Film, football and faith: Meadows junior Jack Mayo now running his own production company

JackMayoSMUFootballCoverPhoto

From high school photo assignments to gigs at Madison Square Garden, Mayo says collaboration makes all the difference

Like many college students, Jack Mayo has plastered his dorm room walls with photos of his favorite band at some of their most legendary gigs. But one thing is different: Mayo was hired to be there.

A junior double majoring in advertising and film, Mayo has worked as a photographer and videographer since he was in eighth grade, when he first contacted Australian worship band Hillsong United and asked if he could be a volunteer photographer at their tour stop in Dallas.

It was the beginning of a fruitful — and whirlwind — relationship. Within the next four years, he founded production company Jack Mayo Films, developed a second area of expertise in sports, and produced the live film of Hillsong’s show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Today, Mayo works full time in addition to managing his course load at SMU. When we caught up with him, he was just getting in from a shoot for Adidas. Later that week, he assisted on a shoot with Shaquille O’Neal for JCPenney and spent three days with the NFL draft.

Pretty amazing for 21.

“My dad got me into it,” Mayo says of his blossoming career. He grew up in Frisco and his father owns a camera rental company that provides equipment to commercial and movie shoots.

Growing up around cameras sparked Mayo’s interest, but it didn’t take off until middle school when he was doing theater tech for a musical production of The Hobbit and decided he wanted to take some video.

Mayo walked dogs for $20 an hour and saved up to buy his first proper camera and MacBook. He had a little help from his father, who agreed to match what he earned. “My dad had always taught me to work for myself and earn everything,” he says.

Middle school theater taught Mayo the basics of sound and lighting. In high school, he branched out and began taking pictures and shooting video at Frisco High School football games. That proved to be a smart move, because adults started paying attention.

“That got me really connected with athletes and also the administration,” he says. “They knew me and liked me, and knew what I was doing for the school.”

Football is a passion of Mayo’s now. But ironically, he didn’t know much about it, or sports in general, when he started photographing the games. “Even senior year I didn’t get how football worked,” he says. “I used to ask my assistant, ‘How many tries do they have?’ And he’d be like, ‘Third down, you idiot!’”

When he wasn’t at football games, Mayo worked at any events he could, from community service activities to other school spirit functions. In addition to giving him critical early experience, all of that socializing had other advantages to a new Frisco High freshman.

“I didn’t really know anyone and that’s how I’d make friends,” he says. “I’d go take pictures of stuff and meet people.”

By the time Mayo was a high school sophomore, he had a friend working as his intern. He started learning more about videography and soon founded his business.

In his final years at Frisco High School he was regularly being commissioned by the school to produce work for the football team, drill teams, banquets and more. “I think I was the only Frisco High School student that got paid by different groups from the school while I went there,” he says with a chuckle.

JackMayoHillsongConferencePromoWithSebastianStrand

High school is also when Mayo got connected with Hillsong; he says his work relationship with the group is his favorite by far.  While he loves football, he says there’s nothing that compares with the energy of their worship nights.

“The crowd has so much interaction at Hillsong concerts,” he says, explaining that it makes for more interesting photos and videos. “I think with worship music it’s two ways a lot of time. The audience is singing and they’re raising their hands.”

Mayo is active in his church and was already a diehard Hillsong fan when he got the idea in eighth grade to find their sound and video guy on social media. “I basically harassed the Hillsong people on Instagram to let me volunteer for them,” he says.

Mayo was too young to drive himself to the first two shows he worked. At the first one, he was purely a volunteer. But when next year’s tour came around, he was personally invited and his photos were posted to the official Hillsong accounts.

The biggest thing he’s done for Hillsong to date is the Madison Square Garden show in July 2019, and the work keeps coming. Most recently, he worked the 2020 Passion Conference in Atlanta.

“They’re just great to work with, and nice people,” he says. “I really cherish the relationship and want to continue to be valuable.”

Mayo ended up at SMU somewhat by surprise. At first, he wasn’t sure he wanted to go to college at all; he already had a successful business. But he kept hearing about the once-in-a-lifetime college experience, and he started thinking that the right degree could be an asset.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, the SMU football coach reached out. He’d seen one of Mayo’s videos on Twitter and invited him to campus for a visit.

Mayo’s aunt and uncle had both gone to SMU, but it hadn’t really been on his radar. When he visited, he fell in love. “As soon as I came to campus I thought, ‘Yeah, this is where I’m going to be,’” he recalls.

Mayo admired the campus’ beauty and was excited about the opportunities SMU presented. He could be a creative assistant for the football team. And he liked what he heard from the film professors and students during his tour of the Meadows School of the Arts.

“Everyone I talked to just loved it so much,” he says. Mayo committed to enroll at SMU on the deadline, May 1.

Staying in the Dallas area for school has also proved to be beneficial. “From a work standpoint, nothing slowed down,” he says.

Balancing work and school can be tricky. Mayo schedules his classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving the other days open for work opportunities. Sometimes even that is limiting, since many shoots are multi-day.

But Mayo doesn’t have trouble filling up his schedule. These days, instead of hustling on social media, he relies on his network. He has many industry friends, some of whom are decades older than him.

“If I see I have two weeks free coming up on my calendar, I’ll text my buddies and say, ‘Hey, I’m open these days if you’ve got anything.’”

Doing double duty is taxing, but worth it. Mayo’s advertising concentration is digital media strategy, and he can already see the value of the degree.

“Right now I can go shoot an Adidas spot, but if I get an advertising degree then I can be the person directing that. Or I can be the client. Then I’m not working for someone, I’m getting the work done from the upper level.”

Mayo dabbled in narrative film in high school, but he’s always gravitated toward commercials. He still draws inspiration from movies, and particularly idolizes Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins.

“I think commercials especially are getting more and more artsy, so you can watch narrative examples and say to yourself, ‘OK, I really like how this is lit, or I like how this conversation went between these two people,’” he explains.

But ultimately, he loves showing up to work every day knowing he’ll experience something new. “I like fast-paced projects as opposed to being on one shoot for six months,” he says. “With what I do it’s always something different.”

Last year, COVID-19 threw a curveball. Starting with the big SXSW annual music and media festival in March, all of the shoots he had on his calendar cancelled within two days. “I thought, ‘This is the worst thing ever,’” he remembers. “‘Should I change career paths? What am I doing?’”

But the despair didn’t last long. Just a few weeks later he received a call from one of his mentors, local cinematographer Brandon Zebell, asking for help setting up a livestream for a church in Fort Worth. After they had finished, Mayo realized the system they’d come up with could be used to build a remote set for commercial shoots.

“We had all the hardware out, and I realized we could do a shoot and stream it to directors and producers, and anyone who doesn’t need to be on set,” he says. “And it wouldn’t be that hard because we were using a bunch of inexpensive equipment and still had great results.”

In May, he took his theory for a dry run when he was hired to stream the camera feed for the United States Tennis Association’s “Get Up and Play” campaign shoot. Ordinarily, a shoot like that would require about 40 people on set, but thanks to Mayo’s innovations they were able to do it with six. Everyone else watched on Zoom.

“They were able to see the camera feed and hear everything because of all the streaming details we had figured out the month before,” he says.

To date, he’s replicated his method about 30 times, gaining new clients purely by word of mouth. “I’ve designed packages and sold them to other people who basically use my system,” he says. “It’s really nothing special, just making sure you have the right equipment to bring it all together.”

Mayo sees the utility of remote set technology lasting well beyond COVID-19, because it saves money. And in the last year, the available technology has only improved. His clients are starting to move away from Zoom toward more professional systems like Teradek that are designed specifically for this use. These systems offer better playback and deliver files around the world in real time.

Even with all of these improvements, there are some annoyances of being a videographer in a pandemic that you simply can’t get around – like frequent coronavirus tests. “I’ve gotten my nose stabbed so many times,” he says.

Mayo has big plans for when he graduates. First on his list: taking more jobs outside Dallas. “Normally, travel jobs are multiple days and it’s hard for me to take multi-day assignments with school,” he says.

He also has aspirations of continuing to work his way up in the sports world. “Right now I’m doing the inexpensive projects where they just hire someone local and go shoot a film,” he says. “Working on the draft was very cool – it was the first NFL draft I’ve been involved in.”

And even though long-form work isn’t typically his favorite, he thinks a documentary could be in his wheelhouse. He’d particularly like the opportunity to work on the Netflix college football docuseries Last Chance U.

“It’s one of my favorite things to watch,” he says. “I love the cinematography and the storytelling style. Working on that show is on my bucket list.”

Mayo has already checked off a lot of items on other aspiring videographers’ bucket lists. “My high school broadcast teacher used to say that I was born at 40,” he says, when asked how he developed discipline so young.

He’s always believed in taking anything he does seriously. “I’m very responsive and proper with business dealings,” he says.

Mayo tries to reply to emails quickly, makes sure contracts are executed to the letter, and maintains a packed Outlook calendar. “There are 12 things a day and it’s just nonstop,” he says.

Some of Mayo’s fastidiousness is conscious. In high school, he struggled with balancing school work with his professional life, and he’s worked hard to find systems that help him manage his time better. “I’m not perfect at any of this stuff,” he says. “I just do what works.”

There’s only one thing that Mayo says he couldn’t do without: his collaborators. “I think the people I worked with are what made me successful,” he says.

While he’s confident in his vision and technical ability, he believes his main gift is leadership. In his first semester at SMU he made a video for his Production 1 class about teamwork and what it means to him. “I still like to show it to people,” he says.

The video focuses on his experiences in high school, particularly the time he posted flyers inviting anyone interested to make a movie with him, and ended up filming The Ghost of Frisco High with a cast and crew of 80 people. “We had all types of people join, and I was able to lead the team and bring everyone together,” he says.

Many of the people featured in that class project have gone their own way, but Mayo has found new friends at SMU who mean just as much to him. One of the students he collaborates with most closely is his roommate, Alex Daly-Hill, a fellow advertising and film double major who also worked for the football team for two seasons. Mayo helped Daly-Hill learn new skills that prepared him for his current role with FC Dallas. But the support is mutual.

“A lot of the time I think of ideas and I know how I want my finished product to look. But then if I bring Alex along, he’ll say, ‘Oh, let’s do this,’ and the video will turn out better,” he says. “And Alex is a much better editor than me. So he’s edited basically all of my stuff in the last year and a half.”

One of the many reasons Mayo likes working with a team is that it’s a safeguard against his own ideas becoming stale. He values always having an outside perspective.

“Collaboration is my favorite part of my work. I wish I wouldn’t have named my company my name, because there’s a lot more to it,” he says. “If you hire Jack Mayo Films, you’re getting a lot more than Jack Mayo.”

Winning the Big iDea Takes More than Just a Great Idea!

A chance meeting while working in the hall at ULEE, SMU Psychology student and Neuroscience Lab Research Coordinator Madison McMahan met Advertising Professor Dr. Carrie La Ferle. After several conversations, they got to know each other. Recently, Madison shared her Big iDeas business idea: Panacea!

More than Instagram or Facebook. More than a dating app. Panacea helps people easily make friends based on shared interests and hobbies.

Taking cues from the world of advertising , Dr. La Ferle gave Madison some general ideas to consider for making a winning “pitch and presentation” on her Big iDeas Business Competition pitch.

After her Panacea idea won, Madison shared her enjoyment of the Big iDeas journey and learning how to start a business. “I had such wonderful encouragement from my family, friends, the Engaged Learning Team and SMU faculty Carrie La Ferle, Bruce Snider, and Carlos Martinez! This experience has given me huge insights into marketing, planning, advertising concepts, and the overall business world. The skills I have gained will help me in the future, especially with the things that I am super passionate about such as helping people find friends.”

Madison plans to launch the app in July and hopes everyone to be able to join Panacea to form new friendships.

To find out more about Panacea, or to be notified when the app is ready, please visit the website or email panaceaconnectionisgood@gmail.com.

Congratulations Madison and to the other 2021 Big iDeas Business Plan winners!

Find out more about Engaged Learning and Big iDeas at SMU.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Difficult Year. Difficult Briefs. Smart Solutions.

Throughout his career, Temerlin professor Dr. Mark Allen has worked as an art director and designer for clients including the History Channel, the New York Yankees, Norton/Symantec, Martha Stewart, The Walking Dead, A&E Networks, HBO, the U.S. National Parks Service and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. His work has been recognized for creative excellence in the Print Regional Design Annual and Applied Arts magazine and by the Promotion Marketing Association, the Illustrators Society of Los Angeles and the Dallas Society of Visual Communications. He joined SMU’s newly established Temerlin Advertising Institute in 2003, where he currently teaches various creative advertising courses. Allen recently shared his insights into his students’ work and the shift in teaching creative courses brought about by the pandemic.

“I knew that teaching creative studio-based classes virtually was going to be a challenge, but it was much harder than I anticipated. It was difficult to hold our weekly critiques—the lifeblood of our creative classes—on Zoom because we’re used to walking around the room, making notes, and drawing sketches on the work that plasters every available surface in the classroom. Losing the spatial, tactile dimension of what we do in the classroom was felt every time we met online. Additionally, there’s usually a lot of back-and-forth with the students. But humor and sarcastic banter are hard to pull off on Zoom when most of the class is on mute. More than anything, I miss hearing the flood of input from my students during a critique. They are so smart and so funny, and I depend on their eyes, ears and brains to back me up—and to challenge my ill-advised suggestions. Zoom only allows you to focus on one thing at a time: one voice, one image, etc. And I don’t usually run my classes like that,” Allen explains.

Continue reading “FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Difficult Year. Difficult Briefs. Smart Solutions.”

Temerlin’s Take on Super Bowl Spots

Leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl, Executive-in-Residence Amber Benson spoke with CBS 11 regarding her expectations for this year’s ads. In the interview, Benson noted that Super Bowl staples such as Budweiser, Coke and Pepsi chose to sit out the game, which provided space for newer and smaller brands to play. Benson accurately anticipated more humor in this year’s ads, explaining that advertisers know people needed a comedic break this year. What we didn’t expect to see was the humorous Oatly CEO singing off-key in a field, alone.

Professor Mark Allen agrees with Benson’s insights, citing GM’s “No Way Norway” with Will Ferrell as a big winner of the night. “This one had all the ingredients of a classic Super Bowl commercial: big-budget, big celebrities, big laughs. But this spot was much smarter than it may seem on the surface. Instead of interrupting the big game with a drive-by guilting about carbon emissions, fossil fuels and global warming, GM kept us laughing with an appeal to American patriotism and our competitive spirit. But this time it was all in the service of selling electric vehicles (without taking a cheap shot at gas-guzzling muscle cars). And Will Ferrell was perfect for this one—hilarious,” Allen explains.

Temerlin’s Ad Club organized a socially distant ad viewing party on February 10  and invited LERMA/ agency’s Brian Linder and Bill Cochran to share their creative insights with students. Temerlin senior Sarah Scambray helped organize the event. She says, “I’m so glad we were able to host an in-person event because it allowed everyone to see one another’s reactions as we watched the ads and discuss them openly afterward. It was a great break from the impersonal nature of meeting on Zoom. We also invited a couple of industry professionals to give their take, and it was really cool to hear their in-depth perspective on which ads were truly successful or not.”

Ad Club’s mission is to create a student community of those with an interest in and passion for advertising. The club offers agency and advertising-inspired events, career-building workshops and professional panels that give students the opportunity to learn about the advertising industry, develop the necessary skills to earn internships and jobs, and network with fellow students, alumni and industry professionals. To learn more about Ad Club or join, please contact Ad Club President Meredith Welborn at mjwelborn@smu.edu.

PROGRAM FEATURE: Why SMU Students Should Consider Temerlin’s Graphic Design Minor

Temerlin’s graphic design minor provides a basic understanding and development of skills necessary for message design across various media. Topics and skill sets may include identity (logos, branding collateral material, packaging), digital (social, mobile, online media), publication (magazines, newspapers, books), and other areas of design.

Professor Cheryl Mendenhall, program director for the graphic design minor, explains, “Learning to become a better visual communicator can enhance a variety of career paths. It’s so much more than learning the software used in the industry. It is about cultivating your ideas; using design principles of composition and layout; and learning about typography, imagery and color choices along with a little psychology to best present your ideas.” Research confirms the demand for graphic design skills:

  • The U.S. market size for graphic designers is $12.7 billion.
  • A Content Marketing Institute study reveals that 51% of business-to-business marketers say creating visual content is a priority.
  • According to a Digital Trends study by Adobe, 73% of companies invest in design to make their brand more recognizable than their competitors’.
  • Research by iScribblers shows that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text and that it takes twice as long to process and recognize words.

This year the Temerlin Advertising Institute has expanded the minor to include two new-upper level electives, Image-Making and Graphic Design for Digital Media. Image-Making explores various styles and techniques to produce conceptually based imagery. The second course, Graphic Design for Digital Media, examines specific design challenges posed by various digital media and platforms, including issues of scale, color, typography, resolution, file sizes and color modes.

Preview recent student graphic design work:

Learn more and apply to the graphic design minor here.

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.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVES: Corporate Racism in the Flesh

How One Person’s Viewpoint Can Topple a Whole Organization

Kayla Griffis

By Kayla Griffis
B.A. Advertising, Southern Methodist 
University ’20
M.A. Advertising, Southern Methodist University ’21

A few weeks ago the Dallas advertising industry was shaken to its core. A renowned agency has lost multiple clients in the span of a few days due to a comment made by its founder and owner. If you live in the DFW area or are a part of the advertising industry at large, you will have heard about this controversial statement made by Stan Richards and the severe fallout for The Richards Group. For those who do not know the situation and its impact, here is a quick rundown of what occurred. According to AdWeek, the 88-year-old — during an internal creative review for a campaign for Motel 6 — stated that he felt the concept to promote Black artists’ work was “too Black” for “white supremacist constituents.” This comment somehow made it to the media and Motel 6 immediately dropped The Richards Group as one of their agencies. And within the span of three days, they had lost longtime clients Home Depot, Keurig Dr Pepper, and H.E.B., and new prospective business at Cracker Barrel. The chance of recovery for this agency is in question and Stan Richards has now stated he is stepping down from all operations at the company.

A few days later, Richards seemed to double down on his controversial comments in an interview with Texas Monthly where he stated that he was only “trying to protect the client’s business” and said that the campaign would “run off…their guests.” He declared that the idea that was posed “should have been more multicultural” and that instead “It was very Black.” Richards expressed surprise when he had heard his words had garnered so much backlash and stated that “…instead of using…those three words, I could have said something that was more clouded in its meaning. And it would have saved an awful lot of trouble.” In addition, when he was asked about his white supremacist comment, he further explained that the client didn’t need to lose any of its current business, “even if it was white supremacists who chose not to do business with them.”

Richards outlined the current objectives for The Richards Group and how they plan to generate more awareness around the “potential to create [such] a problem” and said he stands by the fact that his comment was not racist and that he has “never been a racist anytime in [his] life.” He then finishes the interview by stating he will focus on helping students at the Stan Richards School at UT. Richards has also issued a video apologizing to the faculty, alumni, and the students of the school, stating it was “the biggest mistake of [his] life,” and an accompanying note from the director and dean of the Stan Richards School stated that his “racially intolerant and bigoted remarks” were not consistent with the school’s core values and that they will remain committed to “sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Now let’s be honest. What Richards said was racist. Period. No matter his intentions, stating that he wanted to cater to white supremacist consumers and suppressing Black representation is uncalled for and quite frankly very disturbing. So the consequences that follow should be no different. During the peak of protests against police brutality and the demand for justice after the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, many companies called for the support and uplifting of Black voices and hired many artists to help create work. However, that “trend” didn’t last long, because soon after the initial news coverage of the protests started to die down, companies went back to the content they were creating before and the advocacy for Black people seemed to wane. This phenomenon was compounded by the insensitive email that was sent to a Black mural artist from Microsoft requesting that she create an art piece while the Black Lives Matter movement was still “relevant.”

Even though Stan Richards made these racist comments, which demonstrated how one remark can irrevocably ruin your reputation, the situation also demonstrates that the ramifications affect more than just him. Employees of TRG peopleThe Richards Group who didn’t express the same racist sentiments now are facing a future of uncertainty as well as unintended backlash for something they didn’t do. They have to scramble to figure out what the next best step is and balance the idea of jumping off a sinking ship or potentially going down with the captain. Now for some people, these developments may prove profitable since the newly available clients will be looking for another agency to work with and more jobs will be created in those businesses if they win. However, it still doesn’t negate the fact that livelihoods will be lost during a pandemic when the last thing anyone wants is an uptick in unemployment filings. Nevertheless, Stan Richards’ comment managed to severely damage a legacy he spent decades creating and possibly cost hundreds of people their jobs.

There is no shortage of examples for why diversity, equity and inclusion are vital to the growth and success of corporate America and society as a whole and this is just another one added to a never-ending list. Hopefully other companies who may have been remiss will realize that Black peoples’ lives aren’t a trend or something to commodify and do with as they please. This is real life and with our more socially conscious generations speaking out on the travesties and inhuman treatment that have been occurring for centuries, businesses that don’t get on board risk being decimated. So here’s a word of advice. Be a proponent of positive social change for the good of humanity and create work that pushes for a better world for everyone. And if that is too difficult, just not being a downright awful person could also help. And if that is still too much, at least realize that you will no longer make money if you alienate consumers and continue to uphold the discriminatory racist ideals that have plagued the minorities of America since its inception.

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.

ALUMNI UPDATE: Network with an Advertising Alumnus

Careers in the advertising industry heavily rely on networking opportunities; jobs are often found through referrals, former colleagues, and various industry events and organizations. The Meadows School of the Arts recently conducted research that revealed current students want to engage with fellow alumni but don’t always know how to make the first step. With traditional agency tours, internships, and industry events on pause, the need for student networking opportunities is critical. Recently, SMU launched a new platform, The SMU Network, to bridge the gap between current students and alumni.

Nikki Koenig graduated from Meadows in 2005 with her B.A. in Advertising. She founded Cykochik, a handbag, apparel and lifestyle company, from her dorm room during her undergraduate degree at SMU. Koenig used the tools acquired through her advertising courses to build a successful brand and quit her corporate job to focus full-time on Cykochik in 2013.

While Koenig was an SMU student, she also interned at Group Baronet, now MasonBaronet, an agency owned by Willie Baronet. Baronet, now the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising at the Temerlin Advertising Institute, joined SMU in 2014. Over the past sixteen years, they have remained close; now she regularly speaks to his Intro to Creativity students, and guest critiques many of his creative courses and senior portfolios.

“Koenig has inspired many of my students with her edgy and illustrative designs and her passion for brand building with environmentally sustainable materials,” Baronet explains.

Koenig now serves on the Meadows 2050 Council to engage and connect Meadows alumni with students and serves as a mentor for The SMU Network.

To learn more about The SMU Network or sign up, please visit: https://smunetwork.com/

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