Gannon Students Pitch Like Professionals

Posted: November 15, 2013

Senior-level students in Gannon University's advertising communications program will be pitching promotional campaign plans for WQLN TV and Radio on Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. in the Waldron Campus Center room 219. The students enrolled in the program's Campaigns class will present their semester-long projects in a 35- to 45-minute pitch to four WQLN representatives.

For the past several years, the curriculum for the 400-level class taught by advertising instructor Anne O'Neill has required students to research, conceptualize and create promotional initiatives for local organizations in preparation of entering into a career.

"The class is constructed this way to simulate the real world in which the students will have to pitch their work and ad agency to perspective organizations," said O'Neill.

Gannon's Director of Community and Government Relations, Erica Ramalho and Director of Service Learning, Gretchen Fairly presented the class with several interested non-profit organizations, from which the students then chose to develop plans for WQLN.

The class was split into two "ad agencies," named Xangro and Ace in the Hole. The agencies were required to apply their knowledge of marketing, advertising, public relations and communications in order to create a comprehensive promotional campaign for the organization.

Two Gannon graduates acted as "account supervisors" to the two agencies. Sarah Gudgeon, who works in public affairs for Erie's Veterans Administration Medical Center, and Sonya Pyle Whitman, a practice manager at Hertel and Brown Physical Therapy, are both advertising communications graduates who have taken the Campaigns class within the past 10 years.

As account supervisors, the women provided guidance and support through advice, suggestions, constructive criticism and feedback as the students worked through the rough drafts of their project. They were also able to share their professional experiences to spark creative ideas for the students.

"Having taken this very class, I have always valued the experience that came with this project. The whole thing had a great impact on preparing me for both graduate school and for a 'real world' job, so it's actually an honor to be a part of this class and their project from another perspective now," said Whitman.

After taking the information back to the organization and much deliberating, a WQLN representative will return to the Campaigns class on Nov. 20 to give feedback to the students on their pitches, and ultimately award the account to one of the two ad agencies. WQLN is given permission to use the students' ideas to implement into action.