Advertising Students Practice Real-Word Campaigning; Compete to Aid UT Astronomy Program

AUSTIN — This summer, the UT Astronomy Program served as a client for undergraduate students taking an advertising class called “Integrated Communications Campaigns” from UT College of Communication Assistant Professor Yongjun Sung. The students were divided into six groups, each forming a fictional advertising agency.

McDonald Observatory personnel met with Dr. Sung’s class on June 10 to describe publicity goals and to answer the students’ questions. Over a period of weeks, the students posed follow-up questions. On July 8, the six groups gave their presentations over a period of two hours to a group of five Observatory representatives.

Each of the groups had good ideas. Some of these ideas include more closely identifying the Observatory as part of The University of Texas at Austin; creating a new logo for the Astronomy Program; using new media such as social networking groups, blogging, and video; improving the search-engine ranking of the Astronomy Program’s online content; and several ways to bolster membership in the Friends of McDonald Observatory.

The clear winner, a group called “Stellar Communications,” went the extra mile by requesting an extra meeting with the Education and Outreach Office in Austin to gather detailed information, and by sending a student on a trip to McDonald Observatory to observe public tours, star parties, and other events to get a complete picture of the Observatory’s outreach activities.

The Stellar Communications group included advertising students Chelsey Northern (Project Manager), Erin Mallory (Promotions Director), Traci Thurmond (PR Director), Stuart Moss (Marketing Director), Luisa Barbaczy (Creative Director), Nicole Maxwell (Account Planner), and Ashley Kaplan (Account Planner).

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