Twenty-five hours to create an advertising campaign for a local nonprofit organization? Challenge accepted.
Last Friday, 100 student volunteers pulled all-nighters during the School of Communication’s PhilADthropy, during which participants developed brand identities, promotional materials and multimedia presentations for 16 South Florida nonprofits.
The event started Friday at 11 a.m. and the final products of the day were presented around noon on Saturday.
This year’s nonprofits included several organizations that dedicate themselves to certain causes, such as funding cancer research or raising money for marine veterans’ families.
The executive board members of Ad Group, a UM student organization, selected the nonprofits that would be included in the event.
Advertising Professor Meryl Blau said that if the nonprofits interested the executive board, then the student volunteers should be interested as well.
Compared to last year’s 11 applicants, the third annual PhilADthropy attracted 98 applicants for 16 available spots.
Advertising Program Director Alyse Lancaster said many of these organizations want marketing and advertising but cannot afford it.
Blau and Lancaster served as two of the 16 team leaders. Each of the teams were composed of students with various levels of advertising experience. Each group had at least one or two copywriters, designers and account managers.
Blau’s group of students created a campaign for Jody’s Couture for the Cancer Cure, which sells donated designer clothing for reduced prices at an annual Miami Beach event.
In creating the focus for Jody’s campaign, senior Alex Goldman, who is a copywriter, tried to relay the fashion-forward concept to a younger audience.
In an effort to reach out to this demographic, the team designed a social media campaign via Twitter and Facebook, and a set of posters and banners with phrases like “When Valentino Saves Lives, All Is Right in the World” and “Just Your Cancer Curing Clothing, Courtesy of Cavali.”
Jody’s co-founder Joanna Horowitz said she was blown away by the students’ work.
“I was impressed in how they transformed our image from cutesy to modern for all ages,” Horowitz said.
Next door, Lancaster and her group worked with Brothers in Arms by designing a logo for its October softball game.
Brothers in Arms helps raise money for the families of critically wounded or fallen marine veterans.
In addition to drafting a logo, the group also designed a plan for a future website and promotional materials such as posters.
Brothers in Arms representatives Sherie Noblin and Kim Bancisi decided to implement the logo after final presentations.
“They did awesome,” Noblin said. “I didn’t expect this coming from 19- and 20-year-olds.”
Blau said that in past PhilADthropy events, nonprofits have asked students to continue the campaign long-term and refine it. Others have landed internships and jobs based on the portfolio work from the event.
Each team listens to their client’s needs and does their best to meet and exceed expectations, Blau said.
“We believe in never over-promising what’s possible within the time constraints, but always try to over-deliver on what we set out to accomplish,” she said.
Last year, the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America liked the students’ campaign so much that the local chapter showed the idea to the national organization. From there, the Lupus Foundation of America used parts of the students’ ads in their campaign.
Blau said that PhilADthropy is successful because it provides a real-world advertising scenario for students and simultaneously helps community outreach.
“The event covers the entire experience from the clients’ brief to the final presentation,” she said. “It is free help for experience.”
Despite the sleep deprivation that resulted from working 25 hours straight, many of the students felt accomplished.
“If you’re not passionate about what you do, then you should not be doing it,” Goldman said.