After a semester of hard work and attempts to raise awareness about their organization, the dedicated members of EmComm, Emerson's student-run marketing agency, are preparing themselves-and their originally designed ad campaign-for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).
NSAC is an annual contest sponsored by the American Advertising Foundation (AAF), where student-run marketing groups from across the country compete to build the best ad campaign for the account of an assigned company.
EmComm's account for this year's NSAC is Postal Vault, a company which manufactures locking mailboxes.
Campaigns are first judged regionally, and the Emerson group participated in Rhode Island April 29. The finalists from that level will move on to the national competition in San Francisco on June 10.
"We've had a really good time so far with the competition," said EmComm Secretary Greg Masiakos. "We've had a few struggles, because how exciting are locking mailboxes? But overall we're doing great."
EmComm Vice President of Creative Helena Pihl emphasized the importance and popularity of the AAF competition.
"A lot of marketing students come to Emerson to join the AAF group and the campaign planning class [that works on the account as well]. It's a really great and impressive thing to have on your resume," said Pihl, a sophomore marketing communication major. "When you're in marketing, you really have to have some business experience at the end of the day."
Whether the campaign takes first place at NSAC or not, Masiakos said EmComm can be a valuable experience for any member.
"There are so many rewards, especially the connections that you make," Masiakos said. "You meet a lot of really talented kids, and it makes you realize that you go to a great school with people who are really good at what they do . It's an amazing experience."
Tyler Ashley, a junior marketing communication major who is now president of EmComm, agreed with Masiakos.
"Through participating in multiple [EmComm] accounts over the past three years, I have truly learned a lot about how agency life will be," he said. "The most rewarding part of my experience has been the opportunity to become president of such a powerhouse organization."
Although EmComm can be an educational endeavor, its membership doesn't necessarily reflect its benefits.
"We don't have a huge amount of students involved in EmComm, even though it's such a great experience," Masiakos said. "I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of it."
EmComm board members said they have found it difficult to recruit incoming students as a part of their organization.
"There has been a problem with new students not knowing what EmComm is, but we are hoping to clear that up," said Masiakos. "We are trying to plan promotional events and make ourselves known to the new freshmen each year as soon as they come in . we want to let them know who we are and what we are doing."
One way EmComm has approached this problem is with the creation of the first-ever Marketing Week. According to Masiakos, as well as the organization's Spring 2006 newsletter, "the marketing students don't really have an event that brings the marketing community together."
Masiakos stressed the importance of building a sense of community between students within their major. Journalism students have The Berkeley Beacon; theatre majors find a home in Emerson Stage shows and other performances; and Emerson's literary magazines provide an outlet for the college's creative writers.
But many marketing students feel like they have nowhere to turn for that kind of community, according to freshman marketing communication and new media double major Alli Bizon.
"I kind of feel left out a lot because all of the other groups have activities, and I don't feel that connection," she said.
Marketing Week, which took place between April 3 and 7, included a date auction, Movie Night, Public Relations Night (co-hosted by the Public Relations Student Society of America) and a corporate fashion event called "Dress for Success."
"We really wanted to inform, educate and entertain the marketing majors," said Masiakos, who supervised the group that planned the entire event.
Ashley commended Masiakos and other EmComm members for their efforts to make Marketing Week a success.
"Reserving rooms, ordering food, booking speakers, all that takes a lot of hard work," Ashley said.
All events were open to anyone who wished to participate, with the focus on unifying the marketing students through hands-on activities. Bizon attended Ad Night, one of the week's events.
"It was very informative and interesting," she said. "They should really do more things like that every year."
However, EmComm isn't exclusive to marketing students.
"Anyone can get involved," Masiakos said. "We are really lucky this year. We have a few film and TV majors to help out with commercials, video equipment, booking rooms, that kind of thing. We can really use everyone on campus."
Looking back on the most recent school year, Ashley and Masiakos can reflect positively.
"We've done a lot of really great things this year," Masiakos said.
"I am very proud to say that EmComm has achieved all that we set out to this year," Ashley said in an e-mail. "Launching our new Web site (em-comm.org), planning and executing Marketing Week, and a (hopefully) successful participation in the NSAC were our main goals, and I most definitely think we've achieved them all."
But they're not done yet. As president, Ashley has big plans for the future of EmComm, including a few more large fundraisers for charity and working hard with nexat year's AAF account, Coca-Cola.
EmComm also seems to have a history working with other nonprofits and social services: previous clients of EmComm have included Easter Seals and UNICEF.
"Even though all of our work is pro bono, we would like to make some type of large monetary contribution to a charity," Ashley said. "Also, we would like to develop more co-sponsorships with other organizations on campus, benefiting both parties involved."
But despite the frenzy of activity EmComm has seen lately, Ashley's main goal for the group is simple.
"We would just like to continue to grow as an organization," he said. "Every year we do, so let's hope it stays that way."