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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Enterprising students form ad agency

Liz Tanori director of the Ad Cats shows what the Ad Cats offer to business, faculty and students.
Liz Tanori director of the Ad Cats shows what the Ad Cats offer to business, faculty and students.

Students who are interested in an advertising career now have an opportunity to get some real-world experience before they graduate.

AdCats, the first student-run advertising agency at the UA, launched Sept. 20. It is a sub-organization of the UA chapter of the American Advertising Federation, which has existed for 25 years.

Liz Tanori, a marketing and visual communications senior, serves as the agency director. She said students in the agency will work with real clients and generate real revenue. Some of the services AdCats will provide include graphic design, marketing research and public relations.

“”We set ourselves up very similar to a real-life agency,”” Tanori said.

AdCats has a full-time staff of 14 students, in addition to a number of freelancers who do graphic design work.

The staff is made up of students majoring in business, communications, creative writing and history.

“”It’s kind of coming from all over the board,”” Tanori said. “”It’s all student driven.””

Tanori and Ed Ackerley, an adjunct marketing instructor and the agency’s faculty advisor, hired the team in September, but have been preparing to launch the agency since the summer. Some of the positions in the agency include account managers, creative directors, a copywriter, graphic designer and public relations officials.

All of the students involved are interested in pursuing a career in advertising after college, Tanori said.

“”Our team is extremely enthusiastic,”” she said. “”They’re just waiting to get the ball rolling.””

AdCats has an office in the Babcock Residence Hall, room 3205. Students do not have set office hours, but complete their work on their own time.     

Since this is the agency’s first year, it does not have the financial backing to pay its student workers. However, the students will receive three units of internship credit.

AdCats is a great opportunity for students, since the UA does not offer a public relations or advertising degree, Tanori said.

The idea for AdCats was the result of a collaborative effort between Ackerley and Robert Lusch, the marketing department head.   

Different student groups have done similar work to what AdCats is doing in the past, but not in a formal setting, Ackerly said. He added that students are able get experience through the program that they would not be able to get in a classroom setting.

The agency has received $10,000 in funding from the marketing department of Eller College of Management. Tanori said they are currently not using that money, but hope to generate their own revenue through their work with clients.

Nicole Scher, a communications junior, is the account director for AdCats, and said she discovered her passion for marketing when she completed her marketing minor over the summer.

“”I love building business relationships with other people,”” she said.

Her main responsibility, she said, is to manage communication between a client and other members of the agency, including meeting with clients to share ideas and determine what works best for them.

Scher said she is humbled to be one of the first members of AdCats.

“”It’s in our hands to make it what we want it to be,”” she said.

One of the biggest challenges the burgeoning agency faces, she said, will be to convince the Tucson community that the agency is qualified.

“”We are students, but we are the future of the business world,”” she said.

Tanori said several businesses and departments have already expressed interest in working with AdCats, including the UA schools of art and dance, White Stallion Ranch resort and the Associated Students of the University of Arizona for Family Weekend and Wildcat Welcome. 

In the coming weeks, she hopes to start meeting with clients to discuss their needs.

“”We do want to focus on offering service to the UA community,”” she said, adding that the agency’s services could include helping design fliers and t-shirts for clubs, organizations and departments.

Ackerley said that one of the agency’s strengths is having employees who are students and know how to market a product to their peers.

“”You can approach a marketing problem in so many different ways,”” he said. “”Whatever it takes to make it happen, they’re interested in doing it.””

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