Yardstick Celebrates 10 Years!

Yardsticks Recap Blog Header

“Being creative and measuring up,” that’s how Kelly Darcy, director of communication for Yardsticks, described the purpose of the Yardsticks competition. On October 28, 2015 at 5:15pm students entered the Ballroom at City Flats Hotel in Grand Rapids to prepare their presentation that would soon be displayed in front of judges, professionals and other students. There were a total of eight entries, from Grand Valley State University and Central Michigan University.

The Yardsticks competition can be entered as a team or as an individual. In the competition students present a strategy related to a creative brief given to them by a real world company. This year the company was Macatawa Bank. The creative brief for this contest was set up to help the bank target a millennial generation audience. The students had to create a strategy that would build a relationship between the millennial audience and the bank through mobile banking.

A good amount of students came out to the 2015 Yardsticks event. Creative, design and APR students were all present from GVSU. Also in attendance were GVSU professors Spring, and Stipe. Students from the Central Michigan Ad Club represented the Mt. Pleasant area.

This was the tenth anniversary of the Yardsticks event, put on by professor Frank Blossom. You might know Frank from a class or possibly have heard about the past work he has done with students, but for those who don’t know, he is an advertising professor and the creator of Yardsticks. At the event Frank Blossom said, “Great turn out, and the quality of thinking is good.”

At Yardsticks students get critiques and feedback on their presentations from professionals who work in the APR field. Students have the opportunity to use the feedback whether they win or loose. They then can make revisions and enter their strategy in the 2016 American Advertising Awards (ADDYs). The ADDYs is an American Advertising Federation (AAF) competition (see http://aafwmi.org/addy-awards/ for more information).

The winners of Yardsticks this year took home a cash prize along with the “Extra Yardstick” trophy. Aubrey Leko, a student who entered with a team said, “This being my first year at yardsticks, it is a lot of fun, great opportunities, good feedback, and the chance to network.” Advice she give to students for next year is, “Enter no matter what, it’s about the idea not the presentation, so have fun with it.”

The winner of the 2015 Yardsticks was a tie! The CMU team and the DIVVY team both took home the cash prize and an “Extra Yardstick” trophy. Ben Kaluski, one of the members of the winning GVSU team, said,”We are ecstatic about our win at yardsticks. We feel that our dedication to GVSU`s curriculum and our APR student organizations proves that indulging in every opportunity helps achieve greater things.”

Also on the GVSU team were Jessica Krysinska and Mari Behovitz. All of the team members are currently serving on the GVSU Ad Club e-board.

“We absolutely plan to participate in the ADDY’s and other competitions.,” said Krysinska. “The judge’s critiques will allow us to expand on our original campaign. In addition, we will take this experience to individually grow and submit our own work.”

The runner-up for the competition was the “Bank Zombies” campaign by Joseph Parks. All the entries did a great job and the judges were very impressed with the content and ideas. Be on the lookout to seeing who will “measure-up” in the 2016 ADDY awards!

If you are interested in entering the ADDYs sign up at http://aafwmi.org/addy-awards/. Get your submissions and paper work in before January 14!


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Kat Willie with her Yardsticks campaign idea
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Joseph Parks with his “Bank Zombies” campaign.
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Will Damian, Cecilia Scotta, Bonnie Greene, Allison LaPointe, and Josie Tiffany; the CMU team with their Yardsticks winning presentation.

 

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Christina Chong Tsen Yee with her Yardsticks campaign idea.

 

 

 

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Dan Goubert, Aubrey Leko, Erik Wang, and Jackson Ozark; a GVSU Team with their Yardsticks campaign.
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Chelsie Bender and Sarah Gearhart with their Yardsticks campaign.
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GVSU Ad Club e-board members presenting their winning campaign strategy.

 

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Joseph Parks presents his “Bank Zombies” strategy campaign.
Yardsticks GV AdClub winners
GVSU AdClub e-board members and Yardsticks winners (from left to right) Mari Behovitz, Ben Kaluski, and Jessica Krysinska

Post by: Sophie Klimkiewicz

Sophie Klimkiewicz is going on her second year as an Account Associate at GrandPR. She is currently a senior with an Advertising and Public Relation major and an emphasis on Advertising. Sophie has background knowledge in Public Relations from working on campus at the Career Center and Sports Marketing Department. She enjoys seeking opportunities within her major and conquers the challenges that life throws at her. Sophie values learning and challenging herself to be successful.
Sophie Klimkiewicz is going on her second year as an Account Associate at
GrandPR. She is currently a senior with an Advertising and Public Relation major
and an emphasis on Advertising. Sophie has background knowledge in Public
Relations from working on campus at the Career Center and Sports Marketing
Department. She enjoys seeking opportunities within her major and conquers
the challenges that life throws at her. Sophie values learning and challenging
herself to be successful.
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Why Choose APR as a Major?

Why APR Blog Header

If you’re a college student like me, then you no doubt went through the process of trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life (AKA declared a major). For me personally this was a turbulent and stressful time, but I knew I needed to get through it. There are plenty of things I wish I had known before I finally made a decision, but I have no doubt that I found where I was meant to be. In hopes of making the process a little easier for my (yet unknown) fellow APRers, I have created a list of a few reasons why to pick the field of advertising and public relations as a profession.

  1. It’s a growing industry:
    • Most people who are trying to figure out what to go to college for ask themselves the question, “Will I have a job when I get done?”  It’s not a bad question to ask given the size of the bills we get each semester. We have to pay the money back somehow. Right? Well the good news is that the advertising and public relations industry is growing, so you’re covered. In a world that is becoming consistently more connected, company leadership needs someone to help grow and maintain their brand image among various audiences. This includes communicating to their customers, employees, investors, communities, and the list goes on and on. Whether you are putting together an advertising campaign for a new product launch or a public relations campaign to improve employee relations, rest assured the expertise gained by studying APR is becoming more and more valuable.
  2. It is versatile:
    • Think for a second how many advertisements you have seen today alone. Now try and remember all of the companies or organizations that they were for. It’s a lot right? Now here is the real exciting thing, each of those organizations you’re thinking of (or more likely trying to remember) needed someone to conceptualize and get those advertisements to your eyes. What does that mean for you? It means that if you study APR and understand the process, then you will have the basic tools that any of those companies may need to help them get those ads published. That gives you (as an APR practitioner) a huge number of potential employers in a huge number of different industries. Even better than the number of places to be employed are your choices of focus among those places. If you have a specific personal interest it is likely that there is an opportunity to use your knowledge to promote something you’re passionate about.
  3. The people are great:
    • Okay, I’ll admit that this one may be a little biased, but it is true that the people in this industry really are great. From my experience, APR folks are hardworking, outgoing, caring, passionate individuals. I am not actually in the field with a full time career yet (#LifeGoals) and I am sure there will be exceptions, but I have never met someone in this industry that wasn’t willing to help out. Whether it be helping look over and edit a document, helping set-up networking meetings, or just being someone you can talk to over coffee, you can count on most PR people to be there for you. I have found that not to be true in other industries I have been involved with, so that is saying something.

Those are only three of  my top reasons  I think advertising and public relations is a great major to study. If you ask anyone else in this industry why they chose to study APR I’m sure they will have their own answers and they will be equally correct. If you are one of those people let us know what your reasons are by tweeting the hashtag #pickAPR to @gvsuAPR. Conversely, if you are like I once was and are confused about what to study, have any interest in the communications industry and enjoy working with people; I encourage you to at least check out what APR has to offer you. I have a feeling if you’re even a little interested in the industry, there is a good chance you will find a niche to work in and more importantly, YOUR people.


Post by: Jordan Punches

Jordan Punches is a senior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in Advertising/Public Relations with an emphasis on Public Relations. He is an enthusiastic account executive and an active Grand Valley PRSSA member. Jordan loves making connections with people and has lead a number of teams in various organizations, including serving a term in office at the state level for a leadership organization. He is organized, motivated, learns quickly and enjoys presentations and public speaking. Jordan actively looks for more opportunities to learn and develop his skills while always encouraging a good time.
Jordan Punches is a senior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in Advertising/Public Relations with an emphasis on Public Relations. He is an enthusiastic account executive and the alumni relations chair of the Grand Valley PRSSA. Jordan loves making connections with people and has lead a number of teams in various organizations, including serving a term in office at the state level for a leadership organization. He is organized, motivated, learns quickly and enjoys presentations and public speaking. Jordan actively looks for more opportunities to learn and develop his skills while always encouraging a good time.

Re-cap: GVSU APR Speaker Series Kick-off with Keith Donovan

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The GVSU APR Speaker Series started off strong last night with Keith Donovan from Airfoil. Keith is a 1997 Laker alumnus with an APR degree and got his start from none other than the PRSSA student organization on campus.

Keith is the VP at Airfoil Group and has been there for 9 years. His role at Airfoil is to oversee a group of clients and accounts, working side by side with the senior directors and also bringing in new clients to Airfoil.

At the event Take Flight in Today’s PR and Advertising Agencies, Keith started the event by saying, “We balance excitement and passion for connections to the work.”

Keith gave great advice to students on the changes that are happening within the field and how students can be successful. Here is just some of Keith’s advice to APR students and professionals:

  • “Get over meeting new people and put yourself out there, just don’t over think it,” when it comes to networking.
  • You’re a problem solver, 90% of life is solving problems
  • Failure is an option, “my failure was not asking the client the right questions and coming prepared.”
  • Take the time and get to know people on a personal level. Show people you care!

For those who don’t know Airfoil, it’s located in Southfield, Michigan where they focus on Public Relations for the technology industry. A mid size company of 45 employees that has been around for about 15 years. They are more than just a PR agency; they connect with their clients on a business to business standpoint.

A big thank you goes out to Mr. Donovan for coming out to speak to APR students and kicking-off our APR speaker series! For those who missed the event reach out to Keith to learn more of what he does, how he got there, and ask questions!

Stay tuned for the next speaker and keep up to date with advertising and public relations at GVSU by following us on TwitterFacebook, and join the LinkedIn group (GVSU Advertising and Public Relations Major Program)!


APR Faculty with GVSU Alumnus Keith Donovan
APR Faculty with GVSU Alumnus Keith Donovan

Keith Donovan meet with some APR students after giving his presentation.
Keith Donovan meet with some APR students after giving his presentation.

By: Sophie Klimkiewicz

Sophie Klimkiewicz is going on her second year as an Account Associate at GrandPR. She is currently a senior with an Advertising and Public Relation major and an emphasis on Advertising. Sophie has background knowledge in Public Relations from working on campus at the Career Center and Sports Marketing Department. She enjoys seeking opportunities within her major and conquers the challenges that life throws at her. Sophie values learning and challenging herself to be successful.
Sophie Klimkiewicz is going on her second year as an Account Associate at
GrandPR. She is currently a senior with an Advertising and Public Relation major
and an emphasis on Advertising. Sophie has background knowledge in Public
Relations from working on campus at the Career Center and Sports Marketing
Department. She enjoys seeking opportunities within her major and conquers
the challenges that life throws at her. Sophie values learning and challenging
herself to be successful.

Welcome to enLIGHTen

Welcome

Welcome to “enLIGHTen”, the official blog of the Advertising and Public Relations Major Program at GVSU.

We have wanted to have a blog specifically for our large and active Advertising and Public Relations program. We have had dotCOM, the School of Communications blog, for several years, and that continues. But we needed a space for all the news, ideas and events that are happening just in APR alone.

With the help of GrandPR, our talented student-run PR firm, we are finally able to launch! And not just this blog, we also have a Twitter account, Facebook page, and LinkedIn group (GVSU Advertising and Public Relations Major Program).

You will note across all these platforms the light bulb and the name “enLIGHTen” for this blog. That is because the students thought that Advertising and Public Relations, being creative professions, are about ideas. The name of the blog “enLIGHTen” comes from that and the fact that we are an education program that blends theory and practice and we seek to illuminate people inside and outside of the profession.

On behalf of the students and my fellow faculty, I hope you will read, comment, share, and possibly contribute to this blog in the weeks and years to come. So follow us, bookmark us, add us to your RSS reader, or just check back often.

We’ll leave the light on for you.

– Dr. Tim Penning, PhD, APR

Professor Tim Penning, APR teaches courses in public relations. He has worked as a staff writer and editor for Traverse Magazine and Advance Newspapers. Following his career in journalism, he was communication director for an international mission agency, media relations manager for Grand Valley State University, and public relations director for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. As a professor, he continues to practice public relations as a consultant with his own business, Penning Ink. He was won several awards for his public relations work and was named
Professor Tim Penning, APR teaches courses in public relations. He has worked as a staff writer and editor for Traverse Magazine and Advance Newspapers. Following his career in journalism, he was communication director for an international mission agency, media relations manager for Grand Valley State University, and public relations director for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. As a professor, he continues to practice public relations as a consultant with his own business, Penning Ink. He was won several awards for his public relations work and was named “Distinguished Practitioner” by the West Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 2001 and 2005. He is active with the Public Relations Society of America, having served as president of the West Michigan chapter in 2004 and on its board for seven years. He also advises the GVSU student chapter of PRSSA. Dr. Penning is a founder and past board member of Interchange: The Association for West Michigan Communication Professionals and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society. He writes a blog about advertising and public relations in West Michigan: http://gr-pr.blogspot.com/