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Class project gives high school students a taste of ad world

The project-winning team at Woodbury High School of Breana Voss, Chelsie Griffin and Bailey Zilles said they are excited to see if their advertising ideas are used. Staff photo by Amber Kispert

The advertising community is a dog-eat-dog world -- it's eat or be eaten.

For one Woodbury High School class, the students found themselves in the heart of this cut-throat world, and for a grade.

"To create things for a client always adds relevance and realism to the course work that I teach," Lynn O'Driscoll, WHS business teacher, said. "And I believe that's what's most beneficial to students, that's where they see the connections and the tie ins to what happens outside the classroom."

O'Driscoll's advertising students recently completed a project which gave them the task of creating an entire advertising campaign for Bridge 121, located in Woodbury Lutheran Church.

Bridge 121 is a community living room where teens can come together after school in a safe environment. There's plenty of food and drinks at the café and all of the latest video games.

Bridge 121 manager Derek Broten said he is very excited to see what the students come up with, and hopefully use them to draw in more teens.

"I'm always amazed by students, especially when they get excited about something," he said. "It's way better stuff than adults give them credit for or afford them the opportunity to do."

For the project, students were divided up into eight groups and had to brainstorm an advertising campaign and create a variety of media products, such as a newspaper advertisement, a flyer, a T-shirt design and a sticker.

In addition to the assigned media, students were required to design three advertisements, some of which include bumper stickers, brochures, pens, water bottles, sweat pants and car decals.

"This was my way of giving them a very small taste of what it would be like to work on a campaign and for a client," O'Driscoll said. "Choosing images, choosing font styles, choosing colors that would appeal to their customer really made them focus on a customer rather than their own ideas."

On March 25 students presented their finished projects to their class and on March 26, O'Driscoll had her other business classes come in and vote on which campaign they thought was the best.

The winning team will have all of their advertising campaign materials sent to Bridge 121 for its use.

"How cool would that be for these students to see their flyer about Bridge 121 posted at Cub or Starbucks and know 'I did that and now everyone that comes in here is going to see something I did."

The winning team, Team Shockwave, made up of Breana Voss, Chelsea Griffin and Bailey Zilles, said they thought the advertising project was a good idea and really ran with it.

"We took the project more seriously because it was for a client," Zilles said.

The girls said they are really excited about the fact that they could one day see the products that they designed being used.

"It's exciting to think that you created it," Voss said.

Whereas most groups designed their T-shirts in Photoshop and printed them out, these girls took it upon themselves to make their own.

"Making the T-shirts was a nightmare," Griffin said.

O'Driscoll said the biggest challenge for her students was not only realizing that they had to work within someone's else guidelines and constraints, but doing that as a group.

"It's knowing that they had to work within someone else's constraints but make it pleasing to the client also," she said. "It definitely gave them exposure to more collaborative group work."

O'Driscoll said all the groups, not just the winning one, excelled in putting together a professional advertising campaign in only a week.

"They're very creative, they have very unique ideas, and they're risk takers," she said. "That's what you need to be in marketing, you need to have that innovation and creativity to set you apart from the competition."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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