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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALUMNI UPDATE: Chelsea Roth

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

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

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Stone Boutique Partners with Campaigns Students

Stone Boutique is a Dallas-based fine and rare stone showroom that brings cutting-edge slab technology to the interior design consumer. Owners Francisco and Margarita Acosta are dedicated to disrupting the industry by leveraging their patented technology to pioneer a new start-to-finish purchasing experience. They explain:

“For us, discovering a once-in-a-lifetime slab is a magical experience. Over the course of our first 30 years in the industry, we watched in awe as pieces forged by the history of the world’s most intriguing places were unearthed, only to be delivered to the customer through a lifeless, inefficient, and frustrating processes. It wasn’t good enough for the customer or for us.”

The Acosta’s aspire to increase sales, expand offerings globally, and roll out a proprietary process to revolutionize the consumer journey. They have partnered this fall with Professor Peter Noble’s campaigns course seeking a complete integrated marketing and messaging strategy to achieve this goal. “We partnered with Stone Boutique for two reasons. First, they provide our senior advertising students with an unusual challenge — their business spans both business-to-business and business-to-consumer product categories. And second, with their proprietary technology Stone Boutique has the potential to rapidly grow from a relatively recent start-up into a leading global brand. They’re poised to disrupt the entire stone industry. At this stage in their brand development, Stone Boutique was interested in raising and enhancing awareness of their revolutionary stone selection process,” Noble explains. Temerlin students are eagerly working on the campaign; two teams will present a plans book and virtual presentation to the client early next month.

Our students greatly benefit from working with real-world class clients such as Stone Boutique.

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Professor Mark Allen’s Wildly Talented Students

Temerlin Advertising Institute’s Senior Lecturer Mark Allen shares his journey from high school art class to advertising professor on the We Are Next podcast. Allen found his love for advertising early on, established RedCape consultancy working with clients such as Martha Stewart, and currently feeds his passion for teaching wildly talented students at SMU.

In fact, one of Allen’s former wildly talented students, Elizabeth Entenman (B.A. Advertising 2010), introduced him to We Are Next founder Natalie Kim for the sit-down and sharing of advice learned over his varied career in the field of advertising. We Are Next is a resource for students and junior talent entering the advertising and marketing industry. This platform offers mentorships, a robust jobs board, and a variety of career advice-related content.

An interest in art, followed by a design course in high school, led Allen to major in drawing & painting and communication design and minor in advertising while in college. Post-graduation, Allen recounts leaving his creative work with recruiters at many notable agencies. He once found a note from an agency principal inside his book. Allen says, “I was so excited to see the note, but it read Nice book. Can’t tell if you’re an art director or copywriter.

He fondly retells this story to students as a critical moment in the progression of a career in advertising to help prepare them for the ups and downs that come along with building a reputation in the field. In the podcast, Allen recommends making creative portfolios stand out to potential employers by:

    1. Showing your best work.
    2. Making sure big ideas are supported by great craft.
    3. Showing a sense of restraint, whether it is in art direction, writing or the selection of products and clients. It shows a sense of maturity.
    4. Developing a good sense of taste over time by looking at lots of great work in Communication Arts annuals and The One Show, as well as Cannes and Clio award winners, to start. It is one of the most valuable things a student can do.
    5. Showcasing quality work over quantity. Recruiters usually skim portfolios, so make sure to highlight your strengths and capabilities. Also, include class or spec work that you are excited about, as it gives employers a sense for the types of clients that would be a good fit for your skills.
    6. Identifying and articulating problems, not only in a brief, but in brainstorming and day-to-day interactions. It helps to refine your craft and identifies you as somebody who can help other people, setting you up for director-level positions.

In advising students, Allen adds, “Look at ads and ask yourself questions such as, what is the problem? How did they solve it? When you see good work, identify what is compelling and deconstruct it a little bit. What makes it great? How and why did they make that?”

Listen to the full episode of the We Are Next Podcast.

See some of the creative awards won by SMU Advertising students at the 2020 National Student Show and the 2020 AAF Dallas awards show.

AWARDS: Celebrating Record-Setting Performance in the 2020 National Student Show and Conference

Temerlin Advertising Institute students recently competed in the 16th annual National Student Show and Conference (NSSC), sponsored by the Dallas Society of Visual Communications Foundation. The team of Kell Klopp and Allie Hartman won three awards: Best Overall Copywriting, Best of Advertising Category: Integrated Campaign, and Best of Advertising Category: Copywriting. Isaac Cordova won the prestigious Richard Patrick Memorial Scholarship Prize in Photography, given for the best body of photography work. The participants received their awards at the first NSSC virtual awards gala on April 25.

“This is an exceptionally competitive and prestigious show, and it’s a huge honor just to have your work accepted, let alone win,” said TAI Lecturer Mark Allen. “This year, we had more entries accepted than ever before and won more awards than ever before. We’re incredibly proud of these students!”

The NSSC began in 1957 as a one-day regional competition to give North Texas communication arts students the opportunity to showcase their work, and in the 1970s became the Dallas Society of Visual Communications Student Show. While there were many national competitions for established industry professionals, there were few competitions for up-and-coming students. In response, the DSVC Student Show transformed from a small, regional contest into a three-day national competition and conference in 2004. Now known as the NSSC, it is the largest  advertising and design competition for students in the country, offering over $20,000 in cash prizes and scholarship awards.

The three-day event typically features keynote speakers, breakout sessions and portfolio reviews followed by a dinner reception and awards gala. However, due to the coronavirus, the conference was canceled and the gala was moved online this year.

Allen participated in the DSVC Student Show when he was a student in the late ’90s.  He has taught in the Temerlin Advertising Institute since 2003, and was first brought on to help start the creative program for art directors and copywriters.

“I knew the NSSC was a great place for us to get our name out there and to get our students recognized,” said Allen. “I started encouraging students to compete back when I first came to SMU in 2003, and we’ve been participating ever since. The DSVC also holds a professional show around the same time every year; my fellow advertising colleague Professor Willie Baronet and I have both participated and have been fortunate enough to be recognized for some of the work we’ve done as art directors and designers over the years. It might be a ‘regional’ show but it’s got a national reputation.”

Allen played an influential role in the competition itself this past year.

“For years the only advertising categories that the NSSC recognized were the traditional big three: print, radio and television. So I worked with the DSVC to add several new advertising categories that reflect current industry standards: interactive, out-of-home, experiential and others,” he said.

He also influences his students to consider participating.

“I am the cheerleader who is always telling students to enter their work,” he said, noting that getting one’s work and name recognized with the best of the industry can help propel careers. “I also help them figure out strategically what the best categories are for them to enter. It’s easy if you have a commercial – you put it in the commercial category. But if you have an integrated campaign that has several different pieces, it can be tougher to decide where they should go.  Once we do, the students take it from there.

“The work primarily comes out of the Creative Specialization classes that Willie and I teach like Concepting, Portfolio and Advanced Portfolio, but more and more we’re also getting work into the show from students in our Graphic Design minor,” he said.

Allen said that while he was thrilled with his students’ performance at the competition, the feeling was bittersweet knowing he would soon say goodbye to his graduating seniors.

“I’m just really proud of our students for all kinds of reasons,” he said. “Our program is at a really sweet spot where we’ve got a lot of energy and talent; we’ve got a truly exceptional group all-around right now. You’d figure that we’d get used to this by now, but every year we miss our students when we have to send them off.”

The SMU winning entries are as follows:

Best Use of Copywriting ($500)
Grammarly—Kell Klopp ’20 and Allie Hartman ’20

Best of Category: Copywriting ($200)
Grammarly—Kell Klopp and Allie Hartman

Best of Category:  Integrated Campaign ($200)
Grammarly—Kell Klopp and Allie Hartman

Richard Patrick Memorial Scholarship ($2,500)
Smile Reversal (photography series)—Isaac Cordova ’21

Kell Klopp and Allie Hartman’s Grammarly campaign also won Best Copywriting in TAI’s Portfolio Night & Exhibition. In addition, it is featured on Ads of the World, an advertising archive and community that showcases creative advertising from around the world.

Grammerly Best Copywriting award

“We thought a lot about when it is necessary to use Grammarly and found that the truth is Grammarly is all around the easiest way to be the best you can be,” said Klopp and Hartman in a joint statement. “We wanted our ads to show how simple of an app it is while highlighting the importance of using Grammarly.

“It’s not easy being an advertising student, and to be able to have our work awarded like this means a lot to us. We work hard and try our best, and we couldn’t do such amazing work without our outstanding professors,” the duo said.

The NSSC was the first competition in which Isaac Cordova has entered his Smile Reversal series.

asian girl not smiling in black and white photo on gray background

“This photographic series explores the emotions we feel behind closed doors, going beyond the mask of ‘picture-perfectism,’” said Cordova. “On a path to become my most authentic self, this series came to life as I became more and more uncomfortable with how people wear a ‘mask’ meant to hide how they really feel inside. There is nothing more beautiful than a genuine expression.

“Winning the overall photography award at the NSSC is beyond rewarding. I’m proud to represent SMU and I take it as a sign to never stop creating!” Cordova said.

Altogether, nine SMU entries were accepted into this year’s competition. The full list of accepted work is as follows:

Integrated Campaign Category
Grammarly—Kell Klopp and Allie Hartman
Kong Chew Toys— Kell Klopp and Megan Cruikshank ’19

Out-of-home Category
Beyond Meat—Sam Smith ’21, Avery Bouch ’21 and Elijah Niemczyk ’21

Video / Commercial Category
Diptyque—Anna Rose Corell ’21 and Gaëlle Gachelin ’19
SelfControl App—Kell Klopp and Megan Cruikshank
Vinyl Me, Please—Charlie O’Brien ’20 and Will Sutter ’21

Copywriting Category 
Grammarly—Allie Hartman and Kell Klopp
Kong Chew Toys—Kell Klopp and Megan Cruikshank

Photography Category 
Smile Reversal (series)—Isaac Cordova

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Advertising Course Connects Students to Internships

Last week the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted its annual communications career fair, organized by Temerlin’s Sandi Edgar and held in conjunction with her Business Communications class. The evening began with Ivonne Kinser from Avocados From Mexico and Francisco Cardenas from LERMA/ breaking down their Super Bowl strategy and the cross-collaboration needed to produce their award-winning work. Students then met with agencies hiring for both full-time and internship positions.

Have a position you’d like to share with our students? Learn more here.

Thank you to all who participated:

Agency Entourage

Avocados From Mexico

Inspire

Launch Agency

LERMA/

MarketScale

RocketBrand

Slant Partners

The Power Group

The Richards Group

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Networking Students to Full-Time Positions

Recent Temerlin graduate Harrison Fiveash landed a full-time role as Sales Coordinator at Ampersand after graduating from SMU this past December. The opportunity arose when his professor, Peter Noble, endorsed the event in class claiming it was essential for advertising students. Looking back, Fiveash recalls, “per the norm – he was right.”

Presented by The Dallas 4A’s Council, the inaugural AdEdge program was conceived to propel graduating DFW advertising and marketing majors into their careers. Before attending the event, Fiveash researched the attending agencies and took notes on where he thought he’d be a good fit: “I had several questions and made small talk with the representatives. I also had a clear plan as to which position I was interested in. Asking, ‘Are you hiring more Sales Coordinators?’ instead of ‘Are you hiring any recent grads?”

The following Monday Fiveash followed up via email and scheduled an informational interview with a professional he met at the event. This is an assignment that students are guided through in ADV 4106- Professional Seminars, a course that teaches students how to navigate the industry and more. A week later, Fiveash received a call from Ampersand informing him of an open Sales Coordinator position and was hired, and accepted, on the spot. This position works with affiliates and agencies, ensuring advertising spots are ordered and run when scheduled. Regarding the new role, Fiveash shares “there’s room to grow vertically and horizontally. It’s a strong cultural fit, and it’s a good hybrid of my media background and potential future in sales.”

Harrison’s Advice for Students Seeking Full-Time Opportunities:

  • Always be early
  • Bring a notepad
  • Thank everyone for their time
  • Use your professors as resources- they want to help you and they know what they’re doing
  • Start looking for a job and networking now
  • Continue to learn. People hire intellectually curious people!

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Dr. La Ferle Attends Global CMO Growth Council Meeting

Dr. Carrie La Ferle, Marriott Endowed Professor of Ethics & Culture, participated in the Global CMO Growth Council meeting last week in NYC examining Brand Experience, Creativity, & Media. The meeting focused on putting people first to drive growth through innovation, insights, creativity, experiential, and media.

Over the past two years, the ANA, Cannes Lions, and the Global CMO Growth Council have identified four priorities for driving industry growth: 1) Data, Technology, and Measurement; 2) Talent and Marketing Organization; 3) Brand Experience, Creativity, and Media; and 4) Society and Sustainability.

Anheuser-Busch graciously hosted the event last week and several CMOs cutting across multiple companies joined from Ernst & Young and Moet Hennessy to Subway, Stoli Group and Viacom as well as from Cannes Lions. Marcel Marcondes, U.S. CMO Anheuser-Busch provided a great overview of how Anheuser-Busch is working to drive growth by learning and listening more to consumers while also diversifying their offerings. Spencer Gordon, VP, Digital for Anheuser-Busch shared some of the recent wins that were driven by starting small and local to ensure relevance, using social media, then listening to reactions, and broadening the scope when reactions were good.

Future meetings are planned over the next few months across the four priorities leading up to Cannes Lions, where the Global CMO Growth Council originated in 2018.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Can Design Help Combat Homelessness?

Evictions are a serious national issue and extreme weather events displace thousands, houselessness is one of our society’s biggest challenges. Professor Willie Baronet is excited to participate in the new exhibition Houseless where Alaska’s Anchorage Museum invites visitors to considers ways design can contribute to solutions.

Design thinking helps break down complex problems and integrate new information and opinions while acknowledging there is no one right answer. The Houseless project provides a space for awareness, education, and creative problem-solving around housing security supporting individuals and communities in problem-solving together.

Willie Baronet began WE ARE ALL HOMELESS in 1993 due to the awkwardness he felt when he pulled up to an intersection and encountered a person holding a sign, asking for help. Like many, Baronet wrestled with whether or not he was doing good by giving them money. “Mostly I struggled with my moral obligations, and how my own choices contributed in conscious or unconscious ways to the poverty I was witnessing. I struggled with the unfairness of the lives people are born into, the physical, mental and psychological handicaps. In my struggle, I avoided eye contact with those on the street, unwilling to really see them, and in doing so avoided seeing parts of myself. That began to change once I began asking them if they would sell their signs.” Baronet’s relationship to the homeless has been powerfully and permanently altered. The conversations and connections have left an indelible mark on his heart. He explains “I still wrestle with personal questions regarding generosity, goodness, compassion, and guilt. And what it means to be homeless: practically, spiritually, emotionally? Is home a physical place, a building, a structure, a house? Or is it a state of being, a sense of safety, of being provided for, of identity? I see these signs as signposts of my own journey, inward and outward, of reconciling my own life with my judgments about those experiencing homelessness.”

Opening night, WE ARE ALL HOMELESS at the Anchorage Museum

Houseless is an installation of hundreds of the signs Baronet has purchased over the past two decades. “This is the largest WE ARE ALL HOMELESS exhibit to date, and I’m honored to be a part of Houseless at the Anchorage Museum. I love how this project is integrated into the classes I teach at SMU, where many of my students have volunteered to help AND have been inspired to start their own purpose-driven projects, which contributes to our desire to teach principled advertising. I’m also very excited to be working with students from SMU’s Human Rights program led by Rick Halperin. Some of his students have volunteered to work on the WE ARE ALL HOMELESS non-profit impact campaign in order to meet their class requirements. I always love finding ways to collaborate across disciplines at SMU” explains Baronet.

To learn more about this initiative please visit http://www.weareallhomeless.org/ and watch Willie’s award-winning documentary Signs of Humanity which is available to stream on Amazon.

 

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Preparing Students for their Careers with StrengthsFinder

The Clifton StrenghtsFinder is a scientific 177 question assessment that measures an individual’s talents resulting in a unique “thumbprint” analysis of strengths. Understanding the sequence of these strengths is one of the keys to finding and managing a rewarding career. This week, Professor Amber Benson (right), a Gallop-Certified Strengths Coach, led Professor Sandi Edgar’s Advertising Business Communications course through a basic StrengthsFinder workshop. Here, students were guided through various exercises to understand their top strengths and how they may manifest in various aspects of their personal and professional lives. This insight provides an understating of motivations,  interactions with others, and the types of team members needed to compliment a person’s strengths. The students will use their individual strengths to explore personal branding with the ultimate goal to become more effective in interviews, networking, and the workplace. This project culminates with the Temerlin Advertising Institute career fair in March. Email to learn more: sandi@smu.edu.