A student-run ad agency, part of the Office of Student Media at Louisiana State University (LSU), first came to our attention by requesting consideration for MEDIA Agency of the Year.
While the answer was no, the asking was the point. The students who intern or hold paying jobs at the agency regularly challenge themselves to design innovative campaigns and execute them at low cost. On a small scale, they're working on the same issues as corporate agencies.
"Say the [campus] TV station needs a show promoted," says Liz Wilks, an LSU senior who earns academic credit as the agency's marketing manager. "We have interns who will develop the creative strategy and say, 'What are your goals?' "
Past campaigns have included microsites, print ads in the campus paper, e-mail blasts, and guerrilla marketing efforts, from chalking sidewalks to prize patrols. Promoting the school's kickball teams, the agency had team members hang out on campus and kick balls to passers-by, then chat them up.
Wilks says the agency has an $8,000 budget and keeps business hours. Staff read trade publications for ideas, mainly "nontraditional media. We're testing the water," Wilks says.