SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute is home to three undergraduate advertising tracks specializing in their respective disciplines: Creative, Digital Media Strategy and Strategic Brand Management. Mimicking an advertising agency setting, NSAC unites the three tracks to collaborate on a multi-media marketing plan while providing national exposure for students to land internships and full-time opportunities. Hillery Lemon ’19 recounts her time on last year’s winning team as “A really valuable experience. Especially as a creative student, because I got to work with the other advertising specializations and see what it really takes to put a campaign together. It’s so satisfying seeing your work do well!”
The National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) is the premier collegiate competition founded by the American Advertising Federation (AAF). Led by Professor Amber Benson, each team is asked to devise a completely integrated campaign and pitches their work to savvy advertising professionals which are judged at the district, semi-final, and national levels. Prior NSAC clients include Ocean Spray, Snapple, Nissan, Coca-Cola, State Farm (and more). This year it’s Adobe. Yes, that Adobe.
Collaboration, presentation, and strategic planning are invaluable skills for students preparing to enter the ad industry. The SMU Ad Team exists to nurture these skills and give students a chance to present their work to a real client and a panel of industry experts. And we’ve been pretty successful. Last year, SMU won 1st place at the NSAC District 10 Competition and was a national finalist with an insightful advertising campaign for Wienerschnitzel.
The SMU 2020 Ad Team: Professor Amber Benson, Kathryn Chavez, Sarah Jane Eckelkamp, Jackson Ferris, Avery Fuller-Monk, Sebastian Gutierrez, Caillie Horner, Sarah Katsikas, Meryn Kennedy, Lauren Kobayashi, Erin McCraw, Abhinav Nadella, Ankita Padarthy, Riley Preston, Susan Slaton, Lizzie Venditti, and Whitney Wilkerson.
How do I join?
Temerlin’s highest-performing students need to apply to compete on the NSAC stage. Applications open each fall, keep an eye on your email. Pony Up Team Adobe!
I came to SMU and wanted to be a theater major. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out. At the beginning of my freshman year, I asked myself, “what can I study that still allows me to be surrounded by unique, creative, and thought-provoking people?” Luckily, I found Advertising which allowed me to think creatively, problem-solve, and exhibit my presentation skills acquired from experience in theater. I also majored in Spanish which helped me learn more about other cultures. This better positioned me to navigate the world advertising because I can understand and interact with people who speak different languages.
After being accepted into the TAI Strategic Brand Management program, I met with my academic advisor. She told me about Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency in Dallas. After that conversation, my goal was to work for Dieste because it fuses my two majors and celebrates the diversity of every person.
I was hired as a Project Manager at Dieste after I graduated in May. In my opinion, the project manager is one of the most valuable positions to have at an agency. I oversee the strategic process from start to finish and interact with every department that is involved with the project (e.g. creative production, financials, brand leadership). I am now knowledgeable of the departments’ goals so I can empathize with them and better understand their needs. This will help me in the future as I continue to navigate different fields in advertising.
I cannot speak more highly of TAI and the faculty because they prepared me for my first professional role in Advertising. My brand management classes taught me how to think strategically, how to strengthen brands, and how to manage specific daily tasks. My ethics course helped me view the world through different cultural perspectives and understand the ethical responsibility in advertising. And although I was not enrolled in the Creative Advertising program, the Introduction to Creativity course prepared me for the wonderful weirdness that I experience among the creatives on my team. Finally, my two years of experience on Ad Team solidified what I had learned. I exemplified my project management skills as the Team Director and provided prospective employers with a printed plan book, visual and textual proof of my professional skills. I was confident in my interview with Dieste but I believe that the book sealed the deal.
I encourage current TAI students to embrace the department, the faculty, and the programs it offers (like Ad Team *wink*). While actually working in the field leverages your professional experience, TAI gets you there as close as possible. Additionally, I encourage you to embrace your niche. Continue to pursue your passions. Working at Dieste has further emphasized the importance of embracing cultures. Beyond ethnicity and heritage, the unique interests of people become parts of their culture. As advertisers, the better we can understand everyone’s interests, the better we can connect them to the brands we represent.
It’s time to celebrate another wonderful year of student and faculty accomplishments. We’ve recognized the achievements that make the Temerlin Advertising Institute an award-winning institute at SMU, and we could not be more proud of our talented students and faculty.
Below are all the industry and special awards earned by our students and faculty during the 2017-2018 academic year.
AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student – Jennifer Nelson and Eric Sedeño
AAF American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) – Samantha Butz, Lucas Crespo, Tiffany Giraudon, Jolie Guz, Madeline Khare, Grace LaMontagne, Grey McDermid, Kirsty McLauchlan, Caroline Moss, Jennifer Nelson, Helen Rieger, Eric Sedeño, Matthieu Smyth.
AAF Stickell Internship – Austin Inglett and Dalya Romaner.
AFF 10th District Scholarship: Alissa Llort and Avery Lewis
Advertising Education Foundation MADE Internship: Eric Sedeño
Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) Dallas Irene Runnels-Paula McStay Scholarship – Alissa Llort
DFW Interactive Marketing Association Scholarship – Hannah Tymochko
DSVC National Show Best Print Advertising Campaign, Best Copy & Judge’s Choice – Tiffany Giraudon, Laura Walsh and Caroline Moss.
National Student Advertising Competition, SMU-TAI’s Ad Team: Third Place and Special Judges Award for Best Market Segmentation
SMU Ad Club Officers
Sara Jane Stephens
and Alex Mackillop
Event Planning Chair
National Student Advertising Competition | Ad Team –
Hayley Banas, Myla Borden, Mary Charles Byers, Amy Cooley, Rita de Obarrio, Harrison Fiveash, Anne-Marie Geisler, Alissa Llort, Alex Mackillop, London Mercer, Shelby Pointer, Juan Reyes, Sara Jane Stephens, Sara Ann Whiteley and Frank Zhang.
SMU Mortar Board Top 10 Sophomore – Rachel Kainer and Jolie Guz
TAI STUDENT AWARDS:
TAI Anchor Award – Given to a student(s) who consistently “pulls more than his/her weight” in bringing projects to fruition: Matthieu Smyth.
TAI Donald John Carty Leadership Award –Given to a student(s) in recognition of leadership in the classroom, the Institute and beyond: Cheyenne Tilford.
Face of TAI Award – Given to a student(s) who represents the Institute within Meadows, SMU and/or the advertising industry: Joanna Fennessy
TAI Optimizer Award – Given to a student(s) who demonstrates a desire and aptitude to make work better through superior work strategies and iteration: Alissa Llort and Eric Sedeño.
TAI Outstanding Graduate Student – Given to a student(s) who best represents the academic and professional pursuit of the field: Coral Pisek.
TAI Resilience Award – Given to a student(s) who deals effectively with project setbacks while maintaining a positive attitude and demonstrating a resolve to produce outstanding work: Kirsty McLauchlan
TAI Social Impact Award –Given to a student(s) who exemplifies aspects of social responsibility in their advertising work and beyond: Anna Proctor.
TAI Service Award – Given to a student(s) who renders substantial service to the campus at large as well as in the greater community: Rita de Obarrio
TAI Team Player Award –Given to a student(s) in recognition of contributions to team projects and activities: Sara Jane Stephens and Jolie Guz.
TAI Outstanding Academic Achievement in Creative – Tiffany Giraudon.
TAI Outstand Academic Achievement in Digital – Rachel Kainer.
TAI Outstanding Academic Achievement in Strategic Brand Management – Cheyenne Tilford.
TAI Student Marshal at Graduation – Caroline Moss.
TAI Undergraduate Reader at Graduation – Alex Mackillop
TAI Graduate Reader – Deja Sanders.
TAI FACULTY AWARDS
Scholar of the Year – Dr. Hye Jin Yoon
Service Exemplar – Professor Mark Allen
Teaching Innovator – Professor Cheryl Mendenhall
TAI Research Fellows – Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan and Dr. Carrie La Ferle
Professor Inspiring Excellence –
Student Support Superstars – Dr. Alice Kendrick, Professor Mark Allen, and Professor Willie Baronet
The 2018 SMU-TAI’s Ad Team, led by advisor Professor Amber Benson, competed with universities from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, in the AAF District 10 Convention, ADVENTION, in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 15, 2018. They placed third overall and took home a Special Judges Award for Best Market Segmentation in this year’s National Student Advertising Competition. Additionally, TAI students Avery Lewis and Alissa Llort were awarded AAF Tenth District Scholarships. All-in-all a great weekend!
TAI student Harrison Fiveash said he could have not been more excited with the outcome in Corpus Christi. “Not only placing third, but receiving the Special Judges Award for Best Market Segmentation is a true testament to how hard and cohesively our team operated,” he said.
Ad Team members had been working hard since the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester when they began doing research and strategy development for Ocean Spray, this year’s national client. The challenge was to drive relevancy of the brand for older millennials across both food and beverages.
With the concept BREAK OUT OF THE BOG, the team created a memorable campaign designed to give older millennials, aged 25-34, new reasons to purchase Ocean Spray throughout the year, by leveraging the health benefits, and highlighting Ocean Spray’s responsibility to the environment and to their farmers.
The team was asked to target older millennials, but they broke it down a little further to reveal a sweet spot in the millennial market that would provide Ocean Spray the highest lifetime customer value. How? by introducing the HENRYs. A HENRY is a “High Earner that is Not Rich Yet.” They view the brands they buy as a reflection of themselves, and improve their personal brand equity by buying from brands that they have a positive relationship with. Since HENRYs are both early adopters and social influencers, investing in them would create a halo effect that would influence the rest of the 44 million older millennial target.
After harvesting research insights, the team came to the conclusion that when it comes to the HENRYs, the brand is bogged down. These millennials tend to buy Ocean Spray products during the fall-winter holiday season, are unaware of Ocean Spray’s extensive product line, are skeptical about health claims, and don’t know about all the amazing things Ocean Spray does as a company.
The team decided to build on the existing brand equity of Ocean Spray’s highly popular “Straight from the Bog” campaign by breaking the Bog Guys, Justin and Henry, out of the bog and placing them in scenarios which align with the interests and values of the target market. All they needed to do, was to BREAK OUT OF THE BOG.
Four team members, Amy Cooley, Harrison Fiveash, Alex Mackillop and Sara Jane Stephens presented the team’s work to a panel of industry judges at the competition, with the goal of leveraging Ocean Spray’s social responsibility and their healthier and celebration-worthy products; showing that Ocean Spray could become more than just a Thanksgiving staple, a sugar-filled juice cocktail, and another corporate name.
Going to Corpus Christi to compete in the National Student Advertising Competition was an incredible experience for Ad Team Leader Sara Jane Stephens. “It was so wonderful to see the team’s handwork pay off. Our presentation went really well, and Harrison, Amy, Alex and I had so much fun presenting our campaign to the judges and the audience,” she said. “I am really proud of the team and very grateful to Dr. Edwards and Professor Benson for their guidance and hard work.”
Ad Team Leader Amy Cooley believes the hard work and late nights that the team put into the entire campaign and presentation were validated by the awards received. “I could not be more excited to have received two awards at NSAC this year,” she said. “This experience more than anything has prepared me for the real world in advertising, and I’m so thankful to have been able to be a part of it all.”
Advertising majors are required to complete ADV 4399 Advertising Campaigns as part of their curriculum. This class combines major advertising theories with practice, allowing students to develop and present an advertising campaign to a real client based on current advertising challenges that the client is facing. Students that take Advertising Campaigns during the Spring semester have the opportunity to participate in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). Recent NSAC clients include Tai Pei Frozen Foods (2017) Snapple (2016) Pizza Hut (2015) Mary Kay (2014) Glidden Paint (2013) and Nissan (2012).
TAI Brand Management Student, Alissa Llort, said that being a member of SMU’s Ad Team was her most rewarding college experience. “I just loved the experience and would do it all over again,” she said. “Being part of the SMU Ad Team this semester allowed me to immerse into the actual process of building a campaign and experience the real advertising life!”
Please join the Temerlin Advertising Institute in congratulating this year’s SMU-TAI’s NSAC team on their outstanding work and accomplishments!
Members of the 2018 SMU-TAI’s NSAC team are: Hayley Banas, Myla Borden, Mary Charles Byers, Amy Cooley, Rita de Obarrio, Harrison Fiveash, Anne-Marie Geisler, Conrad Li, Alissa Llort, Alex Mackillop, London Mercer, Shelby Pointer, Juan Reyes, Sara Jane Stephens, Sara Ann Whiteley and Frank Zhang.
Now that the campaign for Ocean Spray has been created, SMU-TAI’s Ad Team has begun to get their final presentation ready for the AAF District 10 competition in Corpus Christi, TX. The members that were selected to present the team’s work to a panel of judges shared their expectations for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).
Amy Cooley– Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management and Spanish major.
“This is my second year on Ad Team, so it feels good to know what to expect going into the competition. I think that our campaign strategy is really strong, and we have an incredible team of presenters (if I do say so myself) so I’m excited to see how all of our hard work is going to pay off!”
Alex MacKillop – Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with minors in Business and International Studies.
“We have all worked extremely hard for this moment, so I think it will be very satisfying to see all our work come together in the final presentation. Everyone on the team contributed so much to this campaign and we are all very excited to see it through. “
Harrison Fiveash – Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with minors in Communications and Arts Entrepreneurship.
“I cannot wait for all of our hard work to come to fruition. Amy and SJ have been great leaders throughout this process, leading the charge in both coordination and execution. Professor Benson has also been extremely helpful in balancing a hands-off approach with corrective guiding. While there may just be four of us presenting, it took a small army for everything to come together. I hope to win and eventually move on to Chicago, but if not at least we gained a lot of experience and felt the real pressures of a hypothetical campaign.”
Sara Jane Stephens – Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Spanish.
“I’m extremely excited for the upcoming NSAC competition in Corpus Christi. Amy, Harrison, Alex and I have a lot of energy, charisma, and chemistry on stage, which makes our presentation memorable. Not to mention, our campaign strategy is really thorough and definitely makes us a strong contender in the competition. We’ve put in a lot of long nights and hard work into this, and I know that will be clear during the presentation!”
The team will present their integrated campaign at the AAF District 10 Convention, ADVENTION, on April 15, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The winning team(s) from each district will advance to the 2018 semi-finals, which will take place over two days, on May 2–3, 2018. Between 16 and 20 teams will compete for one of eight spots in the finals. Eight finalists will then compete for the national title at the annual ADMERICA conference, which will take place in Chicago, Illinois in early June.
TAI is confident in Ad Team’s effort, abilities and talent. We wish them the best of luck at the NSAC district competition this weekend!
For more information about NSAC please visit the competition website.
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. The Ad Team will be working together to create a full campaign applying the scrum methodology. This year’s client is Ocean Spray and the challenge is to drive relevancy of the brand for millennials across both food and beverages.
Hayley Banas is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Psychology.
Myla Borden is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Graphic Design.
Mary Charles Byers is an Advertising major on the Digital Media Strategy track with a minor in Graphic Design.
Amy Cooley is an Advertising (Strategic Brand Management) and Spanish double major.
Rita de Obarrio is an Advertising (Digital Media Strategy) and Psychology double major with a minor in Business.
Harrison Fiveash is a pre-major in Advertising interested on the Strategic Brand Management track with minors in Communications and Arts Entrepreneurship .
Anne-Marie Geisler is an Advertising major on the Digital Media Strategy track with a minor in Fashion Media.
Conrad Li is an Advertising major on the Digital Media Strategy track.
Alissa Llort is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Psychology.
Alex MacKillop is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with minors in Business and International Studies.
London Mercer is an Advertising major on the Digital Media Strategy track with a minor in Graphic Design.
Shelby Pointer is an Advertising major on the Digital Media Strategy track with a minor in Graphic Design.
Juan Reyes is a Corporate Communications and Public Affairs major with a minor in Advertising.
Sara Jane Stephens is an Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Spanish.
Sara Ann Whiteley is a Journalism major with a minor in Advertising.
Frank Zhang is an Advertising (Digital Media Strategy) and Mathematics double major.
Four team members 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 Corpus Christi, TX in April, then (if they advance) at the National level in Chicago, IL in June.
Many creative advertising students and professionals alike have a working job as a freelance designer. However, not everyone is able to turn it into a successful job outlet. TAI creative advertising student Wade Burton is currently enjoying success as a freelance designer, while balancing the hefty load of schoolwork that comes with his major.
Burton didn’t start designing with the intention to be a freelancer. After downloading Adobe Illustrator and playing around with it, he became inspired to constantly create.
“It was a very natural progression from there,” Burton said. “Friends and friends of friends started seeing this work I did, probably on my Instagram or Snapchat, and started reaching out. When labels need to be used, I prefer designer to graphic designer simply because when these people tap me for work, what I have realized they want more than my computer clicking abilities is the way I think, and that’s easily the most rewarding part of the freelance work I do.”
Through his experience freelancing, Burton has become firm in his viewpoint of creativity and creative work. He prefers to take a less mainstream approach to his work for clients.
“My learning experiences freelancing are also fairly nontraditional as far as I understand the industry,” Burton said. “[TAI] Professor Mendenhall once spoke to 99% of graphic design work being able to create on the computer screen what your client dictates to you, and 1% being you executing your vision. I took this to heart, and told myself from the start that I always wanted to operate exclusively in that one percent – to the occasional chagrin of Prof. Mendenhall’s project grading rubrics. I made the conscious decision that if I ever wanted to get into design full-time, I would only do so upon being recognized for my personal style. I hold respect for graphic designers, and I hold even more respect for those who break the mold, going against the status quo and earning recognition and praise for it.”
As part of his time in the advertising program, Burton was able to be a member of SMU’s 2016 NSAC Ad Team. Through the Ad Team experience got a glimpse of what it’s like to work under the guidance of superiors.
“Ad Team taught me how to exercise humility and practice respect for authority,” Burton said. “Working under a boss is a subject that my freelance work never really broached on, because I always maintained total control of the product until the contract’s completion. Additionally, Ad Team taught me how rewarding a project’s journey to completion can be once you see it entirely through. Even in summer internships, that feeling of completion is frequently lacking. In the agency world, it can take months or even longer for something like a TV spot to go from project brief to production to airing. Ad Team provided a complete experience of this lifecycle in a single semester, even if it didn’t end on a nationally displayed television commercial.”
TAI’s Creative Advertising program has taught Burton a lot about the creative world, especially the many different approaches to creativity and how to apply that in the advertising industry.
“Temerlin’s Creative program has shaped the way I think about creativity as a whole,” Burton said. “Lots of people will say that you can’t be taught creativity, which I would agree with to some extent. But you can be better taught how to think creatively. Thanks to Mark [Professor Allen] and Willie [Professor Baronet], I have learned to take in everything as inspiration. Whether it’s inspiration for what not to do, or work that I wish I had come up with, I have learned a greater appreciation for everything artistic because sources of inspiration come from all over. Mark and Willie have also taught me the importance of creating good advertising work. Their constant feedback and willingness to help and see us succeed pushes me to always create the best work possible. These are people who I didn’t really know two years ago, and now would be ashamed of disappointing by doing anything short of excelling in this creative program.”
Burton is currently an art direction intern at McCann Humancare, a health subsidiary of McCann New York, where he’s been able to put his creativity to the test.
“It’s a pretty common industry stigma to work in health, or pharma as most people will call it,” Burton said. “So I learned quickly to get over that because worrying about other people’s negative opinions of your job can really slow you down and there’s no time for that, especially when you’re working in NYC. I’ve also come to learn that of the most exciting aspects of working ‘pharma’ is that the extensive restrictions breed creative excellence. The second week that I was here, the McCann Health network swept the floor at Cannes, heading home with 25 Lions. Suffice to say, any lingering fears of having to do mundane work subsided upon receipt of that announcement.”
All of his experiences, both school and work-related, have truly helped shape him as a person and guide him towards having a successful career while leading a healthy lifestyle.
“I believe that all of my experiences speak directly to my strengths of independence and adaptability,” Burton said. “Living in New York City is not easy, especially going into a creative field. Being able to live comfortably on my own and constantly roll with the punches has prepared me for life after graduation. I think independence is something extremely undervalued and under-taught. Having friends and a burgeoning social life is fantastic and undeniably necessary to personal health, but finding your own way in this transition out of college into the workforce doesn’t happen if you exclusively live other people’s lives with them and are afraid to be independent.”
With their first workshop completed, SMU’s NSAC Ad Team has begun their work toward creating a campaign for Tai Pei Frozen Asian Foods. SMU’s Ad Team is broken up into four smaller teams: Creative, Strategy/Planning, Media & Research, and Account. Each team is headed by a team leader, who was chosen by Ad Team manager Professor Amber Benson. With Ad Team beginning, the four team leaders shared their expectations for what this semester will hold for them.
Laura Walsh, Executive Creative Director – Creative Team
“I am extremely optimistic for Ad Team this year. There’s so much talent in each area of the team. It won’t always be easy, but I am confident that we can use one another’s strengths and talents as well as Professor Benson’s experience to really succeed in April. As far as creative, I’m excited to see what we can do and how far we can push the envelope with Tai Pei as a client.”
Nicholas McCall, Strategy & Planning Director – Strategy & Planning Team
“I’m really looking forward to working with the members of the Ad Team. We’ve got an incredibly talented group of people with majors ranging from Digital Advertising to Marketing. Everyone has their own unique abilities that they are bringing to the table. It will be awesome to see how we are able to leverage those skills to develop the best possible advertising campaign for Tai Pei!”
Gifford Mellick, Research & Media Director – Research & Media Team
“I’m really excited to be a part of Ad Team this year, there are so many smart and talented people participating! We all want to do really well and I know all of the discipline leaders are super excited to work with our teams. Our client this year is very interesting and in a category that doesn’t get talked about that much. I can’t wait to see what our team comes up with in terms of research, strategy and creative. We have a pretty big group so I know a ton of great ideas are going to come out of this project. I really want to make it to nationals, getting out of our district will be tough but I believe our team and resources that we have at TAI and SMU will be a big advantage.”
Lex Pedraza, Group Account Director – Account Team
“I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Ad Team experience. With the new organizational structure put in place by Professor Benson this year you can definitely feel a renewed sense of excitement from the entire team. I truly believe this year we have the smartest, most creative and most dedicated students on our team and I’m looking forward to winning it all this year!”
From a leadership perspective, everyone has a positive outlook going into this semester. Ad Team will present their integrated marketing communications plan at the AAF District 10 Convention, ADVENTION, on Wednesday, April 5 in Fort Worth, Texas. The winning team(s) from each district will advance to the semi-finals competition in early May. Eight finalists will then compete for the national title at the annual ADMERICA conference, which will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana in early June. TAI is confident in Ad Team’s abilities and cannot wait to see what they come up with.
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.
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.”
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.
“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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.