Thursday May 18, many TAI students attended an Alumni Gathering event in New York City as part of MayTerm courses in New York. They got to mix and mingle with many SMU and TAI graduates from many different classes. These alumni are now thriving in their careers in New York City and took the opportunity to connect with and talk to current students.
Many TAI students have aspirations of working in New York City after they graduate, so getting to meet with alums who were in there shoes merely a few years ago was very motivational for them.
“The event was such a great way to network with the NYC TAI advertising community,” TAI student Joanna Fennessy said. “Especially as a rising senior wanting to work in advertising in the city post graduation, I found the event extremely useful and inspiring. I was able to talk to all kinds of alums working in agencies, with brands, and for consultancies. It broadened my knowledge of the industry and my network within in a city other than Dallas for a change!”
Many TAI students on the Creative track appreciated the chance to meet former TAI Creative students and listen to their advice.
“The networking event was an incredible opportunity for the Creative track students,” TAI student Jolie Guz said. “It was crazy to meet other creatives who were in our shoes on the same trip a year ago, but are now working for agencies like Digitas and Wieden+Kennedy. I was not only able to meet SMU alumni in the New York area on this trip, but I also had the chance to get closer with a lot of my friends in the creative track as well.”
All the students on the New York trip appreciated the occasion to bond with fellow students and to learn more about advertising opportunities in New York.
“The New York trip gave me key insights to not only what some of the top agencies in the industry are about, but helped better my understanding of what kind of agency I want to work for,” TAI student Samantha Shearson said. “I was so impressed with this trip and all of the SMU alums’ generosity on taking time out of their days to make this trip special for us. This trip exceeded all my expectations and will inspire me to work harder on my book.”
Recent TAI graduate Marissa Lopez (’16) is now working as a Junior Art Director at BBDO in New York. Lopez has quite an impressive resume, participating in both the NSAC Ad Team and AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student (MPMS) program along with a variety of internships during her undergraduate career. Every unique experience that she had in college prepared her for the career she has now.
Lopez took advantage of all the internship opportunities she could. She had three advertising internships during her college career, at both large and small advertising agencies and directly for a brand. Working for such different companies allowed Lopez to get an idea of her ideal workplace.
“The summer before my Senior year was when I had my first advertising agency experience,” Lopez said. “I was an art director intern at Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency located in Dallas. I had the opportunity to work on Cricket Wireless, LaLa Yogurt, and AT&T accounts. When I returned to school in the fall I started an internship at Southwest Airlines as a digital marketing and design intern. I took this opportunity because I was interested in seeing the difference between advertising at an agency versus in-house. At Southwest I got to focus on how print translates into the digital sphere and website design. In the Spring of my senior year I worked at a smaller, boutique agency called Willow St. located in Deep Ellum. It was a great experience and I learned so much. The perk of a small agency at an intern level is the one-on-one time you get with industry professionals. During my time at Willow St. I designed packaging, a website and was constantly producing social media content for various brands. I think working at a smaller agency while still in college helped me to really focus in on my graphic design skills.”
All of these internship opportunities taught her some very important lessons that helped prepare her for her job today. While each taught her different skills and lessons, she took away several pieces of advice that can be applied to all internship experiences.
“Some of the most important things my internships taught me were how important work environment/company culture is, time management, and how to successfully handle direction and criticism,” Lopez said. “Once you set foot in the advertising industry you’ll be quick to notice that no one is going to hold your hand. It’s sink or swim, and you have to self-motivate and even fake it till you make it at times. The sooner you can get exposed to that, the better.”
Along with internships, Lopez had the opportunity to be a member of SMU’s NSAC Ad Team. She served as both a creative and a presenter on the team, giving her first hand experience in campaign design and pitching a campaign.
“My experience on the NSAC Ad Team was one of the most rewarding,” Lopez said. “At the end of the day, you have to be able to work with people regardless of what you do or where you’re working. Being able to be a ‘team-player’ is so cliché but it’s the truth. You want people to want to work with you. It’s how you get your hands on the best accounts and work. Ad Team is the closest experience you get to what working on a campaign at a professional level is like, and I’m so lucky to have gotten that exposure. I walked away with so much more confidence as a presenter, and also with a greater understanding of how important it is to put egos aside, be flexible and successfully work with others.”
Once starting her job at BBDO, Lopez quickly learned that while the campaigns she worked on in school have the same elements as campaigns at work, they also differ in many ways.
“In college when you’re working on campaigns for class or Ad Team, you have more creative freedom than you probably ever will again,” Lopez said. “Take advantage of that. The campaigns I’ve worked on at BBDO have a lot in common to Ad Team; there’s a brief, a target, a budget, a team you work with, and some type of deliverables. The biggest difference is the turnaround is not a few months, but instead a week, maybe if you’re lucky two.”
While all of the previous experiences helped her gain skills and lessons for working at an advertising agency, Lopez attributes her current job to AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student program.
“MPMS is what got my foot in the door at BBDO,” Lopez said. “It was an extremely rewarding experience, and I was very honored to be given the award. It was so refreshing to see how diversity plays a role in the industry and how it is becoming such a large part of it. I was very fortunate to meet a BBDO recruiter that saw my potential at the awards program. Exposure and networking is so crucial. Take advantage of every opportunity, contest, award show etc. You never know who you will meet.”
After graduation, Lopez moved to New York to start her internship with BBDO. Soon after, she knew that she wanted to work there full-time, so she worked extremely hard to prove that she deserved the position.
“The internship was a wonderful experience, and I fell in love with the BBDO company culture and everyone I was working with,” Lopez said. “All of the creatives and the creative work I was surrounded by was extremely inspiring and I knew right away that I wanted to stay past summer and get hired on full-time. I did anything and everything over the course of the summer to prove that I deserved to stay. I worked late hours, weekends, and said ‘yes’ to every opportunity. After 5 months of interning, I was offered a full-time position as a Junior Art Director on the PepsiCo account and have been hard at work ever since.”
Lopez has used the skills she learned in her advertising and graphic design courses at SMU to achieve the success she has today.
“So much of what I learned in my advertising classes at SMU have translated and helped me in my job now,” Lopez said. “Being able to share and talk about your work is probably the most important one. You have to be able to believe in your ideas and get others to as well. At BBDO there are many people your work has to go through before it actually reaches the client, so you’ve got to be able to pitch and talk about it with confidence. All of the Graphic Design and Portfolio classes that required me to present and create presentations to show my work have all helped me so much today.”
Throughout her experiences, Lopez learned the importance of networking and being able to set yourself apart from others. She hopes that her advice can help current students achieve their goals as well.
“Network and meet as many people in the industry as you can,” Lopez said. “Most people are willing to help and share advice. Also, find a strength that sets you apart from others. It doesn’t even have to be a skill; maybe it’s a personality trait. Everyone is talented and creative, but find that passion or trait that’s unique to you and showcase it in your work, portfolio, or resume. People like to see passion. Also, just be nice. Working hard and being kind and genuine will actually get you places!”
TAI Alum (’11) Jenny Lanier has had a very successful career since her graduation from SMU. In her three years as an Art Director at Moroch, Lanier accomplished a lot, working with clients like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Mattress Giant. Recently, Lanier was featured in the 2016 Communications Arts Advertising Annual.
“I was featured in the Communications Arts Advertising Annual for a billboard for McDonald’s,” Lanier said. “The assignment was to push $1 beverages in markets during the summer. Our client wanted something more special. My team and I thought it would be interesting to have a temperature gauge on the billboard to say that each degree of heat is just another reason to grab a drink at McDonald’s.”
To be featured in the Communications Arts Advertising Annual is a very special honor for former advertising students. TAI Creative Advertising Professor Mark Allen, also Lanier’s former professor, refers to it as “the golden ring” for creatives.
“It’s special [to me] because it was a publication I frequently referred to as a student,” Lanier said. “CA Annuals were required books for all of our advertising classes. I remember we would go through and flag the campaigns that resonated with us – ones that we wish we had thought of. To think a student might do that with the project I worked on makes me smile.”
This year, Lanier and her team at Moroch won a gold ADDY in the OOH & Ambient category for their McDonald’s “Refresh” campaign. Lanier also won a silver ADDY in 2014 for an Interactive Web Banner for McDonald’s called “Up and At ‘Em.”
“Everyone loves to be told ‘good job,’ especially when you work really hard,” Lanier said. “These awards are just a little pat on the back that let you know you’re on the right track. I was always proud of my peers for getting published or winning awards. It feels good to experience those honors firsthand.”
Lanier attributes a lot of her career success to her time in the creative department at TAI, from the student and faculty connections she made to the practical skills she carried into her career.
“I felt incredibly lucky to be under the tutelage of two amazing professors in the creative department: Mark Allen and Glenn Griffin,” Lanier said. “To say they changed my life is an understatement. When I was in the program, they inspired all of us to want to be great while empowering us to get there ourselves. More practically speaking, the rigor of the program helped prepare me to meet deadlines and practice professionalism with my clients. I also met many talented students who have remained very close friends. Having a tight network of alums is invaluable.”
Currently, Lanier is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. She’s recently accepted an offer to be a Software Designer at IBM in Austin, which she will be starting next summer.
“It’s an exciting time to work in technology,” Lanier said. “I’m eager for all of the opportunities that await me at IBM. My goals for my career have always been to keep learning, work hard, and be proud of myself at the end of each day. I do see myself teaching somewhere down the line. I remember SMU and SCAD professors who made a huge impact on my life. Having a positive influence on other potential students would be extremely gratifying.”
Throughout her undergraduate, graduate, and career experiences, Lanier has learned valuable lessons that she hopes to impart on people who are in the same position she was once in.
“To the creative track students: take advantage of being in Professor Allen’s class,” Lanier said. “It is rare to find someone who not only cares about your academic development, but also cares about you as an individual. Professor Allen is brilliant and I felt like I became smarter just by breathing the same air as he did! So listen to him. To everyone [all students]: Make good connections with both your classmates and professors. Perform in ways that make people want to be on your team. I think you can get a lot of opportunities by being a kind, honest, and hardworking person. Employers will invest in your education and training if they want to work with you.”
For anyone, student or not, looking for a job or trying to establish a name for themselves, Lanier suggests using social media to help build your personal brand.
“On a more tangible level, use your social media presence as a way to show your personality,” Lanier said. “People will comb the depths of the Internet to look you up, so make sure what you say reflects you accurately. If you love photography, showcase your talents on Instagram. If you fancy yourself a comedian, fill your Twitter with shareable one-liners. There are a lot of ways you can convey your personality online, so take advantage of what’s most appropriate for you. An interviewer once brought up one of my Tweets in a meeting because he thought it was really funny. It sounds silly, but it isn’t. Take your personal brand seriously because you always have an audience.”
On Monday, September 12, first-year TAI Creative Advertising students in Professor Mark Allen’s Concepting class were given an opportunity that many students will never get – to show their work to multiple industry professionals and get feedback from people who are currently working in the field.
Professor Allen calls it “Speed-Dating Critique.” Each professional is stationed at a separate table to speak one-on-one with the students, who will each have a stack of 50-60 concept sketches loosely organized by similar concepts and themes. Students spend roughly ten minutes with at least three to four different professionals throughout the class period, receiving feedback on which of their ideas are most promising.
“I do this event twice every semester,” Professor Allen said. “But this time the response from the local advertising community has been overwhelming—we typically have 4-5 professionals volunteer to review work, but this time I [had] 14-16!”
Some of the professionals who participated in the critique include: Steve Grimes, Creative Director (CD) at The Richards Group; Shelby Tamura, Art Director (AD) at The Richards Group; Dr. Ben Wyeth, Copywriter at The Richards Group and SMU Adjunct Professor; Randall Kenworthy, Freelance Copywriter; Greg Hunter, Group Creative Director (GCD) and Principal at Firehouse; Julie Bowman, Senior CD at Slingshot; Jose Benitez, Senior Copywriter at Dieste; Arturo Lee, AD at Dieste; Jason Shipp, GCD at Moroch and SMU Adjunct Professor; Matt Villanueva, Associate Creative Director at Moroch; and Matt Lindner, Copywriter at Moroch.
“I gained some priceless advice after talking with industry professionals during Concepting,” sophomore TAI student Jolie Guz said. “I still cannot believe that in my third week in the Creative program, we were able to put our work in front of art directors and copywriters from The Richards Group, Moroch and more. I am looking forward to being able to meet more and more Dallas area creatives during my time in Temerlin!”
Several of these advertising professionals are alums of TAI, having attended SMU for their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. Having successful professionals visit an undergraduate class to provide input on student work is an incredible experience. However, having successful professionals who were once in your exact same position (in the same program at the same school) is an invaluable experience, providing students with even more motivation and confidence to be successful in their careers after graduation.
The Temerlin Advertising Institute offers students the opportunity to earn a BA in Advertising while specializing their knowledge in one of three key industry areas: Creative, Digital Media Strategy, and Strategic Brand Management. The major is designed to provide students with the optimal blend of theory and practice. Learn more about the major and specializations here.
In July of 2009, TAI Alum Jordan Kretchmer (’06) founded Livefyre, a content marketing and engagement platform. In the past seven years Livefyre has grown tremendously, acquiring customers like CNN, Coca-Cola, Major League Baseball, and Cisco. Due to their growing success, Livefyre caught the eye of Adobe, who has since acquired and integrated it into their Adobe Experience Manager.
In his time at SMU, Kretchmer was a member of Praxis, SMU’s award-winning Ad Team, for two consecutive years. He served as Vice President and Creative Director and was a presenter for the Visit Florida campaign, which won the 2004 National Championship in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.
Kretchmer had a successful career in advertising before founding his company. He worked as an Art Director at Tribal DDB, VP Associate Creative Director at Mullen, Associate Creative Director at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, and Vice President Brand at Current TV. He is also currently on the Board of Directors at Mashable and is a Venture Partner at Draft Ventures and will continue his work as CEO of Livefyre, while also working with Adobe.
After being acquired by Adobe in May, Livefyre became a product available within the Adobe Experience Manager, as well as remaining a stand-alone service outside of Adobe. According to Adobe, “[Livefyre is] an all-new capability of Adobe Experience Manager that lets you tap into everything shared on the web to create a constant flow of fresh and high-quality content on your own sites.”
The purpose of Livefyre is to allow companies access to user-created content in one aggregated location. Originally Livefyre was created as a commenting platform, where companies can gather all the comments being posted online about their product, service or event, in one place. Many of the major news sources, including Fox News and CNN, use this aspect of Livefyre to display comments during live events, like political debates.
In an interview with Branding magazine, Kretchmer explained “when you integrate user-generated content with professionally-created content you get to tell your story alongside all of your best fans.” Livefyre was created to be this solution for brands, and now the company that Kretchmer created from scratch seven years ago is providing that solution to some of the biggest brand names on one of the biggest platforms available, Adobe.
On June 18th, I had the incredibly opportunity to participate in the 10th Annual Home Team Build here at The Richards Group. As a recent graduate of the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU, I was excited about joining the working world, but was nervous about that whole “work/life balance” everyone kept talking about. Community service has been an ongoing theme and hobby in my life, and I wasn’t sure where that would fit into a busy, new schedule. But when I joined The Home Depot account at TRG, I was thrilled to learn that I was joining a team of people who were equally passionate about giving back.
Years ago, The Home Depot committed to an annual day of service to help those in need. In response, the team of people working on The Home Depot account here at The Richards Group decided to make the same commitment. For ten years, the Home Team has raised money and fixed up the homes of local Dallas families in need of a helping hand. And this year, we took on two houses, instead of one.
I pulled up to work at 6:00 in the morning, and was greeted by my surprisingly enthusiastic-for-it-being-so-early coworkers. We got on the bus and headed to work. We ripped up carpets. We chipped off old paint. We installed brand new appliances. We got dirty, sunburnt, and wow are we sore. But none of that mattered when the homeowners walked through the door at the end of the day, because we realized the difference that our work had made.
My education at TAI showed me that this is an industry where there are unlimited opportunities to give back, you just have to have the courage to take them. And boy, am I glad I did.
About the Author
Erin Hedrick is a 2015 MA in Advertising graduate from the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU, with a BA in Film & Media Arts. She currently works as a Brand Manager for The Home Depot account at The Richards Group.
Tuesday November 12, 2013 TAI hosted the Exxon Mobil Lecture Series with Publicis Dallas Advertising Agency at the Angelika. A documentary developed by Publicis Dallas was presented which focused on the 1-in-3 Americans who are just making it paycheck to paycheck. Kelly Gomez of Publicis Dallas and a former graduate of TAI’s BA and MA programs in Advertising was involved in the making of the documentary. The goal of the night was to learn about this growing group of Americans and try to understand how to serve them with products that are worthy of their business. According to Dr. La Ferle, a professor in the Temerlin Advertising Institute, “Each dollar is hard to come by for this group but yet they still need to buy products. The audience began to consider how to serve this group by adding value to brands to make each dollar spent go a little further.”
The night kicked off with many old and new friends and students of the Temerlin Advertising Institute mingling. Previous graduates of the program such as Aubrey Flanigan, Alexandra Watson and AdeDoyin Adebiyi showed up to give their support. Many faculty members came out for the event along with several team members from Publicis Dallas and other agencies in town.
Sally Kennedy, CEO of Publicis Dallas introduced the documentary. Following the film, a panel made of up Rosalyn Rawitscher, VP and Group Planning Director at Publicis Dallas and Steve McGehee, SVP and Group Account Director discussed the creation of the documentary and the implementation of the work to help clients such as CiCi’s better position their brands to this consumer group. Dr. Carrie La Ferle also spoke on the panel highlighting how advertisers can use this informative information to build stronger relationships between consumers and brands by speaking to consumers where they are and with the needs they are currently experiencing.
Dr. Steve Edwards, Director of the Temerlin Advertising Institute, who organized the night said “The research and documentary by Publicis Dallas was a great opportunity to share this with our current students, our alumni working in industry and the Dallas advertising community at large.” He went on to say “TAI believes that advertising is a tool that can be used to enhance brands and build relationships with consumers while also providing for positive outcomes in society. We are believers in our slogan, Better Advertising. Better World and this documentary was just another opportunity to present new ways to consider harnessing the positive power that advertising can bring to consumers, brands and society.”