance, this summer would look a lot different. Now putting my degree into action, I’m reminded of all the late night group projects and extensive research papers I’ve worked on, and the professors who challenged us to develop our best, most authentic work. Going back to school to complete a master’s degree when most of your friends and peers are starting their careers is daunting, and I had my fair share of second thoughts. However, I distinctly remember walking out of my first class last fall and thinking to myself, “this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.” And that feeling is even more true today.

Professor Sid Muralidharan Panelist at FTC Workshop


On June 24th, Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan, Associate Professor at the Temerlin Advertising spoke at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) four-hour business workshop series, Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC Rules of the Road for Business.

The Dallas program continued the popular business workshop series that the FTC has held in past years with regional partners in cities across the county. The workshop focused on trending topics in truth-in-advertising law, social media marketing, data security, business-to-business fraud, and other business basics.

Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan, served as a panelist for the session titled “Avoiding a Promotion Commotion.” The session was moderated by Tom Carter, attorney at FTC Southwest Region, and covered six main topics – e-mail marketing, free offers and negative options, children’s online privacy, customer reviews, social media and influencers, and consumer gag clauses. Other panelists included, Iris Diaz (Chief Marketing Office for the Dallas Mavericks), Edward Hynes (Attorney at FTC Southwest Region), and Lea Williams (Adjunct Professor, Thurgood Marshall School of Law).

Designed for business owners, advertising professionals, attorneys, and others who need to know how established legal principles apply in today’s fast-moving marketplace, the program offers practical insights from Texas business leaders and recognized experts in consumer protection law and cybersecurity.

ALUMNI UPDATE: Chelsea Roth

Temerlin alumna (’16) Chelsea Roth is a Senior Consultant focusing on social impact and sustainability at APCO Worldwide‘s New York office. Prior to this role, Chelsea worked at Edelman for five years and supported purpose-driven campaigns for global brands and organizations. Some of the companies Chelsea has partnered with during her career include eBay, Red Bull, The Rockefeller Foundation, T.J.Maxx, Unilever and currently the ACLU.

Chelsea credits her professors in the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU with providing the skills and experience to succeed at top communication agencies and navigate the client work that she manages today. She will never forget the hands-on experience during her “Advertising Campaigns” course, where she created an advertising pitch for Mizzen+Main, a company started by two SMU alumnus. Her educational experience in the Temerlin Advertising Institute built the foundation for her to discover her passions and gain life-long expertise that will carry her throughout her career.

Film, football and faith: Meadows junior Jack Mayo now running his own production company

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From high school photo assignments to gigs at Madison Square Garden, Mayo says collaboration makes all the difference

Like many college students, Jack Mayo has plastered his dorm room walls with photos of his favorite band at some of their most legendary gigs. But one thing is different: Mayo was hired to be there.

A junior double majoring in advertising and film, Mayo has worked as a photographer and videographer since he was in eighth grade, when he first contacted Australian worship band Hillsong United and asked if he could be a volunteer photographer at their tour stop in Dallas.

It was the beginning of a fruitful — and whirlwind — relationship. Within the next four years, he founded production company Jack Mayo Films, developed a second area of expertise in sports, and produced the live film of Hillsong’s show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Today, Mayo works full time in addition to managing his course load at SMU. When we caught up with him, he was just getting in from a shoot for Adidas. Later that week, he assisted on a shoot with Shaquille O’Neal for JCPenney and spent three days with the NFL draft.

Pretty amazing for 21.

“My dad got me into it,” Mayo says of his blossoming career. He grew up in Frisco and his father owns a camera rental company that provides equipment to commercial and movie shoots.

Growing up around cameras sparked Mayo’s interest, but it didn’t take off until middle school when he was doing theater tech for a musical production of The Hobbit and decided he wanted to take some video.

Mayo walked dogs for $20 an hour and saved up to buy his first proper camera and MacBook. He had a little help from his father, who agreed to match what he earned. “My dad had always taught me to work for myself and earn everything,” he says.

Middle school theater taught Mayo the basics of sound and lighting. In high school, he branched out and began taking pictures and shooting video at Frisco High School football games. That proved to be a smart move, because adults started paying attention.

“That got me really connected with athletes and also the administration,” he says. “They knew me and liked me, and knew what I was doing for the school.”

Football is a passion of Mayo’s now. But ironically, he didn’t know much about it, or sports in general, when he started photographing the games. “Even senior year I didn’t get how football worked,” he says. “I used to ask my assistant, ‘How many tries do they have?’ And he’d be like, ‘Third down, you idiot!’”

When he wasn’t at football games, Mayo worked at any events he could, from community service activities to other school spirit functions. In addition to giving him critical early experience, all of that socializing had other advantages to a new Frisco High freshman.

“I didn’t really know anyone and that’s how I’d make friends,” he says. “I’d go take pictures of stuff and meet people.”

By the time Mayo was a high school sophomore, he had a friend working as his intern. He started learning more about videography and soon founded his business.

In his final years at Frisco High School he was regularly being commissioned by the school to produce work for the football team, drill teams, banquets and more. “I think I was the only Frisco High School student that got paid by different groups from the school while I went there,” he says with a chuckle.

JackMayoHillsongConferencePromoWithSebastianStrand

High school is also when Mayo got connected with Hillsong; he says his work relationship with the group is his favorite by far.  While he loves football, he says there’s nothing that compares with the energy of their worship nights.

“The crowd has so much interaction at Hillsong concerts,” he says, explaining that it makes for more interesting photos and videos. “I think with worship music it’s two ways a lot of time. The audience is singing and they’re raising their hands.”

Mayo is active in his church and was already a diehard Hillsong fan when he got the idea in eighth grade to find their sound and video guy on social media. “I basically harassed the Hillsong people on Instagram to let me volunteer for them,” he says.

Mayo was too young to drive himself to the first two shows he worked. At the first one, he was purely a volunteer. But when next year’s tour came around, he was personally invited and his photos were posted to the official Hillsong accounts.

The biggest thing he’s done for Hillsong to date is the Madison Square Garden show in July 2019, and the work keeps coming. Most recently, he worked the 2020 Passion Conference in Atlanta.

“They’re just great to work with, and nice people,” he says. “I really cherish the relationship and want to continue to be valuable.”

Mayo ended up at SMU somewhat by surprise. At first, he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to college at all; he already had a successful business. But he kept hearing about the once-in-a-lifetime college experience, and he started thinking that the right degree could be an asset.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, the SMU football coach reached out. He’d seen one of Mayo’s videos on Twitter and invited him to campus for a visit.

Mayo’s aunt and uncle had both gone to SMU, but it hadn’t really been on his radar. When he visited, he fell in love. “As soon as I came to campus I thought, ‘Yeah, this is where I’m going to be,’” he recalls.

Mayo admired the campus’ beauty and was excited about the opportunities SMU presented. He could be a creative assistant for the football team. And he liked what he heard from the film professors and students during his tour of the Meadows School of the Arts.

“Everyone I talked to just loved it so much,” he says. Mayo committed to enroll at SMU on the deadline, May 1.

Staying in the Dallas area for school has also proved to be beneficial. “From a work standpoint, nothing slowed down,” he says.

Balancing work and school can be tricky. Mayo schedules his classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving the other days open for work opportunities. Sometimes even that is limiting, since many shoots are multi-day.

But Mayo doesn’t have trouble filling up his schedule. These days, instead of hustling on social media, he relies on his network. He has many industry friends, some of whom are decades older than him.

“If I see I have two weeks free coming up on my calendar, I’ll text my buddies and say, ‘Hey, I’m open these days if you’ve got anything.’”

Doing double duty is taxing, but worth it. Mayo’s advertising concentration is digital media strategy, and he can already see the value of the degree.

“Right now I can go shoot an Adidas spot, but if I get an advertising degree then I can be the person directing that. Or I can be the client. Then I’m not working for someone, I’m getting the work done from the upper level.”

Mayo dabbled in narrative film in high school, but he’s always gravitated toward commercials. He still draws inspiration from movies, and particularly idolizes Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins.

“I think commercials especially are getting more and more artsy, so you can watch narrative examples and say to yourself, ‘OK, I really like how this is lit, or I like how this conversation went between these two people,’” he explains.

But ultimately, he loves showing up to work every day knowing he’ll experience something new. “I like fast-paced projects as opposed to being on one shoot for six months,” he says. “With what I do it’s always something different.”

Last year, COVID-19 threw a curveball. Starting with the big SXSW annual music and media festival in March, all of the shoots he had on his calendar cancelled within two days. “I thought, ‘This is the worst thing ever,’” he remembers. “‘Should I change career paths? What am I doing?’”

But the despair didn’t last long. Just a few weeks later he received a call from one of his mentors, local cinematographer Brandon Zebell, asking for help setting up a livestream for a church in Fort Worth. After they had finished, Mayo realized the system they’d come up with could be used to build a remote set for commercial shoots.

“We had all the hardware out, and I realized we could do a shoot and stream it to directors and producers, and anyone who doesn’t need to be on set,” he says. “And it wouldn’t be that hard because we were using a bunch of inexpensive equipment and still had great results.”

In May, he took his theory for a dry run when he was hired to stream the camera feed for the United States Tennis Association’s “Get Up and Play” campaign shoot. Ordinarily, a shoot like that would require about 40 people on set, but thanks to Mayo’s innovations they were able to do it with six. Everyone else watched on Zoom.

“They were able to see the camera feed and hear everything because of all the streaming details we had figured out the month before,” he says.

To date, he’s replicated his method about 30 times, gaining new clients purely by word of mouth. “I’ve designed packages and sold them to other people who basically use my system,” he says. “It’s really nothing special, just making sure you have the right equipment to bring it all together.”

Mayo sees the utility of remote set technology lasting well beyond COVID-19, because it saves money. And in the last year, the available technology has only improved. His clients are starting to move away from Zoom toward more professional systems like Teradek that are designed specifically for this use. These systems offer better playback and deliver files around the world in real time.

Even with all of these improvements, there are some annoyances of being a videographer in a pandemic that you simply can’t get around – like frequent coronavirus tests. “I’ve gotten my nose stabbed so many times,” he says.

Mayo has big plans for when he graduates. First on his list: taking more jobs outside Dallas. “Normally, travel jobs are multiple days and it’s hard for me to take multi-day assignments with school,” he says.

He also has aspirations of continuing to work his way up in the sports world. “Right now I’m doing the inexpensive projects where they just hire someone local and go shoot a film,” he says. “Working on the draft was very cool – it was the first NFL draft I’ve been involved in.”

And even though long-form work isn’t typically his favorite, he thinks a documentary could be in his wheelhouse. He’d particularly like the opportunity to work on the Netflix college football docuseries Last Chance U.

“It’s one of my favorite things to watch,” he says. “I love the cinematography and the storytelling style. Working on that show is on my bucket list.”

Mayo has already checked off a lot of items on other aspiring videographers’ bucket lists. “My high school broadcast teacher used to say that I was born at 40,” he says, when asked how he developed discipline so young.

He’s always believed in taking anything he does seriously. “I’m very responsive and proper with business dealings,” he says.

Mayo tries to reply to emails quickly, makes sure contracts are executed to the letter, and maintains a packed Outlook calendar. “There are 12 things a day and it’s just nonstop,” he says.

Some of Mayo’s fastidiousness is conscious. In high school, he struggled with balancing school work with his professional life, and he’s worked hard to find systems that help him manage his time better. “I’m not perfect at any of this stuff,” he says. “I just do what works.”

There’s only one thing that Mayo says he couldn’t do without: his collaborators. “I think the people I worked with are what made me successful,” he says.

While he’s confident in his vision and technical ability, he believes his main gift is leadership. In his first semester at SMU he made a video for his Production 1 class about teamwork and what it means to him. “I still like to show it to people,” he says.

The video focuses on his experiences in high school, particularly the time he posted flyers inviting anyone interested to make a movie with him, and ended up filming The Ghost of Frisco High with a cast and crew of 80 people. “We had all types of people join, and I was able to lead the team and bring everyone together,” he says.

Many of the people featured in that class project have gone their own way, but Mayo has found new friends at SMU who mean just as much to him. One of the students he collaborates with most closely is his roommate, Alex Daly-Hill, a fellow advertising and film double major who also worked for the football team for two seasons. Mayo helped Daly-Hill learn new skills that prepared him for his current role with FC Dallas. But the support is mutual.

“A lot of the time I think of ideas and I know how I want my finished product to look. But then if I bring Alex along, he’ll say, ‘Oh, let’s do this,’ and the video will turn out better,” he says. “And Alex is a much better editor than me. So he’s edited basically all of my stuff in the last year and a half.”

One of the many reasons Mayo likes working with a team is that it’s a safeguard against his own ideas becoming stale. He values always having an outside perspective.

“Collaboration is my favorite part of my work. I wish I wouldn’t have named my company my name, because there’s a lot more to it,” he says. “If you hire Jack Mayo Films, you’re getting a lot more than Jack Mayo.”

ALUMNI UPDATE: Leah Smith takes on role at the The Richards Group and is starting a PhD in Information Science

Since graduating with an MA in Advertising from the Temerlin Advertising Institute in 2018, Leah Smith has worked in a variety of digital marketing roles. She has done everything from social media, to content marketing, to search engine marketing, and communications. She recently accepted a new role as a Brand Manager for The Richards Group here in Dallas.

In addition, Leah has been accepted as a doctoral student at UNT for fall 2021 in the PhD in Information Science program which she is extremely excited (and nervous) for starting. Leah explained that, “I hope while there, I can apply my mixed background in journalism (BA in Journalism from SMU) and marketing/advertising in the research I undertake.”

According to Dr. Carrie La Ferle, “Leah will be a value add to the UNT doctoral program with her sold work experience, enthusiastic personality and quick to learn nature.” La Ferle went on to add, “Leah will bring fresh and impactful eyes as she works to merge her interests across communication, social media and critical media studies during her doctoral studies.”

Leah reports that, “I no doubt attribute my success and some of the opportunities I’ve had professionally to my time at SMU. I’ve been very intentional in trying to maintain relationships with professors and classmates. No matter what industry you’re in, relationship-building is critical. I also routinely lean back on former professors for their wisdom and wealth of knowledge. ”

Leah wrapped up her update by concluding, “While I will ALWAYS be a Mustang, I really look forward to this new chapter as a UNT Eagle.”

Dr. Carrie La Ferle Recognized for Career Promoting Advertising Ethics and Social Responsibility

Dr. Carrie La Ferle of the Temerlin Advertising Institute at Southern Methodist University was awarded the prestigious Kim Rotzoll Award for Advertising Ethics and Social Responsibility. The award has only been given nine times since 2004 with La Ferle following the likes Ivan L Preston (2005), Herbert Jack Rotfeld (2006), Richard W. Pollay (2007), Wally Snyder (2009), Les Carlson (2010), Meme Drumwright (2013), Jerome Williams (2018) and Kim Sheehan (2019). Carrie said she was honored and absolutely beaming with gratitude to be included among these esteemed colleagues.

Kim Rotzoll spearheaded the teaching and research of ethics in advertising, from media ethics to the study of advertising as a social and economic institution in society. He was Dean of the College of Communications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for over ten years and prior to that, head of the department of advertising, one of the best ranked research advertising programs in the country. Kim died in 2003 at the age sixty-eight and the award was created to recognize individuals demonstrating an outstanding commitment to advertising ethics and social responsibility.

Dr. La Ferle was praised for….over twenty years of teaching ethics in advertising to undergraduate and graduate students, contributing to the design and now thriving MA in Advertising program at TAI with social responsibility at its core, her outstanding contribution to research, and her continued active service to the profession nationally and internationally, promoting teaching and research in ethics and social responsibility in advertising.

The American Academy of Advertising is the top advertising organization for advertising scholars interested in advertising research and education. It oversees many advertising journals, including the premier journal in the field, the Journal of Advertising.

Faculty Highlights: 2021 Conference of the American Academy of Advertising

During the annual American Academy of Advertising conference held virtually from March 18-20, 2021, Dr. Quan Xie of SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute captivated a global audience with her research titled, “Advocating Corporate Social Responsibility in these Uncertain Times of Covid-19? The Moderating Effect of Threat Persuasion in CSR Advertising.” Dr. Xie also is an active member of the AAA Membership Committee, helping to interact and grow the existing membership, currently located across 20+ countries.

Contributing to this growth, Dr. Sid Muralidharan and Dr. Carrie La Ferle joined in meetings with their Global & Multicultural Committee members to foster research and teaching across a broad range of local, national, and international cultural issues. 

Distinguished Chair, Professor of Advertising and Director of the Temerlin Advertising Institute, Dr. Steven M. Edwards was also front and center at the American Academy of Advertising Conference, being thanked for his past service as Treasurer on AAA’s Executive Committee, continued support of doctoral research awards.

Winning the Big iDea Takes More than Just a Great Idea!

A chance meeting while working in the hall at ULEE, SMU Psychology student and Neuroscience Lab Research Coordinator Madison McMahan met Advertising Professor Dr. Carrie La Ferle. After several conversations, they got to know each other. Recently, Madison shared her Big iDeas business idea: Panacea!

More than Instagram or Facebook. More than a dating app. Panacea helps people easily make friends based on shared interests and hobbies.

Taking cues from the world of advertising , Dr. La Ferle gave Madison some general ideas to consider for making a winning “pitch and presentation” on her Big iDeas Business Competition pitch.

After her Panacea idea won, Madison shared her enjoyment of the Big iDeas journey and learning how to start a business. “I had such wonderful encouragement from my family, friends, the Engaged Learning Team and SMU faculty Carrie La Ferle, Bruce Snider, and Carlos Martinez! This experience has given me huge insights into marketing, planning, advertising concepts, and the overall business world. The skills I have gained will help me in the future, especially with the things that I am super passionate about such as helping people find friends.”

Madison plans to launch the app in July and hopes everyone to be able to join Panacea to form new friendships.

To find out more about Panacea, or to be notified when the app is ready, please visit the website or email panaceaconnectionisgood@gmail.com.

Congratulations Madison and to the other 2021 Big iDeas Business Plan winners!

Find out more about Engaged Learning and Big iDeas at SMU.

ALUMNI UPDATE: Leveraging Graduate Education in the Industry

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.