Nonprofit Benefits from Community Service Learning
May 21, 2004 5:36 PM
Two SF State Community Service Learning classes presented television, radio and print advertisements to their client, Theatre Bay Area Magazine, colleagues, and teachers during a ceremony Tuesday, May 11.
The Advanced Video Production class and the Advertising Creativity Class consisted of three competing groups who created their own advertising campaigns for the non-profit magazine. During the ceremony the groups saw, for the first time, what their competitors had been working on all semester.
The unveiling ceremony was held in the light storage room of the Creative Arts building. The three groups were each made up of roughly 20 students, but only up to six presented the final project to the audience of about 80.
Each group was required to do their own research into what kind of marketing would be most effective for the theatre audience. Groups focused on researching the target audience, the need for the magazine in the theatre industry and the competition. They then created numerous ads to cover the breadth of the magazine and explained why it is better than the other magazines targeting the same audience.
"By doing this we feel like we're giving back to the community and using the production skills we have learned here for a good cause," Vanessa Pinheiro, one group’s producer, said. "This was a service learning experience which combined learning with community service. It opened our eyes to the connection we have with the community."
During the unveiling ceremony each group presented the required two print ads, two radio ads and three television commercials, each portraying their unique style and tag lines. One television ad depicted classic theatre culture with pictures and sounds from actual theatre productions, while one radio ad portrayed the comprehensive scope of the magazine with the omnipresent voice of God enlightening theatregoers with news of the valuable resource, Theatre Bay Area Magazine.
One advertisement said the magazine is a monthly publication sold in 37 Bay Area bookstores. It covers theatre events throughout nine California counties, publishing information on 300 theatre companies. The magazine offers "the most complete guide to theatrical information in Northern California," another ad claimed.
The marketing committee of Theatre Bay Area Magazine will choose the specific ads they would like to use in their campaign, maybe picking favorite pieces from each group, magazine business manager Pete Ratajczak said.
Hamid Khani, professor of Advanced Video Production, said the process they use to create the ads is the same as professional advertising agencies. Potential clients come in at the beginning of the term and present their needs. The advertising groups, the students, decide which client they would like to work with and then split into groups that compete to have their ads chosen and ultimately used by the client.
"I think classes like this where you bridge what we're learning with the community is really important," Petra Denkert, another ad campaign producer, said. "It's just about as close as you can get to the real world while you're still a student."
Both the Editor-in-Chief Karen McKevitt and Ratajczak are SF State graduates, which gave them incentive to work with the school to create their advertising campaign. They said the magazine has very little money for advertising and they figured that someone at SF State would have the ability to help them create a campaign.
During the ceremony McKevitt thanked the students graciously and expressed her delight with the outcome of their efforts. "I'm really impressed with the professional presentation and very well articulated concepts of the ads," she said.
Ratajczak said after the ceremony, "The process was very easy, fantastic. The only complaint is we don't have enough money to show the ads more."
The print ads will come out as early as July, while the television and radio ads will not air until September or October, closer to theatre season, Ratajczak said.
Khani said other campaigns his classes have worked on include a Fair Trade Campaign, used to empower family farmers to seek fair wages for their work; and Early Prenatal Care Campaign, which informed lower income women of the need to seek prenatal care. The campaign to receive the most publicity was entitled Shop Smart, which encouraged people to buy food with minimal packaging. The Shop Smart ads were aired on all major TV network affiliates with $180,000 being spent on them. The ads potentially reached up to 12 million people, Khani said.
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