Students in Communications 451, Advertising Campaigns, gained real-world experience by designing interactive marketing campaigns for real clients, including Titan Athletics and Sanuk, a global lifestyle brand known for its footwear.
Divided into mock agencies, student teams engaged in a business simulation, pitting teams against each other in strategic and creative exercises, ad campaign plans and pitch presentations outlining campaign details.
Gabrielle Windsor, visiting lecturer and director of strategy at Rhythm Agency, taught one of the courses last fall. Windsor asked students to first become familiar with Sanuk, address the needs of the client, create media plans and finally, pitch their plans to Sanuk’s marketing team, who judged the final presentations and provided detailed client-agency feedback.
“Developing a complete brand campaign for Sanuk was a mix of many emotions,” said Britney Pesch ’15 (B.A. communications). “It was challenging, frustrating, nerve-wracking, and in the end, rewarding.
“This class absolutely prepared me for the workforce,” she added. “I don’t believe I would have been successful in my current internship if I had not taken this course. I gained a lot of information and insight, particularly from Windsor’s critiques and guidance. She was tough but fair and in the end contributed to my growth and understanding of the advertising world.” Pesch is starting a job at an advertising agency this summer.
Capstone courses are intended to develop and hones the skills students will need to represent themselves in the marketplace, and Associate Professor of Communications Carolyn Coal had her advertising campaign course focus on Titan Athletics. Steve DiTolla, senior associate athletics director, challenged the class to develop a media plan that focused on getting more students to attend athletic events.
“The fact that our ideas could potentially help Cal State Fullerton Athletics gain more visibility was something that made the project much more personal,” said Sean Gates ’15 (B.A. communications).
“I felt like this was one of the most useful classes of my degree, because it gave me weekly access to a visiting expert,” Gates explained. “In some cases, it was multiple experts, as Professor Coal would invite a guest speaker each week to meet with our groups individually. No books, no tests, just experience.” Gates recently accepted a full-time position as project manager with an Internet marketing agency.
“I feel that the biggest takeaway from the Titans Athletics project was working for a sports client, even though I’m not a sports fan,” said Cameron Hall ’15 (B.A. communications). “I just had to immerse myself into an unfamiliar business, which promoted personal growth and discipline.” Hall has been pursuing a career in real estate and plans on using his advertising education to promote his business.
“The classes that make up the core major did a great job of showing and telling how ad agencies work and what the industry is like today,” said Alexandre Reyes ’15 (B.A. communications), who worked on the Titan Athletics project. “It was exciting to bring a lot of ideas to the table and have them materialize in the final campaign pitch.”