Adventures in AdCamp

Last week, a few of us traveled down to our Arlington office to volunteer for the annual AdCamp DC workshop.  AdCamp, a summer enrichment program by the American Advertising Federation, provides high school students with the knowledge, resources, and tools necessary to pursue a career in advertising.  We were excited to be a resource and Pete, Director of UX, brought up a good point, "It's not everyday that we have the privilege of helping the next generation of great thinkers develop their problem solving abilities!"  

The purpose of the workshop was to help educate students on the ins and outs of advertising while helping them complete their summer-long marketing campaign project.  The project for this year was for students to design a campaign for Mary Kay Cosmetics in hopes of increasing their market share among a core segment of Gen Y (Millennial) consumers, females 18-25 years old.

The workshop kicked off with a panel discussion of LMO managers from all corners of the agency - creative, digital, media and social.  Key topics focused on the importance of internship opportunities, as they are essential in gaining work experience and making connections, continued learning, seeking mentors, and utilizing social media effectively while maintaining integrity on social platforms.  When asked what advice the team had for potential interns and hires, Pete said it best.  "Make stuff up.  Look for opportunities to grow your skills and have the aptitude to learn.  You may not have a skill set on day one but, as long as you’re willing to learn, you’re set.”  After the panel, we broke up into groups to work on the student's campaigns for Mary Kay.

Based on our experience within the groups, Pete, Haya and I felt like these guys really did their homework.  Through surveys, research and their personal purchasing preferences, the students found that most people their age either didn't know about Mary Kay or how to buy it.  Since the only way to learn about and purchase Mary Kay products are from an Independent Beauty Consultant, we had to get really creative with a solution.

From here, everyone kicked back and forth ideas for the group's "big idea" and tagline.  Some big ideas included organizing a college ambassador program, collaborating with a makeup tutorial Youtube star on a video, utilizing social media more effectively- particularly Instagram, and by incorporating charity efforts into Mary Kay sales.

Sheryl Oliver, Assistant Professor at Howard University School of Communication has been bringing her students to LMO for a couple years now.  "The students left with an understanding of the various roles within an agency, how agencies pitch for new business, how the various departmentswork together to produce outstanding campaigns, what skills they will need to be successful in the industry, and that the agency culture is fast paced and exciting."

On the train ride back to Baltimore the three of us agreed that that we really appreciated having the opportunity to help a young team to be creative and generate ideas.  Having grown up in a Mary Kay household, I really enjoyed hearing the students perspectives and sharing my insights.  These kids not only wowed us with their Mary Kay smarts, but it was encouraging to hear their philanthropic values and ideas on the future of advertising as well.  

For more information on how you can get involved with AdCamp, check out their link on the AAF website and facebook page.

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