Tag Archives: Advertising

Summer Experience: London Internship Program

By: Alyssa Marion
Second Year Graduate Student, Student M.S. Advertising

Current graduate student Alyssa Marion spent summer 2015 learning, interning and exploring in London!
Current graduate student Alyssa Marion spent summer 2015 learning, interning and exploring in London!

I’ve always had the itch to travel abroad. I was lucky enough to spend a summer in Madrid, Spain during my undergraduate time at BU, and ever since then, I’ve wanted to go back to Europe. The BU London Graduate Mass Communication program was actually the main reason why I chose BU for graduate school!

There were 15 graduate students in the program, and we lived in a great apartment building (the Sorbonne House) together in South Kensington. Winston Churchill once lived in our building! South Kensington was the perfect location for new students living in London- the Natural History Museum was right across the street, Hyde Park was a stone’s throw away, and Kensington Palace, home to royals Will and Kate, was a 15 minute walk from our flat!


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Kensington Palace

The two classes I enrolled in this summer were Global Marketing Communications with BU Professor Tobe Berkovitz and British Media in the Digital Age with BU London Professors Aleks Sierz and Lia Ghilardi. Tobe’s class gave us a broader global view into the marketing world. Additionally, he brought us to different advertising and communications agencies in London in order to compare the work environment between the UK and US. Aleks’ and Lia were our two British professors who co-taught our second class. They both taught us a great deal about the concept of “Britishness” versus “Englishness.” Since all graduate students were enrolled in the same two classes, we were able to work together well and grow throughout the summer.

I really think I lucked out with my internship placement this summer. I was so fortunate to be placed at MEC Global, a media agency located along the Southbank of London. My supervisor taught me so much about the world of media and how MEC fit in to the equation between the client and the press. I worked on the Display Activation team, and my responsibilities included tracking ads, drafting print media plans, and creating competitive analyses and post-campaign analyses for high-profile clients. My experience at MEC provided me with valuable insights into the field all while making great connections abroad.

This summer provided me with once in a lifetime opportunities, and that’s all thanks to the London Graduate Mass Communication program. Touring Buckingham Palace, attending the Wimbledon Championship tournament, waving to Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot, seeing the eerie Stonehenge, finding the flat used to film The Parent Trap movie, and traveling to seven different countries in 12 weeks are just a sample of the incredible experiences I had this summer. It’s truly astonishing how much a person can learn and grow in just 12 weeks abroad, and I wouldn’t trade this summer for anything. Now time to start planning the next adventure…

Strategic Brand Solutions

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

If you’re still looking to add another class to your fall schedule, CM 726 Strategic Brand Solutions, could be something to consider.  This advertising course takes a current look at marketing communications issues and the impact these issues have on brands and their audiences.

“It used to be called problem solving,” according to Professor John Verret, who has been teaching the course for the past 17 years.  “That’s what it is: looking at problems and then looking at the way brands have solved them and the way brands haven’t solved them, and thinking about what they might do.”  The problems come from a wide range of areas, whether it is a distribution problem, quality problem, or new market problem.  For the most part, the issues are usually about the way consumers react to brands and brand messaging.

These problems are examined in case studies of various brands and organizations.  Prof. Verret chooses mostly current examples, a lot coming from The Wall Street Journal (required reading for the course).  Other case studies are classic examples and still very applicable today.  One such older case study is Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign.  The book looks at Subaru and how advertising nearly killed this brand, which, according to Verret, is one of the greatest brands that has been around forever and isn’t going anytime soon.   “The objective is to learn as much about strategies that work and strategies that don’t work,” says Verret.

After 17 years of teaching this course, a lot has changed.  However, Professor Verret claims that the most important things remain essentially the same.  “Everything has changed about advertising except human nature,” says Verret.

If this course doesn’t already sound interesting, then consider the benefits.  “One of the things people tell us they like about their kids is that they’ve learned a little bit about critical thinking,” adds Verret.  “That’s what I want: critical thinkers.”  Not only do students study concrete examples of the marketing communications industry, but they also develop skills that make them more attractive to employers.

I immediately became interested in this class when I read the course description.  Now I’m registered to take it and excited to see what’s in store this fall!

Creating Video Campaigns

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

Have you ever wondered what goes into a video advertising campaign? Ever wanted to be behind-the-scenes of the creative process from idea to execution? You can do all of this in CM 518, a class called Creating Video Campaigns. This fall, Randy Hackett, a video content director, creative consultant and adjunct professor at BU,will teach students the craft of creating engaging video content. This includes everything from conceptual techniques, to the story and the use of camera and music.

“Video is such a ubiquitous presence in marketing communications,” Hackett says. “Everyone has to learn about it, not only how to utilize it from a production and practical standpoint but what makes it effective from a narrative, storytelling, and communication standpoint.” Although the class is generally geared towards advertising students, it is available to anyone interested in creative production. According to Hackett, the class would benefit any student in a communications discipline and is an “idea muscle flexing course” for people in all fields of study.

Non-profits, corporations, institutions, ad agencies, PR firms, media outlets, blogs and new business ventures have begun relying increasingly on video content.“Every website has a video now,” Hackett says. “It’s kind of the ‘show me’ generation. People don’t have as much time to read – they want to be entertained and they want their information teed up for them.”

Although the class is not technical and stops at actual film production, it includes everything up to that point: developing storyboards, recommending suppliers, working with sound design, and everything in between. Hackett treats the class like a small agency, choosing real companies that might not have a significant video presence or are in need of a video campaign for a specific scenario. Students work in teams to develop the creative components, which are presented in-house and then in a client presentation.

Hackett’s real world work makes the class more dynamic as well. This year, he directed a shoot with Tae Bo guru Billy Blanks, a national commercial his students were able to observe on-set. Watch the Brother Printers commercial with Billy Blanks here.“


One of the advantages of the program at COM is a lot of professors have actual real life ongoing projects,” Hackett says. “It makes it feel a little bit more alive.” For graduate students interested in taking the class, the pre-requisites for Creating Video Campaigns are: CM 708 (Principles and Practices of Advertising), CM 707 (Writing for Multimedia), and CM 717 (Fundamentals of Creative Development).

Are you in advertising or another field and thinking Creating Video Campaigns might be for you? Have you taken the class? What skills did you learn?


Picture from: RandyHackett.com


Advertising grad students win poster competition and trip to San Francisco

By Ali Parisi
MS Public Relations ’16
BU College of Communication

“The rate at which women are amassing wealth and exerting influence is unprecedented. Yet the work that is supposed to motivate them springs almost entirely from a male perspective. The advertising business is a $33 billion industry. Misunderstanding female consumers, from a business perspective, is sheer lunacy.” – Kat Gordon

As an advertising copywriter and creative director, Kat Gordon was tired of being a part of an industry lead by males.  She discovered that only 3% of creative directors within the advertising industry are women. So, she set out to create the 3% Conference in order to teach men and women in agencies and on the client side how to address these issues in new ways and offer something that has been sorely lacking for female creatives: a sense of community.  Today, two years after its first conference in 2012, the 3% Conference has expanded into a “2-day, 400 person event in San Francisco, multi-city road shows throughout the year, a vibrant online community on multiple social platforms, a student scholarship fund, a creative award, and a business blog to support the crusade,” according to its website.

Cindy Gallop, closing keynote speaker at the 2014 conference.
Cindy Gallop, closing keynote speaker at the 2014 conference.

This year, two of BU’s College of Communication advertising graduate students earned a trip to this year’s conference in San Francisco after winning the 3% student competition.   This year’s creative challenge was to imagine that the ratio of female-to-male Creative Directors has increased 300%. Working in teams of two, students had to create a poster to announce this news to the industry to motivate folks to attend the conference and keep the movement going.  Iona Holloway (COM ’16) and Annie Papadellis (COM ’16) were one of the top 10 winners (20 students total since they worked in pairs) to win the competition.

Holloway and Papadellis’s winning submission.
Holloway and Papadellis’s winning submission.

“I think it’s great,” explains Holloway and Papadellis’ professor at COM, Pegeen Ryan. “It’s very real life.  You’re going to be entering award shows and competitions when you’re in agencies. It gives you real and fairly tight deadlines; it gives you stipulations on what you’re working on. Kudos to them for taking on the extra work.”

Ryan worked with both of her students throughout the entire process, helping them to edit and perfect their ideas for submission.  The two were ultimately declared one of 10 pairs of winners from distinguished schools around the country, Brown University, Miami Ad School NY, University of Texas, Miami Ad School SF, Missouri School of Journalism and City College of New York. Besides tickets to The 3% Conference in San Francisco, winners also received a travel stipend, a gift bag from their sponsor Adobe and attendance at a portfolio review lunch during the conference.

Sarah Granger, author of The Digital Mystique, speaks at conference. Photo credit 3% Conference.

“The conference was great,” says Holloway.  “It reinforced how I’m really going to have to kick my own ass if I want to really succeed as a woman in the industry, which I don’t see as a bad thing.”

Prof. Ryan was particularly excited about the networking opportunities for the young women.  The students were able to network with people from across the country, giving them contacts to potentially use in their job search after graduation.

Though the numbers have risen, there is still inequality in the advertising industry.  “It’s amazing to me that the majority of consumer are women, and more men are creating the advertising that these women see,” explains Papadellis. “It baffles me they still haven’t changed their approach,” she says.

However Holloway is excited for the future, as she believes “Women are brilliant, as are men. There’s no reason why the advertising industry can’t reflect the society it serves. It might take a while, but it will happen.”




“Get buzzed”: A look inside Boston University’s Lifestyle Magazine

By Michelle Marino
MS Journalism ’15
BU College of Communication

This past week, I got out of the grad school bubble and spoke with some very knowledgeable undergrads about their experience working for the The Buzz, Boston University’s lifestyle magazine. The hard-copy magazine is published every fall and spring semester, but their online magazine publishes a variety of content on a weekly basis. The magazine’s sections include a little something for everyone – campus, city, arts, fashion, music, food, sports and travel. The site also features “The Weekly Buzz”, a video component showcasing a range of different lifestyle topics, from BU artists to features on the Assembly Row shops in Somerville.

With a mix of graduate and undergraduate students, The Buzz’s staff is large, ranging from writers to photographers to copy-editing and advertising. Alison Ortiz, a freshman in the process of transitioning over to COM’s Broadcast Journalism program, holds three different positions with the magazine. She is responsible for The Buzz‘s Instagram account, publishing for events and broadcast. Alison says she heard about The Buzz through a campus SPLASH event, where students are exposed to everything from BU’s  cultural clubs to dance groups, from academic associations to religious life.

Katie Tamola, a Journalism graduate student, writes for The Buzz‘s campus section.  “My experience has been nothing but positive and my editor has been amazing,” says Katie. “As somebody who didn’t go here for undergrad it’s ironic I covered campus. The Buzz has pushed me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it’s daunting to go up to someone and ask them about their noncommittal sex habits, for example. It’s been so much fun and they’ve given me such great opportunities. I’m so grateful. It helped me be a better writer and gave me the confidence to write for other publications as well.” Katie also commends The Buzz for being hospitable to new ideas, saying, “If you work for campus but want to do something else, they are open to that.”

“I’ve made filming and editing my life and got really involved,” says Alison. The magazine can be flexible to your commitment level, however, and doesn’t require you to take on more roles than you can handle. “It’s very relaxed,” she says. “You don’t have to do a million different things, you make it as much as you want it to be. They don’t restrict you or hold you back either.”

Sarah Wu, a sophomore majoring in Journalism at BU, writes for three sections of The Buzz – campus, fashion and food. She also heard about the magazine at a SPLASH event and began attending meetings, initially starting with food and then taking on other sections. Sarah says for her, the process has been a lot of deadline juggling depending on which section is going to be published online, or what piece she is working on for the print magazine.

“It depends where we are in the cycle,” she says. “There have been times when I’m writing one article for each section. For campus, I write one monthly, for events, if something comes up like fashion, they ask can you go cover this, and for food it’s generally dining hall stuff or campus food trucks.” When asked about what she’s learned from working with The Buzz, Sarah cites time management and the opportunity to improve her writing skills. “You’ve got to learn to be on your toes,” she says. “Since I’m writing for three sections I always have deadlines and you learn to manage your time.” “The more you write the better you get,” she adds. “Being able to receive feedback from the editor is very constructive.”

387117_10151201878281163_320955595_nGianna Fischer, a sophomore PR student, manages all of The Buzz’s social media. While she writes for other organizations on campus, she wanted to focus on the business side of things as well, saying publishing is an industry often misunderstood in terms of its business orientation. “So far it’s been a really good experience and a lot more organized than other organizations I’ve worked with in the past.” Social media falls outside of The Buzz’s three main publishing components, to include publisher, events and PR/advertising. Events primarily work on the fall and spring release parties, advertising and PR build the brands and funds for print, while social media cultivates the magazine’s online presence.

The Buzz’s publishing group is really structured and keeps people directed,” says Gianna. “It’s great to be a part of something with clear cut goals and to see strong leadership.” On working the social media side of things, she comments, “It’s a real world application that I wouldn’t have at the professional level otherwise. We’re talking to actual clients. COM is great because they have AdLab and PRLab, but being able to do that before you get into those classes is nice,” she says.

386337_10151201878446163_1187353376_nI asked all three undergrads what they thought of grad student involvement at The Buzz, and they all enthusiastically supported it. “The Buzz is the type of organization that likes to push limits and be the best. Grad students would put us a step above,” says Gianna. “At the start of the semester we have an all staff meeting the first month. They tell you what The Buzz is about, give you contact information and you talk to editors. If you want to join now you can talk to a particular section. They’re very open to having new writers,” says Sarah.

On Nov. 18, The Buzz Fall 2014 print issue will launch, and copies will be available at the George Sherman Union on campus. There is also a launch party called “Refined 2014” on Nov. 20 in the Burke Club Room at the Agganis Arena. The party is intended to promote the issue while also showcasing student talent that may have been featured in either the print or online edition. Refreshments, raffles, music and more will be provided.

Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University
Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University

If you are interested in joining The Buzz, you can email Ashli and Meredith (Editors-in-Chief) at the.bu.buzz@gmail.com, or contact a specific section (emails below). Have you written for The Buzz? Tell us what your experience was like.


Campus: campus.bu.buzz@gmail.com
City: city.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Arts & Entertainment: culture.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Music: music.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Fashion: fashion.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Food: food.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Travel: travel.bu.buzz@gmail.com
Sports: sports.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Publishing: publish.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Photography Director:  photo.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Arts: Illustrators and Graphic Designers:  art.bu.buzz@gmail.com

Broadcast: broadcast.bu.buzz@gmail.com

If you want to learn more about what graduate programs here at Boston University’s College of Communication have to offer,  please ask any questions below and visit our website.