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Advertising students gain real-life experience in classroom

Apr 12, 2019

Posted in: News

By Taylor Burress, Communications Intern

Professor Jessica Collins and client Linda Spencer discuss a project with the advertising students.

Professor Jessica Collins brings real-world situations and clients to her advertising capstone class in the Robertson School. In the course "MASC 481 - Completeness" students pitch to professional clients during the semester. 

“You’ll have strategists, art directors, copywriters; this is a very real-life class,” said Collins, who is an assistant professor in the advertising sequence. 

Two weeks ago, students were introduced to a new client, Linda Spencer of Awesome Sauce Photography, who specializes in wedding photography. Spencer came to the class to give her briefing to the students and they will pitch their ideas to her at the end of this month. 

“The client guides what the expectations are, what the overall goal is and how much interaction they want with the students,” said Collins.

The students are assigned into four teams, creating a competition amongst them. They present every single week separately and won’t see each other’s work until the final day. Each week is a progression for the teams; one week it’s research, next is who was the target and so on.

Spencer described her company's goals to the students when they met in class. “I have to find brand new clients every single year. I need help in how to sell my value to a bride,” she said. “Educating someone on that value is a challenge, how do I relay that through a website or a booklet?”

The advertising students meet with the client to discuss the needs and goals. A few weeks later they pitch their own project ideas to the client.

“I sometimes forget this is a school and it’s a class and not an actual client that I’m working for in real life, so the pressure is on,” said Merrill Holt, a strategic advertising senior. Collins added, “It’s very similar to what you’d do in a real agency, if you were given a new business pitch.”

Johnny Bradley, a strategic advertising senior, said, “It’s very intense but once you get over that hump, it’s like dang, it really wasn’t what I thought it was.” He added that “it was actually easier. I kind of made it harder on myself.”

Collins' course does not only give her students real-world experiences and examples, but it also allows them to develop their portfolios. Students work on deliverables and advertising avenues while meeting the client’s budget as well as brainstorming on creative ideas as if there was no budget.

“It makes me really excited to work in the real world, because now I know what I’m supposed to do," Holt said. "Jess teaches us really well, because she pushes us so hard. It’s exciting”.