Jan. 25, 2008
Kasey Hoffman (left), Eukie Okwumuo, Shane Michael and Jacob Trettin stand behind Jordan Wall as he pitches part of their advertising campaign to Comedy Productions, a talent agency in Sioux City that books entertainers for cruises, company parties and other events.
A business, a nonprofit organization and a government agency in Sioux City recently reaped the benefits of a semester’s worth of work when Morningside College students completed real-world advertising and marketing research projects for them.
This year’s clients were Comedy Productions, Junior League of Sioux City and the Sioux City Human Rights Commission. All three have reported plans to use some of the information students gave them via formal marketing presentations in December.
“We’ve already started doing a few of the things they suggested; we’re trying to revamp our whole marketing strategy,” said Ken Muller, co-owner of Comedy Productions, a talent agency which books entertainers for cruises, company parties and other events. “The presentations surprised me completely. These kids are pretty sharp.”
For both Comedy Productions and the Sioux City Human Rights Commission, the students conducted some research and then used what they learned to create advertising campaigns. Among other things, they developed a brand for the organization and then used the new logo and tagline they were proposing to create promotional materials ranging from direct mailings and stationery to stress balls and key chains.
The Junior League of Sioux City, on the other hand, worked with a class at Morningside which focused on doing in-depth marketing research. The students conducted research to assess the level of public awareness of this nonprofit women’s organization that works to promote volunteerism in the community.
“We participated because it sounded like a great way to get some valuable research done on both Siouxland’s perception of League and also why our members decided to join,” said Lesa McDermott, vice president of membership for Junior League of Sioux City. “The final presentation was very well done, and we are looking forward to studying the results of member surveys more in-depth.”
Emma Prosser, a graphic design major at Morningside, said she learned more working on a project for the Sioux City Human Rights Commission than she would have developing something for an imaginary company because she and her classmates had to consider the real-life limitations faced by their client: a government agency that promotes goodwill among diverse groups and addresses complaints of discrimination.
“As a government agency, we knew there was a limited budget, so we made everything black and white,” she said.
The professional quality of the student designs is something that the Sioux City Human Rights Commission would not normally be able to afford, said Pat Johnson, the agency’s fair housing coordinator. She said the quality and content of the presentations surpassed what she expected.
“Our office is always looking for ways to get community support,” Johnson said. “A lot of what we do is outreach, so getting ideas of how we can reach out to the community was a great opportunity.”
Jordan Wall, a finance major at Morningside, said it was more inspiring to work on a real-life project for Comedy Productions than it would have been to develop an advertising campaign for an imaginary company.
“I tried to keep in mind the whole time that we were creating this for someone,” he said. “It made it a lot easier for me to work hard because I thought someone might actually look at this, someone might actually use this. It was an incentive to work hard and make sure everything was up to par.”
Muller said the students seemed to learn a lot, and he did too.
“I had a ball doing this,” he said. “I bought the book they read when their class started, and I read what they read. I tried to learn what they were trying to accomplish, and I think we all learned. It was a big plus for everybody.”
This is the 10th year that advertising students have presented marketing strategies to Siouxland businesses. The project is directed by Pam Mickelson, professor of business administration, who for the past two years has led Morningside’s Creative Edge Advertising Team to first and second place finishes nationally in the Cadillac National Case Study Competition.