It was a rare sight around DePaul’s Loop campus Monday as teams of well-dressed students anxiously awaited their turns to pitch PR and marketing ideas to clients from Starbucks, Fox Sports, Major League Baseball, Animal Cancer Foundation, Gagen MacDonald, Golin and Olson Engage.
I attended several of the presentations, but missed those that happened at the same time my Leadership 2.0 graduate students reported on their interviews with Chicago-area CEOs. Throughout the term, students heard from leadership experts, Crain’s editors and “Corner Office” columnist Adam Bryant at the New York Times. Students then interviewed seven prominent CEOs–Tonise Paul, CEO, Energy BBDO; Julie Howard, Chair & CEO, Navigant; James L. Madara, M.D., CEO, American Medical Association; Howard Tullman, Founder & CEO, 1871; Shari Runner, CEO, Chicago Urban League; Anne Pramaggiore, CEO, ComEd, and Matt Shattock, CEO, Beam Suntory. The CEO profiles will be published later this summer on Gagen MacDonald’s Let Go & Lead website.
In Eva Bongiovanni’s PRAD class, three student teams pitched ad campaign ideas to Starbucks marketing director Meghaan Blauvelt. Assignment was to reposition Starbuck’s food as a health and wellness option with a specific focus on their new food line Mercato. After providing feedback to each group, Meghaan picked the winning team– Tess Cvikota, Lauren Palmer, Kellie Senese, Daniel Rodriguez and Emily Wallace.
Instructor Don Ingle had two action-packed finals yesterday, the first featuring four undergraduate teams presenting their sustainability campaign ideas to executives from Fox Sports and Major League Baseball. Impressed with what they heard, two of the Fox and MLB executives asked if the students were working full-time on their creative and well-developed campaign ideas. Separately, Don’s campaigns class presented PR program ideas for Wrigley gum and Tylenol PM to their respective agencies, Golin and Olson Engage.
Grad students in adjunct Jeff Bodzewski’s advanced social media course presented their full digital strategy ideas to the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF), a leading nonprofit working in the area of cancer research. During the spring quarter, students conducted primary and secondary research, built strategies and ultimately developed integrated tactics to increase donations to ACF. Presentations focused on reaching potential donors via digital tactics, such as social, search and email, through integrated offline experiences, such as 5Ks and therapy dog partnerships with leading corporations.
ACF board member Jennifer Teitler praised the actionable recommendations of the DePaul students. “We feel fortunate to benefit from the class’s collective wisdom and to have them help us get the word out about our mission of funding comparative oncology research to help find cures for cancer in both people and pets.”
Recently, students also participated in several prestigious competitions, including PRSSA’s Bateman Case Study Competition, the AAF National Student Advertising Competition, the Washington Media Scholars Media Plan Case Competition and The One Club Creative Bootcamp. In April, student teams from Matt Ragas’ Corporate Communications class won grand prize and first place in the Jack Koten Case Study Competition, sponsored by the Arthur W. Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations.
“Our program provides students an incredible experiential learning experience by working on real world challenges,” explained Kelly Chu, Ph.D., DePaul’s PR/AD program chair. “Many of our classes provide professional engagement opportunities for our students and instructors are actively using Chicago as our classroom, bringing in local or even national clients! We strive to offer the most cutting-edge curriculum to our students and prepare them to the future challenges in the field of Public Relations and Advertising.