Step Away From the Google Doc: Fostering True Collaboration

Step Away From the Google Doc
Fostering True Collaboration
by TAI Professor Amber Benson

 

Today, Jeff Bridges will deliver the final talk in the SMU Tate Distinguished Lecture series. Most college students know Jeff Bridges for his role as The Dude in the cult movie The Big Lebowski. Your film professors would probably remind you that he is also a seven-time Academy Award nominee, with a win in 2010 for his starring role as a down-on-his-luck musician in Crazy Heart.

But my first memory of Jeff Bridges was seeing him in a quirky science fiction movie called TRON. In it, Jeff Bridges plays Kevin Flynn, a computer hacker that gets digitized–by a laser, no less–and trapped inside a mainframe computer. While there, he partners with other programs to break free and keep himself from de-rezzing (or dying). The special effects, which look like a bad 80s nightclub to a modern-day viewer, were groundbreaking. Although Disney updated the franchise (and Bridges reprised his role) in 2010, it’s worth checking out the original.

Or you could just visit one of my classes. Because I think the ghosts of TRON haunts the halls of Umphrey Lee.

Recently, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Whenever I encourage my students to work in groups, I watch as they circle up their desks, fire up their laptops and then go radio silent. They are sitting right next to one another, yet they are miles apart. And I know exactly what’s going on.

They are trapped in a Google Doc.

As a professor of digital advertising, I encourage my students to use technology to their advantage. I just wonder if that confab of multi-colored cursors in your browser is helping you achieve your goals. Sure, you are creating a document together, but are you actually creating value?

Value creation is at the heart of the advertising industry. As advertisers we create that value by turning insights into ideas. And to do that, we need to bring various perspectives to bear on the challenges our clients give us. And that requires more than mere collaboration. It requires dialogue.

The word dialogue has Greek origins, its roots are “dia,” which means “through” and “logos” which means “speech.” Dialogue literally means to “pass through speech.” It is the literal exchange of words that propels ideas forward.

Imagine that I give you a small piece of moldable clay and tell you to create a bust of Abraham Lincoln. You could try to do it yourself. You could make your best attempt and then give it to someone else to revise or edit. In the end, you might achieve your goal, but a linear, sequential process leaves little room for inspiration or optimization.

Alternatively, by working collaboratively, gathering team members and talking through the challenge, you are far more likely to achieve your goal and to do it in a shorter amount of time. Why? Like atoms bouncing off of one another, insights create energy when they are combined.  And once you hit on the perfect combination, that clarity provides momentum. When everyone fully “gets” the concept, then you delegate tasks without losing cohesion.

At one point in TRON, Kevin Flynn says, “On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy.” Collaboration software, such as Google Docs and Slack, can be useful tools in coordinating team member contributions, but they cannot think for you. And that focus on finishing the assignment rather than solving the problem is “de-rezzing” your grades.

So, next time you get a group assignment, step away from the Google doc and toward a white board. Grab a pack of Post-Its and a Sharpie. Visualize your data. Start a dialogue.

Escape the machine.

TAI professor Amber Benson is a results-driven marketing executive and consultant with over 15 years of varied and progressive experience in strategy development, digital marketing, e-commerce and corporate communications. Benson is dedicated to building successful brands through design thinking, strategic intuition and relentless innovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SMU-TAI’s Ad Team Brings Two Trophies Back to Temerlin

The 2018 SMU-TAI’s Ad Team, led by advisor Professor Amber Benson, competed with universities from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, in the AAF District 10 Convention, ADVENTION, in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 15, 2018. They placed third overall and took home a Special Judges Award for Best Market Segmentation in this year’s National Student Advertising Competition. Additionally, TAI students Avery Lewis and Alissa Llort were awarded AAF Tenth District Scholarships. All-in-all a great weekend!

Third Place and Special Judges Award for Best Market Segmentation

TAI student Harrison Fiveash said he could have not been more excited with the outcome in Corpus Christi. “Not only placing third, but receiving the Special Judges Award for Best Market Segmentation is a true testament to how hard and cohesively our team operated,” he said.

Strategy Development and Research

Ad Team members had been working hard since the beginning of the Spring 2018 semester when they began doing research and strategy development for Ocean Spray, this year’s national client. The challenge was to drive relevancy of the brand for older millennials across both food and beverages.

With the concept BREAK OUT OF THE BOG, the team created a memorable campaign designed to give older millennials, aged 25-34, new reasons to purchase Ocean Spray throughout the year, by leveraging the health benefits, and highlighting Ocean Spray’s responsibility to the environment and to their farmers.

The team was asked to target older millennials, but they broke it down a little further to reveal a sweet spot in the millennial market that would provide Ocean Spray the highest lifetime customer value. How? by introducing the HENRYs. A HENRY is a “High Earner that is Not Rich Yet.” They view the brands they buy as a reflection of themselves, and improve their personal brand equity by buying from brands that they have a positive relationship with. Since HENRYs are both early adopters and social influencers, investing in them would create a halo effect that would influence the rest of the 44 million older millennial target.

After harvesting research insights, the team came to the conclusion that when it comes to the HENRYs, the brand is bogged down. These millennials tend to buy Ocean Spray products during the fall-winter holiday season, are unaware of Ocean Spray’s extensive product line, are skeptical about health claims, and don’t know about all the amazing things Ocean Spray does as a company.

The team decided to build on the existing brand equity of Ocean Spray’s highly popular “Straight from the Bog” campaign by breaking the Bog Guys, Justin and Henry, out of the bog and placing them in scenarios which align with the interests and values of the target market. All they needed to do, was to BREAK OUT OF THE BOG.

Four team members, Amy Cooley, Harrison Fiveash, Alex Mackillop and Sara Jane Stephens presented the team’s work to a panel of industry judges at the competition, with the goal of leveraging Ocean Spray’s social responsibility and their healthier and celebration-worthy products; showing that Ocean Spray could become more than just a Thanksgiving staple, a sugar-filled juice cocktail, and another corporate name.

Presenting Team: Harrison, Sara Jane, Alex and Amy.

Going to Corpus Christi to compete in the National Student Advertising Competition was an incredible experience for Ad Team Leader Sara Jane Stephens. “It was so wonderful to see the team’s handwork pay off. Our presentation went really well, and Harrison, Amy, Alex and I had so much fun presenting our campaign to the judges and the audience,” she said. “I am really proud of the team and very grateful to Dr. Edwards and Professor Benson for their guidance and hard work.”

Ad Team Leader Amy Cooley believes the hard work and late nights that the team put into the entire campaign and presentation were validated by the awards received. “I could not be more excited to have received two awards at NSAC this year,” she said. “This experience more than anything has prepared me for the real world in advertising, and I’m so thankful to have been able to be a part of it all.”

Advertising majors are required to complete ADV 4399 Advertising Campaigns as part of their curriculum. This class combines major advertising theories with practice, allowing students to develop and present an advertising campaign to a real client based on current advertising challenges that the client is facing. Students that take Advertising Campaigns during the Spring semester have the opportunity to participate in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). Recent NSAC clients include Tai Pei Frozen Foods (2017) Snapple (2016) Pizza Hut (2015) Mary Kay (2014) Glidden Paint (2013) and Nissan (2012).

TAI Brand Management Student, Alissa Llort, said that being a member of SMU’s Ad Team was her most rewarding college experience. “I just loved the experience and would do it all over again,” she said. “Being part of the SMU Ad Team this semester allowed me to immerse into the actual process of building a campaign and experience the real advertising life!”

Ad Team Members in Corpus Christi, TX: Rita de Obarrio, Anne-Marie Geisler, Alex Mackillop, Harrison Fiveash, Sara Jane Stephens, Amy Cooley, Alissa Llort and Frank Zhang.
TAI Students and Faculty at the Awards Presentation in Corpus Christi, TX.

Please join the Temerlin Advertising Institute in congratulating this year’s SMU-TAI’s NSAC team on their outstanding work and accomplishments!

Members of the 2018 SMU-TAI’s NSAC team are: Hayley Banas, Myla Borden, Mary Charles Byers, Amy Cooley, Rita de Obarrio, Harrison Fiveash, Anne-Marie Geisler, Conrad Li, Alissa Llort, Alex Mackillop, London Mercer, Shelby Pointer, Juan Reyes, Sara Jane Stephens, Sara Ann Whiteley and Frank Zhang.

 

SMU-TAI’s Ad Team: Expectations for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC)

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!”

SMU-TAI’s Presenting Team: Harrison, Sara Jane, Amy and Alex.

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.

 

SMU Students Skip Spring Break. Swarm South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive

Spring break at SXSW Interactive in Austin. A group of Temerlin Advertising Institute and SMU MA/MBA students launched into conference sessions including:

The SXSW Interactive Festival spotlights speakers at the developing edge of technology and those using technology in innovative ways. Dr. Steven Edwards, Director of the Institute and program leader at SXSW said, “We are here to explore how new tech and related issues are impacting the field of advertising and marketing communications.”

Temerlin Advertising Institute Students SXSW
Temerlin Advertising Institute Group in Austin at SXSW 2018
  • Students spend five intensive days exploring keynotes, panel sessions, speakers, and networking events to apply interactive technologies to advertising issues.
  • Students will interview key executives about issues in advertising at the intersection of new technologies.
  • In addition, students will maintain daily accounts and analysis of activities and meetings, contribute to a class blog, and will produce a paper on an assigned topic.

The 2018 conference breaks sessions into tracks on: Brands & Marketing, Design, Development & Code, Experiential Storytelling, VR/AR, and the Intelligent Future. There are also tracks focused on Government, Health, the Tech Industry, Style, Workplace, Food, Journalism, Social Impact, and Sports.

TAI faculty and staff are attending and are offering opportunities for meet-ups at the conference.

Students complete the experience by integrating knowledge from the conference with readings on Digital Disruption to produce a final paper solving a problem at work, identifying an emerging use for the technology explored, or researching a related topic in more depth.

Exposure to cutting edge technology, interacting with industry visionaries, and application of creative ideas across disciplines positions our students as unique in their fields. Bringing these ideas to work in current or new positions creates a point of differentiation that employers value.

As of hour three, Hannah Tymochko, Digital Media Strategy senior already believes, “It’s been amazing to see such a diverse group of people coming from all over the world to experience SXSW!”

Meet New TAI Professor Dr. Yan Huang

Dr. Yan Huang

What made you want to become a professor?

I am curious. I always want to figure out a few things. I collect information to feed my curiosity. When I meet people with the same questions, I feel excited to share what I have learned with them. The whole process makes me happy. Luckily, these are exactly what professors do.

What class are you teaching this semester?

I am teaching ADV2301 Consumer Behavior this semester. In this class, we discuss theories and concepts of psychology and persuasion as they relate to how and why consumers make certain judgments and decisions. To me, the purpose of the class is two-fold. First, I hope to motivate students to think about the applications of these theories and concepts in advertising/marketing communications. Second, I hope students themselves can become better consumers and make informed decisions with knowledge gained from this class.

What is your area of expertise?

Broadly speaking, my background and expertise are in the area of strategic communication. My research gives special attention to the effects and mechanisms of strategic media messages and technologies in shaping consumer psychology, especially as they relate to health and socially responsible advertising. I am a quantitative researcher. I explore my research questions mostly by doing experiments, surveys, and meta-analyses.

What has been your favorite memory from teaching for TAI so far?

I’ve already had many good experiences with SMU students. Every week I gain something new. It is hard to choose…but if I have to…the favorite memory is when a group of five students came to my office on a Friday afternoon to talk about the different ways to approach their group project. I remember seeing the spark of curiosity and enthusiasm in their eyes.

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

My favorite part is that I get to meet different students every semester, know their stories, share what I’ve learned with them, and help them when they are in need. I hope I can make a valuable contribution to knowledge with my research and use the knowledge to cultivate young minds.

Have you taught before? 

I had taught at Penn State for two years before I came to SMU. I taught a research method class for advertising/public relations majors and also an online course on research analytics in strategic communication.

Are you currently doing any research? 

Yes, I have a few ongoing projects. One important theme is about the effectiveness of narrative advertising. While past research focuses on the immediate impact of stories, my research has revealed that messages telling stories are also more persuasive than argument-based messages in the long term. This is because narrative exposure can trigger more self-related thoughts on the advocated issue by engaging individuals experientially. Moreover, individuals who have read narrative messages will show greater resistance to counterarguments they encounter at a later time.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I used to play a video game named BombSquad with my husband. We had kept the doubles world record for quite a while.

To find out more about Dr. Huang, check out her page on the TAI website.

TAI Students Attend South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference

This Spring Break, TAI students and faculty went to South by Southwest (SXSW) to attend the SXSW Conference, which included sessions on Brands & Marketing, Design, Development & Code, Experiential Storytelling, VR/AR and the Intelligent Future.

TAI students and faculty during SXSW.

Students attending enrolled in a course, got a student discount and will be receiving 3 hours of pass/fail credit for the experience. The speakers and sessions at the SXSW Conference explore the newest trends and what’s next in entertainment, culture, and technology.

“The most relevant thing I learned was to create interesting content,” TAI graduate student Peyton Meersman said. “I think every session mentioned that content has to be original, creative, and interesting in order for it to be successful.”

While SXSW offers a wide variety of session topics, students attending found the sessions diverse and fascinating. A big topic discussed in many sessions was virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

“AI was a big theme at SXSW,” SMU student Katherine Scarpulla said. “I felt the most reasonable and crucial point I was presented was the healthy equation of AI. Chris White of Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit argued during his Lighting Up The Dark Web session that in order to solve our human created social problems, we must incorporate a healthy mix of data, AI and human interaction. He also stressed the importance of data literacy and the beneficence of data narrative to better illustrate social problems.”

TAI Professor Amber Benson and Director Dr. Steve Edwards

Along with the SXSW experience, TAI students got to shadow members of Agency Entourage, a Dallas-based creative digital agency, during sessions and attend a Boat Party hosted by the agency.

“The Agency Entourage boat party was a lovely experience,” Scarpulla said. “This experience enabled SMU Temerlin students to network with members of Agency Entourage as well as other professionals attending SXSW. I personally had to opportunity to talk with Austin, an AE member, who I had attended a session with earlier that day. I appreciated the occasion to discuss my experiences and thoughts about SXSW Interactive with advertising professionals and hear their thoughts and comments. It enabled me to view the information I gained during sessions from multiple viewpoints and understand its application to fields/industries other than mine.”

This was the first year that students could attend SXSW through TAI while receiving course credit. Many students were excited about the opportunity and greatly enjoyed their time spent in Austin.

“My SXSW Interactive experience was absolutely amazing,” Scarpulla said. “I cannot imagine not having attended this event because of the knowledge and relationships I gained as a result. I would encourage other Temerlin Students to apply for the course as it is an opportunity to apply your academics to real-time experiences.”

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 Student Addie Audette Creates Video Package Featuring TAI

For a final project in her Basic Video and Audio Production course, TAI Digital Media student Addie Audette created a video package featuring the Temerlin Advertising Institute and its programs. For the project, she interviewed both TAI students and faculty to get an inside perspective on what TAI has to offer. In the video, you get an insight into everyday life in TAI, including how classes are run, how students interact with professors, and how students work with each other.

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.