In the program capstone course, Advertising Campaigns, our senior students showcase their accumulated knowledge through an intensive practical exercise. Working in small agency groups, they vie for the new business of a client. The client is real, in the room and judging their performance. The problems and the budgets are real. Students investigate, plan, develop strategies, create integrated marketing campaigns and solve clients’ advertising problems. We’ve worked with brands such as American Airlines, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Glidden, Nokia, Rockfish, Kinko’s, Hyundai, Postal Vault, Toyota Matrix, Bank of America, Waste Management, Wingstop and FLA USA.
Praise from one of last semester’s class clients below…
May 16, 2018
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for the marvelous work you and your students did on the marketing campaign for Cox Insurance. I am thrilled with the results. All of the campaigns went beyond my expectations and “hit it out of the ballpark.” At the beginning of the project, you said that no client had ever been disappointed with the results and I am certainly no exception. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a client being more happy than I am with the results.
All of the campaigns had useful information—some more than others—but the beauty of your method for teaching the students is that the competition generates an overall product which surely goes far beyond what would be possible otherwise. In other words, the whole project is a brilliant conception, and that redounds to you.
It was very hard to pick a winner since all of the campaigns were extremely well conceived and dug deep into the market. Red Chair’s winning campaign centered squarely on the reason why I started Cox Insurance in the first place, which is to save people time and give them the respect in the marketplace that such hard-working people deserve but have never had.
Again, thank you so much for helping me find the “nuggets” among Cox’s demographics. I know that we have to pick a project winner and that’s why I’m writing, but let’s be clear—I’m the real winner here—and I know it.
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.
Can Agency Culture Foster an Ethical Mindset? by TAI Professor Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan
Business ethics can be broadly defined as a brand’s moral obligations to their stakeholders, employees, consumers, competition, and society at large. Ethics operates at a higher plane than law and motivates brands to think beyond just meeting the minimal legal requirements. In advertisements, ethical considerations can manifest by providing honest and truthful information about products and services, by not being offensive, or culturally distasteful. Being in a position of influence, the expectation for a brand to abide by a moral code can never be perceived as a choice but a duty. This moral duty rests not only in the hands of the advertiser but also the hired advertising agency.
The ad agency is an organization where the blending of business and creativity occurs seamlessly. In such a competitive environment where both advertisers and agencies are driven by the motive of earning more profits, the emphasis placed on ethics, unfortunately, diminishes. Lapses in ethical judgment can negatively impact the brand in terms of lower sales, negative brand image, and can end the relationship between the agency and the client. For example, in 1991 Volvo and its agency Scali, McCabe, Sloves Inc. of New York was each fined $150,000 for their deceptive ad. The commercial depicted a monster truck that ran over a line of cars, and the only car to survive was a Volvo station wagon. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found the ad to be deceptive because the body of the Volvo was specially strengthened to withstand the impact and a regular Volvo was not equipped with a similar shell. Knowing that the demonstration did not truly represent the product, the agency still decided to move forward with the campaign, posing an ethical lapse. Granted, agencies are under the influence of their clients but the question remains, can an agency still come out with a creative ad that is both effective and morally sound?
The answer is yes. To overcome such setbacks, agencies need to foster a culture of ethics and responsibility. This should be initiated from the very top, where, leaders are setting an example and having employees not only be a part but also take ownership of the culture. A good example could be the agency ‘Enviromedia’ based in Austin, TX. The main mission of the agency is to make the world a better place to live in and help brands make profits. Championing this vision is the CEO and Founder – Valerie Salinas-Davis, who has created strategies for campaigns such as “Don’t Mess with Texas” and the eco-friendly Nissan Leaf, to name a few. Being a B-Corporation, the agency has set high standards to achieve both social and environmental goals. As per their website, the agency has contributed $1 million in pro-bono work and volunteer time to different charities. The agency headquarters has sustainable features like solar panels and water saving functionalities, while employees recycle and use recycled materials. Enviromedia is selective of who they work with, making sure their culture and values align with their clients and is propagated through the campaigns they create. From the causes they support to providing employees with paid time off, Enviromedia has shown that their belief system can foster an ethical mindset. If the industry is filled with more agencies that have a strong moral compass then it helps put pressure back onto brands to achieve their bottom line through ethical channels.
Friday February 23, Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a lecture by Visiting Scholar Dr. Sukki Yoon, associate marketing professor at Bryant University. Dr. Yoon discussed his research, “Slow Versus Fast: How Speed-Induced Construal Affects Perceptions of Advertising Messages,” with many SMU students, faculty and staff attending the lecture.
Through his research studies, Dr. Yoon addresses fundamental questions of consumer behavior: why and how people react to marketing communications. His research centers on Consumer Behavior but he is also interested in Branding, Integrated Marketing Communication, Consumer Psychology, International Advertising, Digital Marketing and Social Marketing.
Dr. Yoon provided a report of results of five studies investigating construals arising from the pace of commercials, which then affects consumers’ perceptions and responses.
“Dr. Sukki Yoon’s research provides important theoretical extensions to the construal level theory. It demonstrates that the speed of media stimulus can influence consumers’ cognitive processing. The findings offer useful information for the design and placement of advertising messages,” TAI Professor Dr. Yan Huang said.
Studies 1, 2, and 3 provide empirical evidence showing that slow-moving objects generate high-level construals and fast-moving objects generate low-level construals.
Studies 2 and 3 demonstrate that TV commercials featuring slow-moving objects will prompt high-level construals, which induces consumer preferences for desirability advertising appeals that emphasize product benefits and quality. Whereas TV commercials featuring fast-moving objects will prompt low-level construals and cause consumer preferences for feasibility advertising appeals that emphasize product benefits attributes and price.
Studies 4 and 5 demonstrate the same results when the same commercial is run slowly and rapidly.
“Dr. Sukki Yoon’s lecture was very interesting in terms of how he connected a science theory with advertising. How fast pace music could speed up the path to purchase to process in stores, and how slow pace music can make people think more of their purchase before buying. His lecture was very well-spoken and simplified,” SMU student Chase Drexler said.
Dr. Yoon studies advertising and consumer behavior and has published articles in many international journals, served on editorial boards, and written columns for newspapers and magazines. He has previously taught advertising at Cleveland State University and has lectured as a visiting scholar at Grey Worldwide, Harvard, Sookmyung, Dongguk, and UNIST.
Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to host Dr. Yoon 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.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 TAI hosted “Navigating the Belief Economy” with David Baldwin at the Angelika Film Center.
Each year TAI hosts lectures and events, as part of the ExxonMobil Lecture Series, to promote corporate and advertising ethics. This series is one of many ways that TAI advocates its motto “Better Advertising. Better World.”
Baldwin is the founder of Baldwin&, a Raleigh, N.C.-based company that was named Small Agency of the Year twice in its first five years by Ad Age and the 4A’s. The former chairman of the One Club in NYC, Baldwin was also an executive producer for the Emmy-winning film Art & Copy, and an associate producer for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning film The Loving Story. His advertising has been recognized by The One Show, Cannes, D&AD, the Clios, the Effies, the Andy Awards, the MPA Kellys, Communication Arts and more.
At this year’s ExxonMobil Lecture Series, Baldwin shared insights about The Belief Economy and discussed the power of a belief-driven brand, the era of consumerism, shared beliefs, giving back to society, and more. A Belief Driven Brand is a brand that stands for something bigger than what they do “by attaching profit to the simple idea of making good things happen for people, we can transform the world,” Baldwin explained.
In case you missed the event, you can learn more about “Baldwin&” here, and obtain a copy of his new acclaimed book The Belief Economy: How to Give a Damn, Stop Selling, and Create Buy-In here.
TAI Professor Mark Allen was one of six local advertising professionals to act as a judge for the BBB Serving North Central Texas’s video contest. Students from seven local high schools created 1-minute PSAs about BBB’s services to illustrate the contest theme, “Be Smart. Be Informed,” to North Texas consumers.
Students from local high schools Berkner High School, Booker T. Washington High School, Lagrone Advanced Technology Complex, Lincoln High School, New Tech High School @Coppell, Richardson High School, and Rockwall High School were selected to participate in the competition because of their strong film, journalism, and audio video production programs.
“I was totally blown away by the talent of the students and the advanced capabilities of the winning high school programs—in fact, I had a hard time believing that these were just high school students,” Professor Allen said. “I was equally impressed with the teachers I met from Richardson High School, Berkner High School and New Tech High School in Coppell. I have been talking with all three since the competition and we are making plans to have their students visit SMU to discuss opportunities for collaboration between our students in the future. I’m hoping some of these students might consider applying to TAI’s creative track in the future—we’d sure love to have them.”
The videos were judged on production quality, creativity, the teams’ ability to market them, and effectiveness at representing BBB. The first phase of the contest took place online. The 17 videos submitted racked up an impressive 320,259 likes on this site. The second phase of the contest took place on one of BBB|NCTX’s Facebook pages, where students were encouraged to promote the videos among their friends on Facebook.
The winning team was from New Tech High School in Coppell for their video titled, “Don’t be scammed by this guy.” Berkner High School and LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex placed in the top three. The schools of the winning teams will collectively receive $4,000 in donations to their Audio Visual programs. The students of the winning team will each receive a GoPro digital video camera and cash prizes. The winning video will be used in BBB|NCTX marketing efforts for 2018.
TAI also had an information booth at the BBB Student Video Contest Prize Ceremony on December 7.
This October, TAI Assistant Professor Dr. Eunjin (Anna) Kim traveled to San Diego to attend the 2017 Association for Consumer Research (ACR) Conference, a premier marketing conference. She presented a paper titled, “Narrative Advertising Effectiveness: The Role of Ad Relevance, Ad Vividness, and Ad Message Explicitness.”
“This project departed from a basic premise, such that it is highly unlikely that all narrative ads produce equal amount of effectiveness (e.g., positive affective responses and positive cognitive responses),” Dr. Kim said. “Nowadays, advertising plays in a very competitive attention economy where consumers’ attention span is very short like that of gold fish. Storytelling has emerged as a new currency for capturing customer hearts. Marketers and researchers have been trying to understand the power of the storytelling in order to move their customers through their branding/sales objectives. I believe my research makes a significant contribution to the topic of narrative advertising effectiveness.”
Dr. Kim has two co-authors on this project, Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan, TAI Assistant Professor, and Dr. Eunseon Kwon, Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University. A paper based on this project is currently under review at Journal of Business Research, a premier academic journal.
“I really liked this conference because it offered me an excellent opportunity to showcase my research and to meet other seasoned scholars in my research area,” Dr. Kim said. “This conference has recently started to publish the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (JACR) exploring consumer behavior topics with a thematic approach. I got some cute gifts from the journal at the conference. At the end of the conference, we visited San Diego Air & Space Museum.”
Dr. Kim has published her research in the Journal of Advertising, Marketing Letters, Psychology and Marketing, International Journal of Advertising, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Mobile Media & Communication and others. She teaches Digital Media Strategy 1, Consumer Insight and Persuasion, Strategic Brand Management 2, and Media Measurements and Metrics.
TAI Faculty are among the most productive advertising scholars worldwide. Their research interests span current industry topics of interest, including narrative advertising effectiveness, humor advertising, socially responsible advertising, and virtual product experiences, to name a few.
Below are pictures from Dr. Kim’s time in San Diego.
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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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 Assistant Professor Sidharth Muralidharan has been published in various academic journals, with five more publications forthcoming. His main research focuses are cross-cultural studies and advertising’s impact on mitigating social and environmental issues.
His most recent accepted publication is titled “‘Green’ with guilt: Assessing gender differences in ownership messaging efforts in support of England’s plastic bag charge.” The paper will be published in the Journal of Advertising Research, one of the major academic journals in the advertising field.
“There have been plastic bag ordinances where shoppers have the option of either buying plastic bags or avoiding the charge by bringing reusable bags,” Professor Muralidharan said. “One such law came into effect in England, UK. My co-author and I were interested to test the effectiveness of the law by exploring the interplay of guilt appeals in ads and gender on shoppers’ green attitudes and behavior.”
Professor Muralidharan and his co-author did a two-part study exploring gender differences in consumers’ feelings of guilt relating to reusable grocery bags in Study-1 and how each gender responded to guilt appeals in Study-2.
“Survey findings from Study-1 showed that guilt was more impactful on women and helped generate favorable green attitudes and behavior,” Professor Muralidharan said. “Based on these findings, Study-2 was designed to examine how men and women would respond to guilt appeals for green messages framed by egoistic (focus is on the self) and biospheric (focus is on the environment) concerns. Two ads were designed that elicited a moderate level of guilt related to egoistic (personal savings from bringing reusable bags) and biospheric (saving the environment by bringing reusable bags) concerns. Findings showed that egoistic concerns were more effective and that this effect was stronger for women than men.”
Professor Muralidharan believes that this research has managerial implications, saying that the UK government and green advertisers could change their messaging to appeal to egoistic values instead of emphasizing on the more typical environmental benefits.
“Guilt elicited by ads seems to motivate shoppers, especially women, to engage in pro-environmental behavior,” Professor Muralidharan said. “Using gender as a segmentation strategy, advertisers could elicit guilt by incorporating ownership messages in egoistic ads that credit shoppers for behaviors they have yet to begin (e.g., contributing to their personal savings by carrying reusable bags). For pro-environment attitudes and behavior to follow, advertisers should highlight egoistic solutions to the problem: benefits such as personal savings and positive emotions such as happiness. By doing so, advertisers will initiate coping mechanisms that allow consumers to mitigate emotional dissonance and encourage them to pursue pro-environment choices.”
Along with his research, Professor Muralidharan teaches four courses at SMU, including undergraduate (Survey of Advertising and Advertising, Society & Ethics), and graduate (Advertising as a Cultural Force and Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship) courses.
“Ethics lacks importance in both college curriculum and the advertising industry,” Professor Muralidharan said. “On reading past student evaluations, I can say that my greatest accomplishment is when our students at the end of the semester realize the value of ethics and social responsibility in advertising.”
Research is a passion of Professor Muralidharan’s. Although it can be very time consuming to be both a professor and a researcher, he uses his love for research as motivation to balance the two.
“I’ve been teaching at SMU since 2012 and will complete five years by end of this semester,” Professor Muralidharan said. “I try to give equal importance to both teaching and research and being organized and strategic can help maintain a healthy balance. For my balancing act, I begin with teaching first since it is more structured and has a schedule in place, while trying to weave in my research endeavors whenever there are no teaching periods in between. Though research is more malleable, I still organize my research projects for the year, including deadlines and target journals. This is imperative in order to achieve my annual research goals.”
Professor Muralidharan has three other publications forthcoming in both the Asian Journal of Communication and the Journal of Promotion Management. Working on so many research projects has taught him the proper equation for doing research as well as improving his patience.
“I always try to work on research projects that explore advertising’s ability to help mitigate social and environmental issues,” Professor Muralidharan said. “During my tenure as a researcher, I have been fortunate enough to work with accomplished researchers and through collaborations I was able to learn new research methods and statistical analyses while at the same time improved my skills as a storyteller. A strong narrative and appropriate method/analysis go hand-in-hand and both are equally important to a study’s publication success. The multiple research projects I have worked on over the years have taught me a major lesson, which is patience. It can take months for a study to transform from an idea to having it published in a journal but the key is to view the journey as a marathon and not a 100-meter dash.”