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.
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.”
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:
Showing your best work.
Making sure big ideas are supported by great craft.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
The AAF American Advertising Awards is one of the industry’s largest creative competitions, attracting nearly 35,000 professional and student entries each year through local club competitions. Temerlin creative students won NINE American Advertising Awards (ADDYs) at the 2020 AAF Dallas awards show last week. “Our students represented us well in front of the Dallas advertising community tonight and with so many gold, silver and Best of Show winners advancing on, we’ll keep representing SMU at the regional and national levels” explains Professor Mark Allen.
Creative students have worked very hard over the past semester to produce several award-winning campaigns, and we couldn’t be happier to see them succeed. Professor Willie Baronet shares: “I’m so proud of all our students for killing it tonight, especially Gaelle and Anna Rose for taking home BEST OF SHOW! And kudos to the TAI team for creating space for these students to flex their creative brilliance!”
BEST OF SHOW
Anna Rose Corell & Gaëlle Gachelin / P3 (Magazine Advertising)
Anna Rose Corell & Gaëlle Gachelin / P3 (Magazine Advertising)
Sydney Bottum & Sophie Vos / Hello Fresh! (Magazine Advertising)
Olivia Childs / Keurig (Magazine Advertising)
Abby Coon & Charlie O’Brien / Slip (Poster)
Sam Smith, Avery Bouch, EJ Niemczyk / Beyond Meat (Integrated Campaigns)
Sam Smith, Avery Bouch, EJ Niemczyk / Beyond Meat (Illustration)
Olivia Childs & James Klopp / Native Deodorant (Illustration)
Anna Rose Corell & Gaëlle Gachelin / Diptyque (Animation or Special Effects)
TAI Professor Mark Allen was one of six local advertising professionals to act as a judge for the BBB Serving North Central Texas’s video contest. Students from seven local high schools created 1-minute PSAs about BBB’s services to illustrate the contest theme, “Be Smart. Be Informed,” to North Texas consumers.
Students from local high schools Berkner High School, Booker T. Washington High School, Lagrone Advanced Technology Complex, Lincoln High School, New Tech High School @Coppell, Richardson High School, and Rockwall High School were selected to participate in the competition because of their strong film, journalism, and audio video production programs.
“I was totally blown away by the talent of the students and the advanced capabilities of the winning high school programs—in fact, I had a hard time believing that these were just high school students,” Professor Allen said. “I was equally impressed with the teachers I met from Richardson High School, Berkner High School and New Tech High School in Coppell. I have been talking with all three since the competition and we are making plans to have their students visit SMU to discuss opportunities for collaboration between our students in the future. I’m hoping some of these students might consider applying to TAI’s creative track in the future—we’d sure love to have them.”
The videos were judged on production quality, creativity, the teams’ ability to market them, and effectiveness at representing BBB. The first phase of the contest took place online. The 17 videos submitted racked up an impressive 320,259 likes on this site. The second phase of the contest took place on one of BBB|NCTX’s Facebook pages, where students were encouraged to promote the videos among their friends on Facebook.
The winning team was from New Tech High School in Coppell for their video titled, “Don’t be scammed by this guy.” Berkner High School and LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex placed in the top three. The schools of the winning teams will collectively receive $4,000 in donations to their Audio Visual programs. The students of the winning team will each receive a GoPro digital video camera and cash prizes. The winning video will be used in BBB|NCTX marketing efforts for 2018.
TAI also had an information booth at the BBB Student Video Contest Prize Ceremony on December 7.
TAI’s advertising students are encouraged to take advantage of as many internship opportunities as possible. Creative track student Jolie Guz has followed that advice, which has allowed her to gain valuable experience in different industries as well as help shape her career goals for the future.
This semester, Guz is a copywriting intern for stationery company Read Between The Lines®.
“As a copywriting intern, I help write copy of all kinds!” Guz said. “From email newsletters to blog posts to Instagram captions, I help carry the voice of the Read Between The Lines® brand. Primarily, I focus on Instagram captions for our daily posts which are viewed by over sixteen thousand followers as well as product descriptions for the online portion of our business – we add new products from our favorite makers each week!”
Guz has been fascinated with Read Between The Lines® for a while. She actually won one of their Instagram giveaways when she was in high school. Since starting her internship she has learned even more about the brand.
“I have learned an incredible amount about SEO and how to write copy in our brand voice while still being able to add my own style,” Guz said. “I have also learned the value of gift giving! Each person that comes into the shop has a different story or experience that drives the way they make a purchase. I love hearing customers make comments on certain cards or phrases they find relatable.”
Her priority is writing Instagram captions for daily posts. She also works with the graphic design intern and creative manager to create newsletter emails for the week. Outside of her regular responsibilities she also gets to work with new makers and products and attend maker events.
“When we add new makers and products to the shop, I get to help write the descriptive copy that introduces our customers to the new maker!” Guz said. “I was [also] able to travel to Silo-Bration, which is a huge independent maker shopping event at the Silos in Waco, TX. It was awesome to be able to interact with people who are so passionate about the products we create and to meet all of our Instagram followers in real life!”
Many of her creative courses and professors helped prepare her for a copywriting position, as she’s been able to get lots of practice and feedback.
“The copywriting practice I gained in [Professor Allen] and [Professor Baronet] Portfolio classes has been insanely helpful when it comes to writing captions and newsletters,” Guz said. “The guidance I’ve received from [Professor] Jason Shipp in his classes has also been influential in the process of writing and re-writing copy of all kinds.”
Prior to this semester, Guz has had several other internship and freelancing positions where she gained experience in several different industries.
“[As a] Branding Intern [for] Page Architecture, I was able to gain experience working within very strict branding guidelines and on architectural photoshoots,” Guz said. “Plus I learned a lot about great architecture! [As a] Design Intern [for] Texas Legends NBA Developmental League Team, I was able to work in the crazy world of sports. I was able to help create stadium signage, jersey designs and merchandise for the team. [As a] Graphic Designer [for] Spirit of America Productions, [a company that] takes high school dance teams to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year, I design postcards and merchandise for the event as well as help walk in the parade in NYC each year!”
With preparation from her courses, previous internship opportunities, and now her position at Read Between The Lines®, Guz has a good idea of the culture she wants in future positions.
“I’ve absolutely loved my time in Temerlin and at SMU,” Guz said. “The people are absolutely priceless in this program, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world! I [also] absolutely love our Read Between The Lines® Team! I know that I want to be surrounded by creative gems of human beings just like them throughout my career.”
Black Eye, a design and marketing communications agency, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. Founded in 1997 by SMU alumnus Chris Stewart (’95, ’97), the agency works for a wide range of clients–from national, blue-chip companies to small local businesses.
To help mark their anniversary, the creative team from Black Eye took the afternoon and evening of October 2 to work with SMU advertising students. Coordinated through SMU Advertising Professors Mark Allen and Willie Baronet, they first assisted in an Advanced Portfolio Critique and later provided an in-depth look at their company and agency-life during a workshop.
“There is nothing like ‘real world’ experience and stories to get our students excited and motivated about their careers,” TAI Professor Willie Baronet said. “Black Eye did a fantastic job of sharing their work, creative approach, and how they got where they are. The students and faculty really enjoyed and appreciated their time and wisdom.”
Black Eye provided food and beverages at the event, which was attended by approximately 25 TAI students. Students were especially interested in advice from creative professionals how to set their portfolios apart, and the differences between working in larger agencies versus smaller studios.
“We’ve never had an entire firm close up shop so they could bring the whole creative team over,” TAI Professor Mark Allen said. “I know our students really appreciated it.”
“We wanted to take a break from our day-to-day, reflect on everything that’s transpired over the last 20 years and give back a little to the University where it all started,” Steward said. “We really enjoyed the experience of working with the students and think they will have bright opportunities.”
The students at Temerlin Advertising Institute greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet and work with creative professionals in the industry.
TAI creative advertising student Riley Frost has been working as an apprentice at Brass Tacks Collective since July. While her experience is considered an internship, it is far from the average agency internship.
“Brass Tacks Collective runs on a paid apprenticeship program,” Frost said. “My day-to-day job is working with a team lead that acts as a guide throughout the creative process for each project. I work with other apprentices in a collaborative rather than competitive manner, and one of these days will be given the responsibility to lead a project.”
Frost was encouraged to apply for the position by TAI creative advertising Professor Willie Baronet, and she has loved her time there since the beginning.
“Our days at Brass Tacks are full of jokes, sing-a-longs, and tons of fun,” Frost said. “We work for several non-profit organizations around the Dallas area, and those heart-warming experiences are some I will never forget. Our team goes into every meeting with confidence and of course a sense of humor. One thing is for sure; boring days at Brass Tacks do not exist.”
Brass Tacks brands themselves as a “teaching agency” that is made up of paid “apprentices” working on local clients. Since starting, Frost has gained valuable skills that she can apply to her future career.
“It has only been about three months since I started working at Brass Tacks, and I have learned so much,” Frost said. “I have learned how to use new programs such as Sketch and Invision, as well as deepened my understanding of the Adobe Programs. Production skills aside, I have learned how the real world of advertising works. Clients can be difficult, but you have to go into each situation poised and patient.”
Frost has also taken the skills she’s learned in her advertising courses and applied them to her work at Brass Tacks.
“Everything I have learned [in my advertising classes] has come into play in some way or another,” Frost said. “The main one though is the importance of having a concept behind any design or campaign.”
Working for such a unique agency has given Frost a perspective on what she wants for her future career in the advertising world.
“It has taught me that I want to work at a small agency rather than a huge machine of a company,” Frost said. “I want to do work for big clients, but also want to give back to the community. Brass Tacks has taught me how to balance both.”
One thing Frost wanted to make sure that everyone knows is that, “Brass Tacks rocks.”
The Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research (TAI) trains students to search for unique solutions in advertising, preparing them for work in advertising agencies, media firms, corporate marketing departments, design studios and more.
Many creative advertising students and professionals alike have a working job as a freelance designer. However, not everyone is able to turn it into a successful job outlet. TAI creative advertising student Wade Burton is currently enjoying success as a freelance designer, while balancing the hefty load of schoolwork that comes with his major.
Burton didn’t start designing with the intention to be a freelancer. After downloading Adobe Illustrator and playing around with it, he became inspired to constantly create.
“It was a very natural progression from there,” Burton said. “Friends and friends of friends started seeing this work I did, probably on my Instagram or Snapchat, and started reaching out. When labels need to be used, I prefer designer to graphic designer simply because when these people tap me for work, what I have realized they want more than my computer clicking abilities is the way I think, and that’s easily the most rewarding part of the freelance work I do.”
Through his experience freelancing, Burton has become firm in his viewpoint of creativity and creative work. He prefers to take a less mainstream approach to his work for clients.
“My learning experiences freelancing are also fairly nontraditional as far as I understand the industry,” Burton said. “[TAI] Professor Mendenhall once spoke to 99% of graphic design work being able to create on the computer screen what your client dictates to you, and 1% being you executing your vision. I took this to heart, and told myself from the start that I always wanted to operate exclusively in that one percent – to the occasional chagrin of Prof. Mendenhall’s project grading rubrics. I made the conscious decision that if I ever wanted to get into design full-time, I would only do so upon being recognized for my personal style. I hold respect for graphic designers, and I hold even more respect for those who break the mold, going against the status quo and earning recognition and praise for it.”
As part of his time in the advertising program, Burton was able to be a member of SMU’s 2016 NSAC Ad Team. Through the Ad Team experience got a glimpse of what it’s like to work under the guidance of superiors.
“Ad Team taught me how to exercise humility and practice respect for authority,” Burton said. “Working under a boss is a subject that my freelance work never really broached on, because I always maintained total control of the product until the contract’s completion. Additionally, Ad Team taught me how rewarding a project’s journey to completion can be once you see it entirely through. Even in summer internships, that feeling of completion is frequently lacking. In the agency world, it can take months or even longer for something like a TV spot to go from project brief to production to airing. Ad Team provided a complete experience of this lifecycle in a single semester, even if it didn’t end on a nationally displayed television commercial.”
TAI’s Creative Advertising program has taught Burton a lot about the creative world, especially the many different approaches to creativity and how to apply that in the advertising industry.
“Temerlin’s Creative program has shaped the way I think about creativity as a whole,” Burton said. “Lots of people will say that you can’t be taught creativity, which I would agree with to some extent. But you can be better taught how to think creatively. Thanks to Mark [Professor Allen] and Willie [Professor Baronet], I have learned to take in everything as inspiration. Whether it’s inspiration for what not to do, or work that I wish I had come up with, I have learned a greater appreciation for everything artistic because sources of inspiration come from all over. Mark and Willie have also taught me the importance of creating good advertising work. Their constant feedback and willingness to help and see us succeed pushes me to always create the best work possible. These are people who I didn’t really know two years ago, and now would be ashamed of disappointing by doing anything short of excelling in this creative program.”
Burton is currently an art direction intern at McCann Humancare, a health subsidiary of McCann New York, where he’s been able to put his creativity to the test.
“It’s a pretty common industry stigma to work in health, or pharma as most people will call it,” Burton said. “So I learned quickly to get over that because worrying about other people’s negative opinions of your job can really slow you down and there’s no time for that, especially when you’re working in NYC. I’ve also come to learn that of the most exciting aspects of working ‘pharma’ is that the extensive restrictions breed creative excellence. The second week that I was here, the McCann Health network swept the floor at Cannes, heading home with 25 Lions. Suffice to say, any lingering fears of having to do mundane work subsided upon receipt of that announcement.”
All of his experiences, both school and work-related, have truly helped shape him as a person and guide him towards having a successful career while leading a healthy lifestyle.
“I believe that all of my experiences speak directly to my strengths of independence and adaptability,” Burton said. “Living in New York City is not easy, especially going into a creative field. Being able to live comfortably on my own and constantly roll with the punches has prepared me for life after graduation. I think independence is something extremely undervalued and under-taught. Having friends and a burgeoning social life is fantastic and undeniably necessary to personal health, but finding your own way in this transition out of college into the workforce doesn’t happen if you exclusively live other people’s lives with them and are afraid to be independent.”
Going to school with a sibling is an experience that many siblings have in their lifetime. However, more rarely do students have the experience of attending the same college as their siblings. Even more rarely are siblings in the same program and major at the exact same time. TAI students and sisters Jessica and Tiffany Giraudon share this experience.
With only a one-year difference in age, Jessica and Tiffany were admitted to the program at the exact same time. The only difference is that Jessica is specializing in Strategic Brand Management while her younger sister Tiffany is on the Creative track.
“Jessica and I have always been competitive but in the best way possible,” Tiffany said. “We don’t want to beat each other as much as we want to push the other to perform at their fullest potential. Having classes together has definitely fostered our competitive side, but also fostered a want to help and see the other succeed. Jessica and I have always had different habits when it comes to school and how we like to get things done so it has been nice to see the way we have evolved and worked together through group projects and various courses.”
The Strategic Brand Management and Creative tracks have very different style classes and subject matter. The Creative track has very hands-on courses that have student constantly producing ads, logos, and other relevant design work. The Strategic Brand Management track focuses more on the account side of advertising, including strategic planning, business development, and brand management. Because of the differences in tracks, Jessica and Tiffany have grown to appreciate the work each other does.
“It wasn’t until I took the Creative Production class that I realized how much time, dedication and skill it takes to produce high quality creative work,” Jessica said. “I view my work in brand management and planning as the precursor to strong creative work. Our job is to provide consumer insight and direction so that the creatives can develop ways to engage consumers by creating an actual ad.”
While many of the classes they take differ because of their specializations, they have taken many of the general core advertising courses together. This has allowed them to grow their relationship in a new way.
“It was always a relief to have a sister in class for multiple reasons,” Tiffany said. “I always had an automatic group partner I knew would pull their weight, I always had a buddy to sit by in class, and I always had someone who understood the work I was doing and could push me to do my best work. It has definitely made the program enjoyable and allowed me to get to know my sister in a new, academic setting.”
Both sisters agree that having a sibling in their same program influenced their experiences for the better.
“Having Tiffany in the advertising program enhanced my experience in the program,” Jessica said. “It equipped me with a better understanding of and appreciation for other disciplines within advertising. It’s interesting to hear her talk about what she’s learning in her classes and impressive to see the work she’s producing.”