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.

ALUMNI UPDATE: Leveraging Graduate Education in the Industry

Temerlin alumna Deja Sanders is a global account supervisor at TracyLocke’s Chicago office. She credits her experience in Temerlin’s graduate program with facilitating her pivot into the advertising industry. “Completing my M.A. at Temerlin in 2018 was hands-down the best decision for my career. Not only was I able to stretch myself academically, but I was also able to tap into a wealth of creative resources from the Dallas area and across the world,” she says.

Sanders also credits challenging conversations with professors and colleagues that taught her how to navigate the clients she manages today. “The care and commitment to TAI students and their professional development is something that I will always appreciate,” she says.

“When I reflect on the tools and theories taught throughout this program, I can honestly say that I deploy many of them on a day-to-day basis. Beyond client relationships and good creative, advertising at its foundation is a psychographic tool leveraged to communicate across communities. Understanding these communities and what makes them tick is where my educational training intersects with my day-to-day role,” Sanders adds. She cites Dr. Sid Muralidharan’s graduate course, Advertising as a Cultural Force, as an impactful learning experience. Sanders studied how advertisers represent and communicate authentically with multicultural and international audiences. She aspires to continue these studies through a Ph.D. in advertising; her goal is to increase research and identify additional tools of engagement for multicultural and international audiences.

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.

Advertising Professor Collaborates With Researchers to Study Homelessness

Willie Baronet, the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, has been buying and collecting homeless signs since 1993. The meaningful conversations Baronet had with the homeless when purchasing signs led to the founding of his not-for-profit We Are All Homeless. Through this organization, Baronet enlists volunteers and students to advocate for the homeless by organizing awareness-building events, including exhibits of collected signs and gathering donations.

In collaboration with a We Are All Homeless 2018 event, Baronet worked alongside researchers from Thomas Jefferson University’s Public Health Department and its director, Dr. Rosemary Frasso, to study the lived experiences of unhoused people who panhandle and their interactions with passersby. “I am so proud that I’ve been able to partner with Dr. Frasso to bring art and science together to create meaningful research to impact the homeless cause,” says Baronet. “Working with her students, and subsequently being a co-author to their research, is something I didn’t expect to be doing. The TAI slogan is Better Advertising. Better World. and the Meadows motto is Start a Movement. I hope that this work can be an example to our students who want to take the lessons we teach about creativity and purpose and find ways to make them a reality.”

Their resulting paper, ‘Even a smile helps’: Exploring the Interactions Between People Experiencing Homelessness and Passersby in Public Spaces, was published in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry this January. Forty semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants who were approached while panhandling and asked to describe their experiences asking for help in public and accessing homelessness services, as well as what they wished to share with those passing by. Participants’ experiences were consistent with loneliness, as characterized in the literature as distress at lack of social connection, and were also notable for the verbal and physical violence endured in public spaces. Many shared personal histories of tragedy and called for greater empathy and compassion from passersby, as well as society as a whole, for people experiencing homelessness. The researchers said that because social isolation and trauma are detrimental to mental health in this vulnerable group, interventions to support this population should provide opportunities for consistent, supportive social connections and focus on providing low-barrier, stable housing.

Dr. Frasso, the organizing researcher, adds, “This collaboration helped us both grow as scholars and educators. Working with colleagues outside your home discipline is powerful and together we were able to shed light on the lives of people experiencing homelessness, through art (the amazing exhibit we held at Jefferson) and through traditional public health channels, such as peer-reviewed literature.”

FACULTY RESEARCH: Graduate Student Co-Authors Article with Temerlin Faculty

Dr. Sid Muralidharan, associate professor, and Dr. Carrie La Ferle, Marriott Endowed Professor of Ethics and Culture, have been researching the effectiveness of domestic violence messaging on bystander reporting. Last fall, Dr. Sid invited Temerlin graduate student Lauren Howard to join their research for a third study exploring domestic violence prevention messaging.

The first two studies explore the outward-facing emotional response to ad messaging. The first study, published in the Journal of Advertising, compares guilt and shame ad appeals. A subsequent study published in the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing focuses on opposing emotional ad appeals – shame versus hope. Between both these studies, hope is found to be the more effective emotion in motivating bystanders to intervene. The most recent study, which Howard co-authored alongside Dr. Sid and Dr. La Ferle for Social Marketing Quarterly, pivots inward to compare the effects of guilt and hope messaging in relation to “independent self-construal,” the extent to which people view themselves as separate and distinct from others. Those with high independent self-construal are more apt to promote themselves positively and tend to be driven and have high self-esteem. In contrast, people with low independent self-construal tend to be less ambitious with lower self-esteem.  Findings reveal that hope messaging engages both low and high independent self-construal, whereas guilt messaging pushes those with low self-construal to distance themselves from potential bystander intervention.

“Through this independent study, I learned a lot about how we are still facing the impact of patriarchal societies’ dominance in many cultures worldwide,” says Howard. “This is important as it affects how people see, feel, and act upon domestic violence and the advertisements associated with bystander intervention. It is crucial that advertisers pay attention to what emotion resonates with consumers and encourages action when creating ads to promote bystander intervention.”

Temerlin faculty engage graduate students through a variety of work such as case studies, primary and secondary research, and agency internships to ensure students have exposure to the vast array of disciplines within the advertising industry. Learn more about Temerlin’s graduate program here.

FACULTY RESEARCH: Hope Inspires Bystander Intervention

Temerlin’s Dr. Sid Muralidharan and Dr. Carrie La Ferle have published a follow-up to their 2019 study, which explores emotional appeals in public health messaging to mitigate domestic violence in India.  According to UN Women, a global database on violence against women, India reports a 288% lifetime rate of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, compared to 29% in the U.K., 269% in Argentina, and 38% in Turkey. These wide-ranging domestic violence rates by country underscore the importance of research for domestic violence prevention messaging.

The original study, published in the Journal of Advertising, found shame messaging, compared to guilt, to be the more effective message to inspire bystander intervention. In the follow-up study recently published in the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Dr. Sid, associate professor, and Dr. La Ferle, the Marriott Endowed Professor of Ethics and Culture, compare shame to hope in public service announcement messages. This study finds that bystanders are motivated to act when hope, more so than shame, messaging is utilized. “Social marketers would benefit from crafting domestic violence prevention messages that are framed with a strong hope appeal, i.e., a positive outcome of saving the victim will be achieved by calling the helpline,” Dr. Sid explains. For bystanders, hope is the key to motivating action through goals, agency, and pathways; therefore, marketers have to integrate these three components in their messaging. In other words, saving the victim from further abuse (goal) can be achieved by providing a helpline number (pathway), and the anonymity and ease of calling the helpline will increase motivation to help (agency).

While advertising is often perceived as a way to sell goods, the importance of research on domestic violence prevention messaging underscores for society the ethical component of advertising. Dr. Sid and Dr. La Ferle teach courses such as Advertising as a Cultural Force, Advertising Society and Ethics, and Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship to Temerlin’s undergraduate and graduate students. Through their ongoing research, Temerlin professors play an active role in providing solutions to serious issues.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Willie Baronet on Human-Centered Design

Temerlin Professor Willie Baronet began buying signs from the homeless in 1993 to connect and learn more about the journey of those on the streets, which eventually led to the WE ARE ALL HOMELESS project. “Like many, I wrestled with whether or not I was doing good by giving them money,” says Baronet. “Mostly I struggled with my moral obligations and how my own choices contributed, in conscious or unconscious ways, to the poverty I witnessed. 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.” Twenty-seven years later, he has collected around 2000 signs, which he uses to raise awareness for the homeless through events and exhibitions.

Earlier this year, Baronet was featured in a group exhibition, Houseless, at the Anchorage Museum. Some 500 collected signs were on display as part of a larger conversation: Could artists use design to find solutions to combat homelessness? According to the museum, “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 in our own community. It supports individuals and communities in problem-solving together.” The exhibit concluded last month and included events such as Houseless Panel Conversation: Problem-Solving Through Design and Intersections of Domestic Violence and Homelessness for artists and the community to engage in a dialogue to discuss these challenging issues. Baronet’s cross-country sign collecting documentary, Signs of Humanity, was also featured as part of this exhibition.

More recently, Baronet was featured on Fox News regarding the second annual Home Is A Journey march, which took place November 14 at SMU to raise awareness about homelessness, compassion, gratitude and privilege. The event collected donations for two Dallas-based nonprofits, The Bridge and Vogel Alcove, that support the local homeless community. Participants also assisted with the socially distant assembly of blessing bags (snacks to hand out to the homeless) and learned about the Dallas homeless community through various speakers at the event. Home Is A Journey concluded with a march across campus in which each masked participant silently carried a homeless sign. Baronet explains, “It is important to recognize privilege, especially now. It’s also important to see each other as humans. I hope that WE ARE ALL HOMELESS provides inspiration and resources for students and our community to connect with those on the fringes of society.”

Baronet finds a direct correlation between this passion project and teaching creativity in advertising. “First, homeless signs are one of the purest forms of advertising,” he says. “Second, as a creative project, it is a great example of how creativity IS problem-solving and that creating compelling content is the best way to persuade people. This past year, one of the posters I designed for a WE ARE ALL HOMELESS exhibit was accepted into the Communication Arts Design Annual, the most prestigious design competition in the world. It’s hard to find a stronger intersection than that.” In addition, many of Baronet’s students volunteer outside of class with some aspect of the project, whether it’s helping kids at a workshop, assisting with an installation, or participating in the Home Is a Journey march across campus.

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.