Advanced Advertising Strategies is a "capstone" class for senior Advertising and IDM (Interactive Digital Media) majors at Northwest Missouri State University. The idea is to replicate a real work environment as much as is possible for a college course. To this end, we work with one real client the entire semester, solving real issues related to integrated marketing, advertising, internet publishing, and promotions. Classes are run like business meetings, and students are assigned to both a research team and an implementation team.
The course is taught by Jacquie Lamer, instructor in the Mass Communication department. Kevin Fullerton, owner of Springboard Creative advertising agency in Kansas City, Kan., is a consultant to the class and students. Kevin, who also serves as president of the AAF-KC, not only attends at least four of the 16 class sessions, he also helps students via telephone and email. Because of Kevin's creative experience and his genuine interest in helping students, most retain Kevin as a mentor for years after the class.
Throughout the semester, students first develop their research, and then their creative ideas. Several weeks are spent researching the client, the industry, the product and the target audience. From there, students prioritize issues, then plan, and ultimately build, solutions. By the end of the course, the students will have gone through the entire campaign process for a real client, and present their work to the client at the client's headquarters. Typically, their work consists of all aspects of marketing communication: advertising, internet marketing, social media, direct mail, promotions, search engine optimization, web usability, and essentially any relevant solution the students think will be of value to the client.
The class is intense and a strain on both a student's time and team-building abilities. But in the end, they all have a very strong portfolio piece, and some substantial interview talking points!