MSUToday
Published: June 6, 2018

Advertising professor uses class to give back to the community

Contact(s): Nicole Szymczak College of Communication Arts and Sciences office: (517) 353-5981 nls@msu.edu

Nonprofits rely on donations and support, and with thousands of organizations to choose from, it can be difficult to convince the public to support your goals. Faculty and students from the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Michigan State University are using their skills to help.

David Regan, advertising and public relations professor, has had his ADV 486: Integrated Campaigns students work with nonprofits for the past 17 years. His nonprofit client list grows every year, including organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Lansing Promise, The Davies Project for Children and Boy Scouts of America.  

“I felt this relationship would truly benefit the mid-Michigan community,” Regan said. “The students get more involved because they’re helping people in need and they feel their work will get used and be beneficial to the nonprofits, more so than to big brands that have powerful ad agencies doing their campaigns.”     

Regan’s students are divided into two to three ad agencies, and each group conducts research, plots a strategy, creates an integrated advertising campaign and presents their ideas to key decision-makers within the nonprofit organization. 

Pam Miklavcic, executive director for The Davies Project for Children, has worked with two of Regan’s classes. The organization adopted the student-created tagline, “More than just a ride,” which is now used as an integral piece of their branding. 

“Because we are working on a shoestring budget, we do rely on community support, so to be able to have that kind of valuable input saved us money while giving us incredible ideas to work with,” Miklavcic said. “To have the viewpoint of younger generations to work with is critical to helping us spread our message.”                        

Advertising and public relations professor Stephen Flaster was inspired by Regan's course structure and began adopting similar methods two years ago. His ADV 486 and ADV 492: Special Topics classes have worked with nonprofit organizations.

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