TAI Students Work with Executives from Black Eye

Black Eye, a design and marketing communications agency, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. Founded in 1997 by SMU alumnus Chris Stewart (’95, ’97), the agency works for a wide range of clients–from national, blue-chip companies to small local businesses.

(Left to Right, Front Row): Morgan Martin, Black Eye, Black Eye founder Chris Stewart, Glen Gauthier, Black Eye Creative Director, Hank Benzenberg, Black Eye, TAI Advertising Professor Willie Baronet, (Far Left Corner) TAI Advertising Professor Mark Allen, shown with SMU Advertising Students at the Advanced Portfolio Critique and workshop held Monday, October 2, 2017.

To help mark their anniversary, the creative team from Black Eye took the afternoon and evening of October 2 to work with SMU advertising students. Coordinated through SMU Advertising Professors Mark Allen and Willie Baronet, they first assisted in an Advanced Portfolio Critique and later provided an in-depth look at their company and agency-life during a workshop.

“There is nothing like ‘real world’ experience and stories to get our students excited and motivated about their careers,” TAI Professor Willie Baronet said. “Black Eye did a fantastic job of sharing their work, creative approach, and how they got where they are. The students and faculty really enjoyed and appreciated their time and wisdom.”

Black Eye provided food and beverages at the event, which was attended by approximately 25 TAI students. Students were especially interested in advice from creative professionals how to set their portfolios apart, and the differences between working in larger agencies versus smaller studios.

“We’ve never had an entire firm close up shop so they could bring the whole creative team over,” TAI Professor Mark Allen said. “I know our students really appreciated it.”

“We wanted to take a break from our day-to-day, reflect on everything that’s transpired over the last 20 years and give back a little to the University where it all started,” Steward said. “We really enjoyed the experience of working with the students and think they will have bright opportunities.”

The students at Temerlin Advertising Institute greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet and work with creative professionals in the industry.

TAI Sponsors AAF Dallas Shining Stars

Tuesday June 13, Temerlin Advertising Institute attended AAF Dallas’ Shining Stars Award Luncheon as the presenting sponsor of the event. The event honored twenty women in the Dallas advertising industry who have incredible ambition, work ethic, creativity, and leadership.

TAI was proud to be the presenting sponsor of this inaugural event and honor these extraordinary women in our local industry.

“AAF’s 2017 Shining Stars possess a range and depth of experience that is truly impressive,” TAI Professor Peter Noble said. “They are literally stars in the advertising business. They are also ideal role models for our students. SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute is proud to sponsor this important celebration of their achievements.”

The event was just one of many partnerships that Temerlin Advertising Institute is a part of in the Dallas area.

“The Institute strongly believes in supporting, rewarding, and recognizing advertising executives and are proud to sponsor this event,” TAI Director Steve Edwards said. “We are involved with industry organizations like AAF Dallas to help support future colleagues. We’re happy to help the AAF build industry in our market in any way we can.”

Click here to view this year’s Shining Star Recipients.

TAI 2016-2017 Student Awards

It’s been a wonderful year here at Temerlin Advertising Institute. With so many creative, industry, and SMU awards earned by our students, we could not be prouder. Along with external awards, we’ve recognized some of our students who go above and beyond what is required of them. Below are all the awards, external and internal, earned by our students during the 2016-2017 academic year.

INDUSTRY:

TAI Assistant Director Amy Dahmann and TAI Team Player Award Winner Matthew Smyth

4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) – Idara Akpan

AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student – Marisol Moran-Sendra & Sofia Rosell

AAF American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) – Helen Rieger, Jackson Foley, Liz Martinelli, Morgan Hoff, Samantha Butz, Tiffan Giraudon

AAF Stickell Internship – Alex Gurasich

Advertising Education Foundation of Houston Scholarship – Matthew Smyth, Gyeryeong Kim

Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) Dallas Irene Runnels-Paula McStay Scholarship – Rita De Obarrio

DFW Interactive Marketing Association Scholarship – Rita De Obarrio

DSVC National Show Best Print Advertising Campaign & Best Copy – Morgan Hoff & Tanner Thompson

SMU:

TAI Professor Muralidharan, Assistant Director Amy Dahmann, and TAI Donald Carty Leadership Award Recipient Jessica Giraudon

SMU Mortar Board Top 10 Sophomore – Jolie Guz

Engaged Learning Project – Samantha Butz

Hunt Scholar – Jessica Giraudon

TAI Student Marshal at Graduation – Paige Brown

TAI Undergraduate Reader at Graduation – Tanner Thompson

TAI:

TAI Anchor Award – Julia Christen, Kelsi Jiang

TAI Donald John Carty Leadership Award – Jessica Giraudon

Face of TAI Award – Marisol Moran-Sendra, Tanner Thompson

TAI Optimizer Award – Helen Rieger

TAI Professor Mark Allen and TAI Resilience Award Recipient Laura Walsh

TAI Outstanding Academic Achievement in Creative – Helen Rieger

TAI Outstand Academic Achievement in Digital – Paige Brown

TAI Outstanding Academic Achievement in Strategic Brand Management – Marison Moran-Sendra

TAI Outstanding Graduate Student – Lauren Lombardo

TAI Resilience Award – Laura Walsh

TAI Responsibility Award – Idara Akpan, Rachel Kainer

TAI Service Award – Ryan Blitzer

TAI Team Player Award – Matthew Smyth

HONOR SOCIETIES:

Alpha Delta Sigma – Amy Cooley, Bari Kesner, Gifford Mellick, Greyeong Kim, Helen Rieger, Jessica Giraudon, Joanna Fennessey, Julia Christen, Laura Walsh, London Mercer, Marisol Moran-Sendra, Matthew Smyth, Nicholas McCall, Paige Brown, Rachel Kainer, Tiffany Giraudon

TAI Alpha Delta Sigma Honor Society Members

Kappa Tau Alpha – Arden Leone, Marisonl Moran-Sendra, Mustafiz Rahman, Paige Brown, Samantha Butz

TAI Hosts Visiting Scholar Dr. Grace Ahn for Lecture on Virtual Interactions

Dr. Ahn starting her lecture.

Thursday April 13, Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a lecture by Visiting Scholar Dr. Grace Ahn, assistant professor at University of Georgia. Dr. Ahn discussed her research, “Virtual Interactions that Impact Physical Behaviors: Applications in Consumer Psychology and Health Contexts,” with many SMU students and faculty attending the event.

“I was very intrigued by Dr. Ahn’s research on virtual environments and how the interaction between virtual and actual reality can provide benefits to one’s personal health, education, and the natural environment,” TAI Professor Sidharth Muralidharan said. “We were fortunate to have Dr. Ahn make the trip to Dallas and discuss her cutting-edge research. ”

Through her research study, Dr. Ahn assesses how interactive digital media transform traditional rules of communication and social interactions, looking at how virtual experiences shape the way people think, feel, and behave in the physical world.

“Dr. Grace Ahn’s cutting-edge research is of major importance to a wide variety of fields,” TAI Professor Peter Noble said. “Her ability to convey the essence of her research into virtual reality and its application to the real world made it both accessible and understandable.”

Her ongoing work includes a NSF funded project exploring the application of virtual agents to promote STEM learning for children in informal learning environments, such as children’s museums. Her work has been published in a number of flagship outlets, including Journal of Advertising, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Communication Research, Journal of Health Communication, Human-Computer Interaction, and Media Psychology.

Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to host Dr. Ahn for a lecture on her research. TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting guest speakers periodically throughout the year.

TAI Professor Suzanne Larkin Shares Experience Creating Program to Aid Learning in Children with Dyslexia

Since graduate school, TAI Professor Suzanne Larkin has had a relationship with Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and prototyped a program to aid learning for children with dyslexia. Professor Larkin got her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communication from Texas A&M Commerce (downtown Dallas), a program that combines Curriculum Development, Design Research, and Business.

TAI Professor Larkin

“My inspiration came from a challenge as I was acquiring an MFA,” Professor Larkin said. “The challenge was to connect with a ‘giant’ and create something that could benefit them, and do what we call ‘move the needle,’ which means collect data that shows efficacy of what we do as visual communicators. In that challenge I kind of conducted a search, like what people do for thesis topic development. And that started with talking to others to find problems in major organizations where visual narratives or visual solutions could be beneficial. So part of my talking to people came out of tools that we use in the creative industry, like mind maps. I created maps to focus on who to talk to, and in which organizations. I kept running into the same response, and that was that children with dyslexia don’t have enough of the proper resources to help them grow at early diagnosis point, like 2nd and 3rd grade. I was inspired because I love to have fun in my work, and I like to do whimsical concepts. I used to design greeting cards. I’ve done radio, broadcast, outdoor, print. I’ve done it all in my career. So I thought this was a great opportunity to touch a target audience and provide something that hopefully benefits them.”

The Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is the organization that formulated the first definition of dyslexia, allowing children to be evaluated and diagnosed. When Professor Larkin initially reached out to Scottish Rite, she received a response within 20 minutes, leading her to believe that there was a real need for help.

“I met with Karen Avrit, who is the Education Director,” Professor Larkin said. “We got together during therapy time and talked about what the patients were doing. I asked ‘Why are the children trying to read stories from text when they have reading challenges? Have they ever seen these stories?’ Of course, I’m thinking about this as a visual communicator because pictures say a lot. Karen thought that was a valid question since they didn’t have a visual representation of the fluency stories.”

At that point Ms. Avrit and Professor Larkin realized that there could be a way of using visual narrative to help in teaching punctuation.

“Their fluency program already has a brand called ‘Take Flight,’” Professor Larkin said. “So I thought, if I’m going to create intellectual property for the punctuation, I’ll need to give it a brand too. And of course I got really excited, because I love to create brands. Then I started thinking about color, typography, style of graphics, and on and on.”

Ellah’s Tools Logo

From there Professor Larkin developed Ellah’s Tools. Ellah, standing for Experiential Language Learning At Home, could act as an at-home supplement to “Take Flight,” a fluency program developed by the Center for Dyslexia.

“Karen asked me if there was a way to allow parents access to the tools so they could use them at home for supplementing what was being done during therapy time at school,” Professor Larkin said.

Professor Larkin did extensive research and concepting in the process of creating Ellah’s Tools. She had to find a way to animate and teach six basic punctuation marks to children with learning differences, in a way that would keep them engaged.

“Just like with branding, when things are always the same sometimes consumers get tired of it,” Professor Larkin said. “So of course these consumers would be second and third grade children so I want to make it exciting. Every week I gave them a different genre. The comma is based on blues. And I thought, okay, who is someone that inspires me when it comes to blues; well that was BB King. So the song was the style of BB King’s music.”

Throughout the creation process, Professor Larkin never had any sort of budget. She used a combination of her own talents, friends’ talents, and purchasing inexpensive stock music to create prototypes. She used Garage Band to create and edit the music, and Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Flash to create the final product.

Storyboard for Ellah’s Tools

“One of my Professors at Texas A&M actually has a blues band,” Professor Larkin said. “They’ve been around for years, and so Bill Ford was gracious to sing the lyrics for the comma. And sang it in his style to music that sounded like typical BB King blues. Because I don’t have a budget, I used a high definition recorder that I purchased. And we recorded in closets and small office spaces, so that there was limited echo. All of that came together in Flash and what we decided to do was instead of flushing out everything at the beginning, because it’s research…and things change, we thought…let’s do it in segments.”

Ellah’s Tools is designed to be a visual curriculum that reinforces what students learn in therapy. In creating the first prototype, Professor Larkin got parents involved through solicitation with therapists at schools in Wiley, Texas. Each week, she gave the therapists a package that include a DVD for parents to use at home and games to go along with the fluency stories.

“Parents were excited to participate. One parent told me that her daughter kept reminding her not to miss the meeting! I met with them for coaching on how to use the prototypes that we were putting together,” Professor Larkin said. “One of the stories was about different types of animals on a farm, so I [created] a scavenger hunt [game]. Another story was about some kids at the beach, so I created a word and image match game. The parents had that to play with alongside a list of prompts that they could use to excite their kids, what kind of conditions that the environment should be in when the kids are interacting with the tools for best case scenario.”

Professor Larkin was able to get feedback from the parents as well as the therapists collecting data. She created a pre- and a post-test for the therapists to evaluate the students. Both tested students not only on their fluency, but on prosody, and their comprehension of punctuation.

“The post-test revealed encouraging data,” Professor Larkin said. “All of the students showed improvement in their reading abilities and comprehension in at least one area. That was really exciting for what it meant to have children experience learning in a different way. It was multi-sensory and reinforced their therapy at home but in a fun way. When the study was done the parents participated in a survey on Survey Monkey. The feedback was great.”

Professor Larkin is hopeful for the future of design research. Last semester she met with the Budd Center at SMU, looking for the potential of sharing the punctuation prototypes with public schools in Dallas. She is also waiting to hear back from a unique school in Dallas that was created specifically for children with learning differences.

“My hope is that there is a way to be able to share these tools, and create more,” Professor Larkin said. “Right now there still isn’t a budget, so that means grant writing, begging, and convincing. I think visual narratives can assist all learning styles.”

 

TAI Hosts Visiting Scholar Dr. C.W. Park for Lecture on Brand Attachment

Monday March 20, the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a lecture by Visiting Scholar Dr. C. W Park, marketing professor at University of Southern California. Dr. Park discussed his research, “Brand Attachment: Theory and Practice,” with many SMU students and faculty attending the event. Through his research, Dr. Park assesses levels of brand attachment and how brands can attempt to achieve a strong consumer relationship.

“We all know that consumers trust and love products that meet their needs and provide a pleasing experience,” SMU MBA Candidate Kenneth Ryan said. “But Dr. Park helped complete the picture by elaborating on the growing importance of developing brand identities whose values match the consumers’ values. His chat at SMU gave students and faculty a glimpse into this growing field of marketing research.”

Dr. C.W. Park lecturing to audience of SMU students and faculty.

In his lecture, Dr. Park discusses the “3 E’s,” which are different types of benefits a brand can provide to consumers to develop trust, love, and respect for the brand. The “3 E’s” include enabling benefits, enticing benefits, and enriching benefits.

“I really liked Dr. Park’s presentation when he talked about the 3 E’s regarding brand attachment, especially Enriching benefits for customers,” TAI graduate student Phuong Nguyen said. “It’s hard enough to reach out to people these days and sell your products, and it’s even harder to provide them with inspiration and create a long-lasting relationship. I’m sure Dr. Park’s research paper will tell more about how brand attachment has a strong impact on the survival of the brand. These are very interesting and compelling ideas for brands that want to enter a new market.”

Dr. Park has published numerous articles in Journal of Marketing ResearchJournal of Consumer ResearchJournal of Marketing, and Journal of Consumer Psychology. He has also co-authored several books on marketing and brand management. Dr. Park was Editor of Journal of Consumer Psychology (2008-2012) and is currently the Director of the Global Branding Center at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California (2008-present).

In addition, he was an advisor for Samsung from 1989 to 1998 and also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Samsung Corporation from 2001 to 2010. In addition, he has been serving as advisor for Pulmuone Corporation since 1993. He has been running and teaching a number of marketing executive programs at Marshall since 1998.

Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to host Dr. Park for a lecture on his research. TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting guest speakers periodically throughout the year.

ExxonMobil Lecture Series: “Signs of Humanity” Screening

Tuesday, February 28, the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a public screening and Q&A of documentary “Signs of Humanity” at the Angelika Film Center as part of its 2017 ExxonMobil Lecture Series.

Professor Baronet talking to Jennifer and Jesse, a homeless couple in Seattle.

“Signs of Humanity” is a documentary film created by TAI Professor Willie Baronet. The film explores themes of home, homelessness, compassion and humanity as Professor Baronet and his team travel the country collecting over 200 homeless signs and interviewing over 100 people on the streets.

“The event on Tuesday evening really opened my eyes to the important work that Willie is doing, and how many people are willing to help him,” SMU student Dalya Romaner said. “The documentary was beautiful, and I feel that everyone watching it could connect to some aspect of it, whether it was one person he interviewed, or a reason for his project, or even a city he visited. Let’s just say, I now look up to Willie not only as a professor, but as a human being, and a change maker in a world desperately needing change.”

Each year TAI hosts lectures and events as part of the ExxonMobil Lecture Series. The series is one of many ways that TAI advocates its motto “Better Advertising. Better World.” This lectures series helps to promote advertising, media and corporate ethics by hosting events to discuss varying ethical topics that can be related to advertising.

Crowd at the screening event.

“We are so pleased to recognize the creative work of Professor Baronet,” Steven Edwards, Director of the Temerlin Advertising Institute, said. “Offering the public an opportunity to view ‘Signs of Humanity,’ recognize important supporters of the project, and create a space to spur on the conversation about homelessness is part of our larger mission to positively impact our community.”

Many TAI students, as well as faculty and local industry professionals, attended the event. The night started off with a reception and networking, followed by a brief recognition of documentary creator and producers, the screening of the film, and finally a Q&A with Professor Baronet and other producers of the documentary.

“Willie and his filmmakers did a great job of providing an open-minded glimpse into the world of homelessness nationwide,” Romaner said. “They didn’t come in with preconceived notions, they treated everyone as humans, not as homeless people, and it was beautiful to watch. I really feel that it gave everyone an idea of something small we can all do to help the homeless community around us, even as small as acknowledging that they are humans too. I think the most important takeaway from the film, the event, and Willie himself, is that we need to see everyone as people going through their own struggles, and it’s that commonality that gives us the chance to connect so the world is not made up of ‘us vs. them.’”

From left to right: Professor Baronet, Director Tim Chumley, Producer Judy Burch Gass, Producer Eamon Downey

Professor Baronet is doing important work to shine a light on homelessness. The event was an opportunity for the entire faculty and Professor Baronet’s students to celebrate what has been his two-year journey to film, edit, and showcase his project. This work has provided learning opportunities for students to reflect on the intersection of art, advertising, film-making, and creative expression in a persuasive context.

“I loved when Willie said in the film that the sign exhibit isn’t about him, it’s about the people he’s doing this for,” TAI alum Mallory Ashcraft said. “As a writer and former advertising student of Willie’s, I related to that inner dialogue, and I was so inspired by the fact that he tells the story of the homeless very honestly. I think everyone needs to see this film, because it showed me that we can all do more to emotionally support the homeless individuals in our communities and cities.”

“Signs of Humanity” is the product of a larger, ongoing art project, WE ARE ALL HOMELESS, which began when Willie purchased his first homeless sign in 1993. The project’s mission is to create a more compassionate world by creating awareness and provoking conversations about people on the streets, and inspiring others to find and implement solutions to the many causes of homelessness.

Learn more about WE ARE ALL HOMELESS and their Impact Campaign here.

TAI Hosts Portfolio Night for Creative Advertising Students

Attendees at the event.

Wednesday, December 7, TAI hosted a Portfolio Night & Exhibition to display the work of creative advertising majors in both Concepting and Advanced Portfolio classes. The event was held in SMU’s Owen Arts Center and was attended by over 100 people. The night started off with an opening reception and exhibition viewing followed by a portfolio review.

During the portfolio review, DFW-area industry professionals from over 15 agencies reviewed the students’ creative work. Industry reviewers at the event included Amanda Fowler, The Richards Group; Randall Kenworthy, TM; Gus Granger, 70kft; Jason Shipp, Moroch; Kevin Sutton, Moroch; Matt Lindner, Moroch; Zack Ward, Johnson & Sekin; Kent Johnson, Johnson & Sekin; David Wilgus, The Launch Agency; Anna Lee Doughtie, TracyLocke; Arturo Lee, Dieste; Jose Benitez, Dieste; Raul Mendez, Dieste; Greg Hunter, Firehouse; Michelle Sensale, The Richards Group; Abraham Campillo, The Richards Group; Rob Wilson, Illustrator / Designer; Alan Lidji, Lidji Design Office; Keisha Whaley, LDWWgroup; Jim Sykora, Willow St. Agency; Larry Johannes, Willow St. Agency; Mallory Massa, 3 Headed Monster; Blake Cleavenger, 3 Headed Monster; Travis Hanson, 3 Headed Monster; Ken Koester, KoesterDesign; Ky Lewis, Infinite Agency; Jordan Spencer, Infinite Agency.

Some of the work featured at the event.

“The most common thing I heard from our reviewers over the course of the night was that the work was really strong and only seemed to be getting better and better,” TAI Lecturer and Creative Professor Mark Allen said. “After seeing the work in the exhibition and the portfolio review, I had several agencies ask for recommendations for internships and full-time creative positions. My favorite thing about the whole event is getting to watch the faces of my students light up as they finally get to see their work displayed in an art gallery full of creative professionals who are visibly impressed with what’s on the wall—this is the moment when they understand why I push them so hard; why all the late nights and the seemingly endless rounds of changes are worth it.”

Several of the reviewers were also SMU and TAI alums, which provides students with a familiar perspective and encouragement about where they could be in the future. It also serves as a special experience for the alums themselves.

“Getting a chance to sit on the other side of the SMU portfolio review was quite an experience,” TAI alum and Art Director at Dieste Arturo Lee (MA ’14) said. “Seems like it was only yesterday I was having my book evaluated. The only thing that has changed since then is the level of talent, which [has] gone up exponentially. Can’t wait to see what next semester’s students are able to come up with.”

At the end of the night, Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, Willie Baronet, and Mark Allen presented awards to students who had particularly positive reviews and creative work. The student awards include:

Best Concept – Tiffany Giraudon & Caroline Moss, Bumble

Best Art Direction – Helen Rieger & Tiffany Giraudon, Hypnotic Donuts (campaign) and Morgan Hoff & Caroline Moss, Converse Chuck II Poster (single)

Best Copywriting – Nicki Fletcher & Jennifer Nelson, Lotrimin

Best Graphic Design (TIE) – Sam Butz (Cookie Cottage, Zero Gravity and personal branding projects) and Tanner Thompson (Hotel California and NASA Interplanetary Missions posters)

Best Video/Commercial – Tanner Thompson & Sofie Rosell, Anonymous

Best Digital/Non-traditional – Laura Walsh & Christina Skertchly, 1-800-GOT-JUNK App

Best Overall – Tanner Thompson & Morgan Hoff, Dallas Grilled Cheese, Co.

Students Morgan Hoff and Tanner Thompson with their awards.

“It was really rewarding to see all of the student’s hard work being shown off at Portfolio Night,” TAI creative advertising student Morgan Hoff said. “I couldn’t believe how many people came to see our work! It was also a great way to show my friends and family what I’m passionate about. The feedback I received from industry professionals was really valuable too, because it helps me improve my work and helps me understand what agencies are looking for when they are reviewing portfolios. Overall, it was a really exciting event.”

SMU’s Inaugural Digital Accelerator Program

Entrepreneurship in Dallas is catching on like wildfire. Even Fortune 500s like AT&T are seeking a start-up culture to drive innovation. Innovation is great but must be managed effectively for business to succeed. Ever-changing technology landscapes and customer expectations means firms must understand how to harness these changes and create new valuable customer experiences that will thrive in the digital world.

Designed to meet the increasing demand for digital skills, the SMU Digital Accelerator trains working professionals in the skills needed to make sense of the complexity of real-world interactions and to apply what is learned to increase ROI within their company/organization. The Temerlin Advertising Institute’s first offering of the SMU Digital Accelerator was held at SMU-in-Plano November 14-17.

“We are pleased with the results of the inaugural Digital Accelerator program,” Managing Director of the SMU Digital Accelerator program Eric Greenberg said. “The feedback from the 30 executives who attended was very positive, and many firms have signed up for additional seats for the Winter and Spring sessions. While we are glad that the experience during the program was positive and getting repeat customers is fantastic, we are looking forward to following our alumni as they implement the ideas generated during the session back at their firm.”

The program had 30 participants representing 19 different companies. Most participants serve as directors/managers within their firm’s marketing/advertising, development or operations division(s). The four full-day in-person program provided interdisciplinary and hands on learning in eight topics: digital strategy, customer experience, design thinking, digital marketing, social media, driving innovation, big data, and digital transformation. Industry subject matter experts facilitated each module. The stand-out module that was a hit among participants was design thinking.

“We are also delighted with the caliber of senior thought leaders who participated as faculty for our inaugural program,” Greenberg said. “For example, Nicki Purcell, the Chief Digital Officer at the Dallas Morning News, did an outstanding job leading executives from firms such as Salesforce.com, Fedex, Cisco, AT&T, and Ericsson, through the design thinking module. Engaging them with hands-on exercises, they learned the tools and principles of design thinking generating innovative ideas to take back to their firms. We are privileged to have business leaders like Nicki as part of our faculty team, who are not only experts on the topics, but also bring real world experiences to share with the class.”

Some of the participants’ testimonials are featured below in a video about the Digital Accelerator.

For more information on the SMU Digital Accelerator program or to register for the next session, visit our website.

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.