ExxonMobil Lecture Series: “Signs of Humanity” Screening

Tuesday, February 28, the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a public screening and Q&A of documentary “Signs of Humanity” at the Angelika Film Center as part of its 2017 ExxonMobil Lecture Series.

Professor Baronet talking to Jennifer and Jesse, a homeless couple in Seattle.

“Signs of Humanity” is a documentary film created by TAI Professor Willie Baronet. The film explores themes of home, homelessness, compassion and humanity as Professor Baronet and his team travel the country collecting over 200 homeless signs and interviewing over 100 people on the streets.

“The event on Tuesday evening really opened my eyes to the important work that Willie is doing, and how many people are willing to help him,” SMU student Dalya Romaner said. “The documentary was beautiful, and I feel that everyone watching it could connect to some aspect of it, whether it was one person he interviewed, or a reason for his project, or even a city he visited. Let’s just say, I now look up to Willie not only as a professor, but as a human being, and a change maker in a world desperately needing change.”

Each year TAI hosts lectures and events as part of the ExxonMobil Lecture Series. The series is one of many ways that TAI advocates its motto “Better Advertising. Better World.” This lectures series helps to promote advertising, media and corporate ethics by hosting events to discuss varying ethical topics that can be related to advertising.

Crowd at the screening event.

“We are so pleased to recognize the creative work of Professor Baronet,” Steven Edwards, Director of the Temerlin Advertising Institute, said. “Offering the public an opportunity to view ‘Signs of Humanity,’ recognize important supporters of the project, and create a space to spur on the conversation about homelessness is part of our larger mission to positively impact our community.”

Many TAI students, as well as faculty and local industry professionals, attended the event. The night started off with a reception and networking, followed by a brief recognition of documentary creator and producers, the screening of the film, and finally a Q&A with Professor Baronet and other producers of the documentary.

“Willie and his filmmakers did a great job of providing an open-minded glimpse into the world of homelessness nationwide,” Romaner said. “They didn’t come in with preconceived notions, they treated everyone as humans, not as homeless people, and it was beautiful to watch. I really feel that it gave everyone an idea of something small we can all do to help the homeless community around us, even as small as acknowledging that they are humans too. I think the most important takeaway from the film, the event, and Willie himself, is that we need to see everyone as people going through their own struggles, and it’s that commonality that gives us the chance to connect so the world is not made up of ‘us vs. them.’”

From left to right: Professor Baronet, Director Tim Chumley, Producer Judy Burch Gass, Producer Eamon Downey

Professor Baronet is doing important work to shine a light on homelessness. The event was an opportunity for the entire faculty and Professor Baronet’s students to celebrate what has been his two-year journey to film, edit, and showcase his project. This work has provided learning opportunities for students to reflect on the intersection of art, advertising, film-making, and creative expression in a persuasive context.

“I loved when Willie said in the film that the sign exhibit isn’t about him, it’s about the people he’s doing this for,” TAI alum Mallory Ashcraft said. “As a writer and former advertising student of Willie’s, I related to that inner dialogue, and I was so inspired by the fact that he tells the story of the homeless very honestly. I think everyone needs to see this film, because it showed me that we can all do more to emotionally support the homeless individuals in our communities and cities.”

“Signs of Humanity” is the product of a larger, ongoing art project, WE ARE ALL HOMELESS, which began when Willie purchased his first homeless sign in 1993. The project’s mission is to create a more compassionate world by creating awareness and provoking conversations about people on the streets, and inspiring others to find and implement solutions to the many causes of homelessness.

Learn more about WE ARE ALL HOMELESS and their Impact Campaign here.

TAI Student Monica Gonzalez Starts Event Planning Company

Many college students dream of starting a business of their own. Get to be your own boss. Work on what you’re passionate about. It’s a student’s dream job. However, many aspiring entrepreneurs never achieve this goal because of the many challenges they may face along the way. TAI student Monica Gonzalez has achieved her dream by starting her own event planning company, D’LUXE Group.

Gonzalez gained experience creating relationships with restaurants, bars, and other vendors while working for UConnection, a recently launched app that provides college students with discounts for off campus dining. She used these connections and her networking ability as a starting block to create her event planning company.

“My experience with UConnection helped me penetrate into the restaurant/bar industry in Dallas,” Gonzalez said. “Based off of the relationships I created from my summer with UConnection, I was able to easily approach the business that I knew would be interested in partnering up with D’LUXE Group, if they had previously shown interest in the SMU market. I never fully understood the power of building relationships until now. These people I took the time to know have given me their unconditional support and would do anything in their power to see D’LUXE Group succeed.”

Monica Gonzalez and her partners Gabriel Gonzalez (left) and Jonathan Garay (right).

Since its inception in December 2016 D’LUXE has helped local sororities and fraternities plan events for their chapters, including SMU’s chapters of Pi Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi, and Phi Delta. Gonzalez has had lots of help along the way, including her partners former SMU Cox student Jonathan Garay and current SMU Cox student Gabriel Gonzalez.

“The three of us have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to the development of our company,” Gonzalez said. “It is incredible to see how each one of us brings something different to the table. We complement each other in our personal strengths and weaknesses.”

Like any other new business, there have been challenges along the way. However, the rewards of creating a business surely outweigh the negatives.

“The most challenging part, like any other entrepreneur might say, is the unlimited hours and effort building a business takes,” Gonzalez said. “And it makes it even harder when you don’t see a profit right away. [However,] the awesome partnerships I’ve created and seeing my friends having the best time ever at the events D’LUXE Group has organized for them is very rewarding.”

Gonzalez has used her advertising education and skills to help her brand her company from scratch. She has also appreciated the help of TAI’s professors and faculty.

“My advertising courses have taught me how to brand a company from the ground up,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve learned the power of promotion and the platforms that should be used to maximize your media budget. I would like to thank TAI for their unconditional support and mentorship. They have always believed in me even when I did not. They are the reason I was brave enough to decline two internships and take a leap of faith in building D’LUXE Group.”

With so much support along the way, Gonzalez has been able to create a business that she is proud of and achieve her dream along the way.

“My career-driven dream and goal has always been to build a business I am passionate about,” Gonzalez said. “D’LUXE Group has not only given me the opportunity to start my own business, but has also gifted me with the privilege of doing what I love most: long-lasting relationships, event planning, and brand building.”

To contact D’LUXE Group, call (512) 563-4073 or email dluxegroupdallas@gmail.com

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 Digital Media Strategy Students Dive Into The Changing Landscape of Fast-Casual Dining

With the success of fast-casual restaurants on the rise, fast-food chains have to find new ways to attract customers as they’re losing market share to their fast-casual competitors. Many restaurants are trying to appeal to the popular consumer segment of Millenials, who seem to value overall experience and atmosphere very highly when it comes to dining out.

Fast-food chains, including KFC, Arby’s, and Taco Bell, have started redesigning their restaurants, inside and out, to appeal to consumers. According to Ad Week, a lot of these chains, Arby’s especially, have seen aging customer bases. Redesigning the physical stores, many of which are outdated, is a way for these chains to increase customer satisfaction in their existing customers, while creating interest in consumers who might not be customers yet.

One view of Dickey's Barbecue Pit's new restaurant layout.
One view of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s new restaurant layout. Photo credit: Franchise Times

“The fast-casual restaurant industry is a market that is still in its growth phase, meaning that there is a lot of room within the market,” TAI Digital Media student Nicholas McCall said. “For the fast food industry, the barriers to entry are almost non-existent due to their already existing supply change. A small change in the food and atmosphere of a fast food restaurant would not be tough to make happen; however, rebranding a company’s [established] brand into a healthy, fast-casual option would be slow to materialize.”

These new and improved store designs have typically followed updates to the stores’ menus, keeping up with changing consumer tastes. The overall idea is for fast-food chains to be able to compete with rising fast-casual restaurants, urging customers to spend more time in the store by providing a better atmosphere and better food options.

“Consumers are busier than ever as well as more focused on their health,” TAI Digital Media student Paige Brown said. “Fast-casual restaurants offer the best options available that provide both of these increasingly influential factors at a reasonable price.”

One view of Dickey's new restaurant layout.
Another view of Dickey’s new restaurant layout. Photo credit: Franchise Times

This semester, TAI’s second year Digital Media Strategy students are working with a class client, Dickey’s Barbecue, in the fast-casual industry in their Digital Media Strategy 3 course. Last year, Dickey’s introduced their newly designed store into the market, with a completely new tone and vibe. Now our students are working to help Dickey’s find innovative ways to bring new consumer segments into their store, mostly through digital efforts.

As we’ve seen, newly designed stores and up-to-date menus are a must-have to be competitive in the market. With fast-casual restaurants continuing to improve, will fast-food chains be able to keep up? Even a newly designed fast-food restaurant might not be enough to beat out the modern feel of a fast-casual restaurant. The stigma surrounding fast food might be hard to overcome for these chains.

TAI Student Mae Murrell Shares Her Internship Experiences

In her last two years at SMU, TAI student Mae Murrell has interned with three different advertising agencies. Through these experiences she has learned the ins and outs of what agency life is like, including culture, work pace, and the responsibilities of different positions.

Currently, Murrell is working at Johnson & Sekin as their account service intern. She is the only intern at the agency right now, so she has gotten to experience working with many different departments.

“When other departments need a helping hand, I’m there to help!” Murrell said. “So far, I’ve created two months’ worth of social calendars for three clients, scheduled and posted posts to all social media platforms, helped in the development of new brand positioning, creating recap decks for the client that include their analytics data, and pitched ideas for client newsletters. Recently, I’ve been dipping my toes in web development and coding.”

Working at a smaller agency, she has gotten to experience the unique culture that comes along with it.

“So far, I have loved the energy of Johnson & Sekin!” Murrell said. “Working in a small agency is so different than a large agency because you get to know everyone on a much deeper level. There may be less people but there certainly is more personality! Everyone in the office is more than just colleagues, they’re friends. From Halloween pranks to happy hours to ‘mystery jelly bean games,’ Johnson & Sekin employees know how to have fun at work.”

All of her internships have helped Murrell realize what facet of advertising she wants to start a career in once she graduates, which is account service.

“Account service did not fall directly into my lap,” Murrell said. “It took some digging to determine that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I started my internship journey in non-profit, moved to project management, and then did media and account service internships simultaneously at Moroch. There I learned that account service was the right place for me. This internship in account service has solidified that I’m on the right career path!”

The slide in Moroch's Dallas office.
The slide in Moroch’s Dallas office.

This past summer, Murrell worked at Moroch Partners here in Dallas. At Moroch she worked as both an account service intern and a media intern, working on clients like Dickies, Wilsonart, McDonald’s and Six Flags.

“At Moroch, I gained a ton of experience about account service,” Murrell said. “I was thrown straight in to working directly with clients and interacting with them regularly. This was the internship that truly taught me the art of how to work in account service. It does not just take organization skills. It’s a mix of every job: creative, technical, analytical and strategic. It’s necessary to have excellent communication and organization but also understand everyone’s role in the agency so that the campaign process can be carried out effectively and efficiently.”

While Moroch helped her discover her passion for account service, Murrell also had an incredible experience interning with Spill Agency in Paris, France. At Spill, she was a project management intern working with clients like Hermes, Chanel, and Memo Paris.

“[Spill] is an agency for luxury brand clients and focused more on the digital side of advertising. I learned how to get work, get it done efficiently, and make myself useful so that my supervisor’s jobs were made easier. In addition, I did the social media for Hermès, which was really fun! I helped with the new website launch of Chanel and Memo which was a lot of work but extremely rewarding.”

Working in a foreign country, Murrell had to adjust to the differences not only of living in a completely different country but also in the workplace. As the only American working at the agency, she easily noticed that the work environment was very different than that of an American agency.

Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“One of the [biggest] differences was the pace of the agency in France,” Murrell said. “In America, the norm is to be consumed by work and be busy all the time. In France, they are leisurely about their work and put socializing first. I would go in to the office at 10am and be the first one there! That said, some days I would leave at 9pm and my colleagues would still be working away. The hours are, for the most part, shorter and end once they leave the office. There is no working at home or out of the office. Work stays at work.”

While her time in Paris was an irreplaceable experience for Murrell, it was unforgettable in more than one way. Completing her internship during the fall of 2015, Murrell found herself in Paris during the time of devastating terrorist attacks. Although she could have chosen to leave Paris after the attacks, Murrell stayed feeling it was her duty to help during the city’s time of need.

“Being in Paris during the attacks was a terrifying experience,” Murrell said. “Not just in the sense that I was scared for my safety but also in the sense that I was seeing the destruction of terrorism right before my eyes. After the attacks, people were like ghosts that wandered the streets of Paris. Each person’s eyes filled with sorrow, sadness, and most of all emptiness. Paris was no longer upbeat and exploding with love; the people lulled through the streets. Everyone had a broken heart: from the crying strangers on the streets to my coworkers mourning their friends, everyone was hurting. There were ‘what ifs’ running through everyone’s minds, and thoughts of how easily it could have been us. From it all, there were bonds that were being created among the people of Paris. Everyone was mourning and came together as a strong, united city.”

Although not every moment of her time abroad was as she had imagined, Murrell still regards her internship in Paris as her favorite thus far.

“Getting to work in Paris was a dream come true! I have always wanted to spend some time in Paris, and getting some advertising experience under my belt at the same time was the icing on the cake. Who knows, maybe I could end up there again someday!”

TAI Students Attend Dallas Networking Events

Last week, both undergraduate and graduate students from TAI participated in multiple networking events making connections with companies across DFW.

Tuesday evening, TAI graduate students went to Ad2Dallas’ Speed Career Connections event. The event had professionals from numerous agencies, including The Company of Others, Inspire Agency, The Richards Group, ReedMitchell, SocialCentiv, TM Advertising and Resolution Media. The Creative Circle also helped attendants by reviewing resumes and providing career guidance.

Attendants at the Ad2Dallas Networking Event Photo credit: Ad2Dallas
Attendants at the Ad2Dallas Networking Event
Photo credit: Ad2Dallas

“I really enjoyed the Ad2Dallas event because it was a fun and casual way to meet working industry professionals,” TAI graduate student Lauren Lombardo said. “They offered some very insightful advice about entering the advertising job market, and it was interesting to hear different perspectives within the industry. It also helped me work on my social skills, and I feel confident now walking up to people and starting a conversation. The Creative Circle even had a resume reviewing station where they offered critiques, which was quite helpful. Overall, it was a great opportunity to network with potential mentors or employers, and I had a wonderful time.”

Thursday afternoon, TAI undergraduate and graduate students attended a Communications Networking Event, jointly hosted by the SMU Hegi Family Career Development Center, TAI, the SMU Chapters of PRSSA and AAF (Ad Club). The event included employers such as Brunswick Group, D Magazine, Omni Hotels & Resorts, Southwest Airlines, The Infinite Agency, TracyLocke Advertising Agency, Weber Shandwick, and more. This event offered students the opportunity to meet industry professionals and make valuable connections for the future.

“The SMU Communications Networking Event was a great experience for me and my fellow peers,” TAI undergraduate student Monica Gonzalez Glenn said. “We got the opportunity to meet some amazing employers from a variety of fields and industries here in Dallas. The employers were very excited to meet us and enthusiastically responded to every question we had. Based on my post-event experience, recruiters have been extremely open to shadowing requests, internship interviews, and willingness to network more.”

A similar career and networking event will take place in the spring on Wednesday, March 1 from 3-5pm in the Hughes-Trigg ballroom. The Temerlin Advertising Institute loves to partner with local Dallas and SMU organizations to provide opportunities for our students to make connections and further their advertising careers.

TAI Student Camryn La Sala Shares Experience Interning with Southwest Airlines This Fall

Dallas, and surrounding suburbs, is full of headquarters for many large national companies. Many of these companies offer a variety of internships in many different fields. Southwest Airlines is one of those companies, headquartered just fifteen minutes away from SMU’s campus. This fall semester TAI Strategic Brand Management student Camryn La Sala has taken the semester off to intern for Southwest Airlines. La Sala is midway through her internship, and has loved every minute of it.

La Sala on her trip to Chicago for WOW! The Customer Day.
La Sala on her trip to Chicago for WOW! The Customer Day.

La Sala applied for multiple fall internship positions with Southwest Airlines last spring. She was contacted in late April to do a phone interview, and had a final in-person interview in mid-July.

“At the time [of my phone interview] I was taking classes at SMU’s campus in Taos, New Mexico so finding cell service was a bit interesting to say the least, but I made it work!” La Sala said. “After not hearing back from Southwest for weeks, I assumed they found someone else to fill the internship position. Then come mid-July they asked if I was able to come to Headquarters and do an in-person interview. I spent my summer back home in New York, so they graciously flew me down the night before my interview and put me up in a hotel room at the Double Tree not too far from Dallas Love Field Airport and Headquarters. About two weeks after my in-person interview I heard back from the Southwest Airlines hiring team and was offered the position!”

As the Brand Communication Intern, La Sala is part of the greater Brand Management team. Although her responsibilities change on a regular basis, her overall job is the make her supervisor and team’s projects easier by providing them any assistance they may need.

“Every day as a Brand Communications Intern at Southwest Airlines is different,” La Sala said. “No matter what, I know that I will walk into the office every day to a welcoming team that strives to make sure that I have the best internship experience possible. This is my fourth internship, and I definitely could not say that about all my past experiences.”

La Sala has especially enjoyed the culture at Southwest Airlines, where she feels like part of the team and not just an intern.

“Every employee at Southwest Airlines is treated like an equal, including interns,” La Sala said. “When I was working at the Chicago Airport for WOW! The Customer Day last month, my team consisted of two full time employees as well as the Senior Director of Marketing, whom made a point to ask me my name and have a conversation with me. It is important to be nice to everyone because at Southwest Airlines you really never know if you’re talking to an entry level employee or the VP of marketing.”

So far, La Sala’s favorite memory was being flown to Chicago for Southwest’s “WOW! The Customer Day,” part of Southwest’s YES Activation. She was part of a team that gave away prizes to customers, including Rapid Reward vouchers, drink coupons, gift cards from Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

“For the whole day we interacted with Southwest Airlines customers by playing gate games,” La Sala said. “At one point we had a rock, paper, scissors tournament with eight different people! It was just a really awesome feeling handing out free gifts to our customers just because we love them. Southwest Airline’s culture is one of the most important parts about their company and it was nice to go out into the field and show that to people first hand. It was also very cool meeting the CEO of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, when walking through the MDW airport later in the day!”

As Southwest Airlines is a major company, La Sala has found herself working on advertising campaigns that she had previously learned about in her advertising classes at SMU.

“It is super rewarding learning about certain things in a classroom and then coming to work at one of the best companies in the world to see it all play out,” La Sala said. “This internship has taught me to think on my feet. You always need to have your notepad ready, to prepare for the next task. You always want to be prepared. I bring my notebook with me to every meeting!”

Although she is only part of the way through her internship, La Sala is already advocating for Southwest, encouraging other students to apply.

“Interning at Southwest Airlines is worth the hype,” La Sala said. “I could not have asked for a more amazing company to work for. If any other SMU students are thinking about applying to intern or work at Southwest Airlines, do it! It will be a great experience, no matter what the outcome is!”

TAI & AAF Dallas Co-Host Breakfast Event with Government Affairs Speaker Clark Rector

Wednesday, September 21, Temerlin Advertising Institute, joined with AAF Dallas and 4A’s, hosted an event called “Broccoli for Breakfast.” The event offered breakfast to all attendees and a guest speaker Clark Rector, EVP Government Affairs for AAF, and his lecture “A Targeted Industry in an Unpredictable Political Environment.”

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Speaker Clark Rector at the podium.

As the EVP Government Affairs for AAF, Rector is in charge of the grassroots lobbying efforts of the AAF and its’ members. They have been successful in defeating ad tax proposals and other threats to the advertising industry in Congress.

Many industry professionals, including various TAI professors, made their way to the SMU campus to hear Rector speak about the effects of politics on the advertising industry and what the advertising community can do to get involved.

“I really enjoyed Clark’s speech about the role of advertising in our local and national economy,” TAI Professor Eunjin (Anna) Kim said. “As he said, people think [about] advertising negatively, such as advertising promotes materialism, ignores fundamental needs but creates unnecessary desires, and deceives consumers. It’s not easy for us to think about positive side of advertising, even for me. As an advertising faculty, I can say, ‘well advertising provides information, educates consumers, and even sometimes is entertaining.’ But that’s all that I can think of. I haven’t really thought about the economic role of advertising. It creates millions of jobs and boosts sales, representing 15% of the total economic output in the State. Advertising indeed pays a vital role in our society, just like the event name, ‘Broccoli for Breakfast’!”

Attendees in the Martha Mack Proctor Ballroom at SMU.
Attendees in the Martha Mack Proctor Ballroom at SMU.

TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting guest speakers periodically throughout the year.

TAI Students Support Dallas LOVE Project

BroadrickChandlerThe Dallas LOVE Project, organized in 2013 by 29 Pieces founder and Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Karen Blessen, called for local artists and schoolchildren to create 18-by-18-inch paintings and drawings conveying messages of love and positivity. Ten thousand pieces in all were created by 20,000 artists, some of whom were students in Temerlin Advertising Institute’s Visiting Executive-in-Residence Willie Baronet’s “Introduction to Creativity” class.

Junior advertising student Chandler Broadrick (Advertising/Creative Track, with minors in journalism and graphic design) participated in Baronet’s class and says the Dallas LOVE Project gave her the chance to engage the community on a large scale, while reflecting Dallas in a positive light to the world. Using art in this way really impacts the way we feel towards one another,” she says. Sophomore advertising Tien Dang also took part in this unique project, and drew her inspiration from former president John F. Kennedy.

For more on the Dallas LOVE Project, visit: https://www.smu.edu/Meadows/NewsAndEvents/News/2014/140124-DallasLOVEProject