The BYU advertising capstone classes typically do work for outside clients, but few are the caliber of the LA Clippers. Last fall semester, the BYU ad program and LA Clippers began a working relationship. Los Angeles Clippers’ CFO Ed Lamb took an interest in the BYU advertising program after BYU associate professor Doug McKinlay pitched the students’ ability to produce an ad campaign for the NBA team. The winning team not only impressed the client, but also received an ADDY (Utah Advertising Award) for their work.
Last semester, McKinlay’s, and advertising professor Tom Robinson’s students were separated into five teams, each given the charge to increase the LA Clippers’ digital footprint in LA and around the country. Student teams worked all semester to prepare a campaign they would later pitch to Clippers executives, and one team would be selected as winner.
Lamb and Carl Lahr, Senior VP of Marketing and Sales for the Clippers, came to campus at the end of Fall 2012 semester for the students’ presentations. Clippers executives were pleased with what they saw. McKinlay said, “The students really impressed the client. Lamb commented during the presentations that their work rivaled that of professionals in established ad agencies.”
After each group’s 15-minute presentation, Clippers executives engaged students in a 10-minute Q&A, challenged the students’ proposals, and offered praise for well thought-out recommendations and the BYU ad program’s high caliber of training. Although only one student team was declared a winner, it is likely that the Clippers will take suggestions from each team.
Peri Musser, a student from the winning team, said her group’s presentation skills are partially what distinguished her group from the others. “It was exciting to hear that some of our unconventional and risky tactics set us apart,” Musser said. “They complimented our use of music, visual examples and handouts, and confidence. Little things like that, like dressing in all black, are what won us the competition. We were neck in neck with everyone as far as campaigns went, and everyone had amazing ideas.”
Alan Trejo, another student on the winning team, said, “I feel that if an ad campaign tells a story in an authentic and compelling way, it’s more likely to grab attention, and that’s exactly what we did.”
“As an undergraduate advertising program we are competing at the highest level in corporate America,” McKinlay said. “That speaks volumes about our students and the quality of education they are receiving here at BYU and in our program in particular.”
The advertising program offers real-life scenarios to its students while they study at BYU. Additionally, student face-time with clients is unique among university advertising programs. “The capstone class really is about face time with clients,” McKinlay said. The praise earned by the BYU advertising program indicates a level of real-world preparation rivaled by few other university programs.