||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
'Advertising Campaigns' Class
Works on Eau Claire County Census
MAILED: Nov. 12, 1999|
When advertising majors and minors in Tim Leutwiler's "Advertising Campaigns" class at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire meet, they are doing more than just learning about advertising. They're helping the Eau Claire community.
Leutwiler, assistant professor of communications and journalism, gets his students involved in the Chippewa Valley through work with real companies by helping them create an advertising campaign that best suits their company. Currently, the class is working with the Eau Claire County Census Committee on its Census 2000 program. The class is creating an advertising campaign to encourage more people to fill out their census forms, which will be mailed in March 2000.
Students are working in seven teams or rather seven competing ad agencies. Their job is to find out which people are least likely to fill out their census forms and why. Then they must come up with an advertising campaign targeting those people. The best ideas generated in the campaigns will be used by the Census Committee to promote participation in the 2000 census.
"The competitive nature of it drives (the students) to be more creative with it," Leutwiler said of the structure of the class.
Leutwiler has taught the class this way for several years. Past classes have created advertising campaigns for various organizations and businesses including the Eau Claire County recycling program, Feed My People, Chippewa Springs bottled water and Fischers' White House restaurant in Eau Claire. The students working with Fischers' White House helped redesign the menus and create the logo that is used there today.
This year, students have considered advertising for the census on buses, on grocery store bags and possibly on the big screen during movie previews at local theaters.
"Working on a campaign such as the census and deciphering the various parts and ideas that go into a project like this will help in some aspects of our future jobs," said senior Sara Weber, Cedarburg, who currently is taking the Campaigns class.
By involving students in real life campaigns that are actually implemented by the companies, they are gaining work experience that will help them in future jobs.
"It really is the best experience you can get in the campus environment," Leutwiler said. "It's real. These are the real problems that you face."
Jon Tulman, the Eau Claire County committee clerk and staff person working with the Eau Claire County Census Committee, said the class is helping to benefit the community through their campaign work.
"The community will benefit by an increase in federal funds," Tulman said of the need for increased participation in the census.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, participating in the census is in the best interest of the community. People who answer the census help the community gain federal funding. Information gathered from the census helps decision-makers determine which neighborhoods need new schools and which ones need greater services for the elderly. The census also helps determine which communities should obtain federal funding and information for hospitals and road repairs.
"Until I started this project, I thought the census was used for statistical data," said senior Doug Sticksel, Excelsior, Minn., who also is taking the class. "I had no idea how involved the census was in distributing government funds. If we can get that message across to Eau Claire County through this class, I think it will be beneficial."
The Eau Claire County Census Committee is looking forward to implementing the students' ideas.
"We intend to use as many ideas as possible within the realities of our budget," Tulman said. "The committee is open to the idea of utilizing some students as interns once the class project is concluded."
John Tuchtenhagen, River Falls, a former student in Leutwiler's class and a 1998 graduate of UW-Eau Claire, said the campaigns class helped him get the job he now holds.
"I knew what it was like to work on an ad campaign," he said. "That gave me a distinct advantage over the other people applying for the job. I had three job offers in less than a month of job searching, and (the class) was a major reason why."
Tuchtenhagen credits Leutwiler for his success in advertising.
"He does a great job getting clients that are actually willing to implement some of the ideas we came up with instead of just letting us spin our wheels for a semester and then not even using what was developed," Tuchtenhagen said.
Weber said she is learning a lot about what advertising is really like through the class. The class is learning to deal with advertisers and businesses and is building contacts.
"I am learning that I can do this on my own," she said. "It builds confidence in ourselves, knowing that we can do this and we are doing this. It gives you insight into the real world and is a real work in progress, not a hypothetical one."
The class will present its ideas to the census committee Dec. 7th and 9th. Some things included in the presentations are a detailed plan, strategies for implementing the plan and the estimated budget needed to implement the plan.
Overall, the class has had a real impact on the students who have taken it.
"It made me realize that advertising was what I wanted to do in my life," Tuchtenhagen said. "Finding out what you're good at and will be happy doing is a great feeling."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Nov. 12, 1999