2013 AdClass

CEO: Courtney Ridenhour

Project Manager: Colleen Paxton

Account Executives:
Ashley Astolfi (head)
Kathryn Risi
Anne Buttarazzi

Account Planners:
Kaelin Fraley (head)
Matt Coburn
Ann Burton Gerhardt
Bridget Rooney

Data & Analytics:
Amanda Grywalski (head)
Will Sullivan

Communication Strategists:
Harrison Tucker (head)
Emily Mosh
Ian Shaw
Elizabeth Steitz

New Business:
Katy Stewart (head)
Kat FitzGerald
John Stallé

Creatives:

Copywriters:
Hank Hill
John Shepard

Art Directors:
Katharine Trigg (head)
Olivia Davis
Erin Sullivan

Course Information

Please take these descriptions of the class with a grain of salt. After all, the class is only what you make of it. Do not let the position descriptions seem overwhelming. A huge part of AdClass is the hands-on opportunity to work in a (faux) ad agency. Let what’s below shed some light on how we operate.

CEO (1): The CEO is the brainchild of the entire operation. He or she guides the process and assigns responsibilities to members of the team.

Account Supervisor (1): The account supervisor is the calendar maker of the class. He or she needs to be extremely organized and willing to help out with all aspects of the class. This position’s major responsibility is to set deadlines make sure that they are met.

He or she works with the CEO constantly to make sure the process is running smoothly. Essentially, the account supervisor is second in command. When the CEO is out of the room, the Account Supervisor runs the show.

Account Executive (1): The Account Executive (AE) gets to know the client, their competition, and the industry in which the client operates. The Account Executive is charged with advocating for the client’s needs and communicating these needs to the class. The AE is responsible for researching how the client will respond to strategies proposed by the account planners.

Account Planners (3-4): Account Planners are typically comprised of students from a wide range of majors. In the past Account Planners have included psychology, anthropology, business and philosophy majors. Account Planners do qualitative research of the target market.

They identify problems within the target market and work to develop consumer insights. Planners write a creative brief that describes the brand strategy and the target market.

Communication Strategists (3-4): Communication Strategists take the strategy that the account planners create and find a way to place the message in front of the consumer.

They determine what types of media should be used and the best ways to get consumers to interact with that media.  Communication Strategists also allocate the client’s budget and create a media schedule for the campaign.

Data and Analytics Executives (2): Data and Analytics Executives sort through survey data, AE and Account Planner research, and media databases to find trends and draw conclusions. They work hand in hand with AEs, Planners, and Communication Strategists throughout the research process.

New Business (3): The New Business group is in charge of advertising the advertiser. This position is responsible for persuasively communicating the campaign’s strategy. Their main task is to create the plans book (a magazine type-publication that summarizes the campaign) and the presentation. Generally these team members either know design software or more importantly are willing to learn how to use it.

Creatives (4-6): The creative team will be split between 2-3 Art Directors, 2-3 Copywriters and at least one Video Specialist among the entire division. Copywriters and Art Directors execute the strategy determined by the Account Planners.

Art Directors are not necessarily “artists” but they certainly have a creative gene.  They create the vision for the advertisements and help determine how the ads speak to the client. Art directors create the executions (images, video, etc.) that turn into the campaign’s ads.

Copywriters have an appreciation for words. They work closely with the Art Directors to write the copy (text) for the advertisements. They will also work closely with the New Business Team to edit the final plans book.

The Video Specialist will be a member of either creative division but will also be in charge of directing, filming, and editing video executions.

Why AdClass?

So what’s so fancy about AdClass? Why should you apply? It looks like some work. And who is it for, anyway? What will you get out of it? Well, whether you are interested in a career in advertising, or aren’t, or aren’t sure, or if you are a business major, or absolutely not a business major, or just generally interested in what this class is like and how it’ll help you get a job, I’ve got the answer to “What’s in it for you.”

Interested in a career in advertising?

You want to learn how an ad agency works. You want to see how ads are created. You aren’t completely sure where you’d fit into all of this, and you want to get to know it all better. Well, the members of this class are organized into an ad agency, and we create a campaign from start to finish. By the time you are done, it’s a bit like you’ve already had an internship, only you didn’t have to sleep on somebody’s couch in NYC.

Don’t want a career in advertising?      

Maybe you want to do something else, like work on the environment, run political campaigns, get a PhD. in psychology, go to law school, work in publishing, become an artist, or work in investment banking. In AdClass, you’ll learn skills and applications that you can take with you. The context may be advertising, but the project requires effective teamwork, leadership, creativity, strategy, analytical thinking, application of abstract ideas, and problem solving. You are working with a variety of people you might not know that well or be used to working with because people are coming from across the university.

Not sure if you want a career in advertising?

Advertising sure looks interesting. It looks like fun. You like ads. You think you might want something in marketing. You aren’t sure. This is a great place to get a sense of what it is, and what you like without a massive career commitment.

What’s in it for a non-business major?

It’s a myth that there’s “business” and then there’s “everything else.” Business is largely about the study of human behavior in a goal-oriented setting. Even if you aren’t sure about a career in advertising, you’ll get an opportunity to apply your expertise to a new area field. Past AdClass students have come from nearly every academic department at W&L – English, Psychology, Mathematics, History, Creative Writing, etc.

What’s in it for a business major?

Practice, baby! There’s research to be done, there’s strategy to develop (instead of just criticizing what somebody else has done), and it all has to be made to happen. And it has to be made to happen using 20-something other people who have different skills and personalities. It’s truly cool.

How does it help me get a job and an interview?

You get proof you can work in a team, and not just a 2- or 3-person group project, but multiple people working in multiple groups that have to produce a coherent final product. This provides for realistic problem solving and can give you topics and answers for interviews “Tell me about a time you had to give constructive criticism to a colleague.” “Tell me about a time you had to give somebody bad news.” “Tell me about a time you worked under seriously time pressure.” You will also have a 20-plus page plans book that you can show around. This demonstrates that you understand both the inputs to strategy and what needs to be done to execute a complex, multifaceted marketing campaign. And regardless of whether you are a business major or not, it demonstrated that you have an understanding of the value of a variety of skills and how they come together to create something goal-oriented and strategic.

But what’s the experience of the class like?

You get the independence of decision-making. You get to create something. Not reflecting off of what somebody else created. You are creating it from scratch. You are creating something that you believe in and have to defend, and represents W&L and yourselves. And you don’t defend it to me, but to people outside of the University. It’s a little scary and very cool.

You get to submerge yourselves in something. It’s not a class. It’s like a job. You’ll internalize it, care about it, think about it. It’s much more than just a lousy class project. I know students who graduated years ago who still feel passionately about their project.

And you will have the opportunity to get to know people in this class and work with them in ways you never have before. (And yes, students report back to me that that was a good thing.)

FAQ

Question:

What is the official course name and how many credits will I receive?

Answer:

BUS 370- Integrated Marketing Communications. 4 credits. AdClass includes a lab, usually on Friday afternoons.

Question:

Do I have to be a business major to take AdClass?

Answer:

Absolutely not! Last year we had 19 different majors and minors- from business to sociology to studio art. We encourage all majors to apply. That’s what sets us apart and why the liberal arts are a great place to get started in advertising.

Question:

How hard is it to get in?

Answer:

Good question, and unfortunately I can’t really answer it well. It depends on how many qualified people apply for the various spots. If I have 20 people qualified for one group, and 4 qualified for another, then it really depends on what category you fall into. The more groups you are qualified for, the better of a chance you have. The more qualified you are for a single group, the better of a chance you have. What you can’t do is look around the room at the presentation and think you have a “one in # of people in the room” chance of getting in.

Question:

What’s the client this year?

Answer:

Mary Kay.

Question:

I’m doing my thesis within my major. Will I be able to handle AdClass as well?

Answer:

Honestly, it depends on whether you are a procrastinator or not. If you can work on one while the other one is sorta quiet, then you’d be fine. But if you only work as a deadline approaches, you’ll probably have a problem. It is your call as to whether you can do it or not. However, if you choose to join this class, you have the responsibility to your colleagues to do your part.

Question:

Would it be possible for me to audit AdClass?

Answer:

No.

Question:

Do you have to rank preferences for all the positions, or can you just apply to one/two?

Answer:

You don’t have to apply for all positions. You can apply for as many or as few as you’d like. Just leave the ones you aren’t interested in blank.

Question:

I did a critique on an ad for one of my sociology/marketing/art/etc. classes. It’s longer than a half page but is this something you would be interested in seeing?

Answer:

I’m sure your analysis is interesting but I’ll have a lot of reading. Plus, it’s good to learn how to write more succinctly. You are welcome to cut your analysis for that class down to 1/2 a page. However, be sure you address the ad’s effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) in the answer.

Question:

What’s the portfolio for again? Should the “portfolio” simply consist of advertising materials? Is that what you’re looking for there?

Answer:

The portfolio is optional for some- if someone is applying for, say, Art Director, I’ll need evidence of their visually artistic skills. If someone is applying for Account Supervisor, this is less of an issue. The portfolio is whatever further evidence you might have of your fit for a specific position.

Question:

What time will the class be offered?

Answer:

We are still setting a time for class meetings, but there will be a lab period Friday afternoons. I know these aren’t the best times, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, “It is the worst time to offer a class, except for all the other times.”

Apply

AdClass 2014 Application

Required Application Materials

Application Form

Please note: as you fill out the application, you’ll see I ask about a lot of different skills and knowledge-bases. Don’t be freaked out if you only have a couple/few. Remember, we need a diversity of people, so this helps me with placement and balance of skills. I have no expectations that somebody would have everything.

Resume

Skill Challenges (at least 2): Show us what you’ve got

Letter of Interest

  • 1/2 page maximum
  • What can you offer to the class
  • Skills?
  • Talents?
  • Personality?
  • What do you want to get from the class?
  • Career?
  • Curiosity?

A Postsecret, show some way to remember you

Optional Application Materials

Recommendation from AdClass alumni. Note: there is not a form for recommendations, please send them directly to Professor Bower.

Evidence of qualifications: Portfolio of artworks, photographs, past layouts you’ve done, video you shot and/or edited, etc., especially if applying for art director, but this could apply to anybody.