The Diamond Edge Communications advertising course, formerly known as the Creative Services Workshop, predates the advertising department by nearly two decades.
Started in the mid-1980s as a way for students to gain extra experience, the class was rebranded and relaunched in 2003 as DEC, and is now a way for ad majors to work with real-world clients in an atypical classroom setting.
“[DEC] is run with the intention of giving students real-world experience, more than an internship and more than a classroom,” said Joe Glennon, an assistant advertising professor and the director of the program. “We always say it’s real work for real clients, real experience and in the real world.”
Glennon said while students have a set class time, the majority of work is done outside of class, sometimes at the location of the client, and functions similar to a normal advertising deparment.
Students in the course are responsible for various aspects of the advertising process, like art direction, account managing, copywriting and research. Though Glennon said the prerequisites restrict the course to advertising majors only, there are positions on each team to correspond with the four different tracks under the major.
At the beginning of the semester, students are split into groups of four or five, depending on the number of clients. In the past, clients have ranged from the U.S. Department of State to small, Philadelphia-based businesses.
To find clients for students to work with, Glennon said the program has been around long enough that many companies and organizations come to him, though a portion of the clientele are former Temple students.
Last semester, one student group partnered with Philadelphia-based agency 160over90 for Temple’s Take Charge Campaign, an experience junior Lindsey Casella said is helping her tremendously in securing an internship this semester.
“I would say it was a lot of pressure,” the advertising major said. “We had dozens of ideas, but we had to think, ‘Will [160over90] approve of it?’”
Casella said she and her group of five other students were responsible for coming up with creative events and aspects of the campaign that Temple could adopt and would grow over the years.
One of the group’s ideas included implementing owls’ wings into the campaign as a kind of new logo for the university, which group member and Temple men’s basketball player Nick Pendergast helped launch via the Cherry Crusade.
“The most rewarding part is walking out of there and seeing your work in action,” Casella said. “I’ve had interviews for internships all semester and it’s good to be able to show them what you’ve done.”
This semester, students have been working with Fort Mifflin (a Revolutionary and Civil War era fort near Philadelphia International Airport), TWB Cleaning Services, Boomerang Concierge Service and Temple’s advertising department, on a “senior showcase event” to be held on April 29.
“For our students, [the showcase] is another opportunity to brand something from scratch,” Glennon said. “We needed all sorts of promotional materials, to talk to our own students, but also to recruit industry leaders to come to campus and participate in the showcase.
“It’s our students exposing themselves to not just people that can hire them potentially, but the real leaders and the movers and shakers in advertising,” he added. “It’s a great showcase for them. It’s a great showcase for our program – everybody wins with that one.”
Glennon said although the program functions well right now, he would like to see Diamond Edge have a stronger presence on campus and beyond in the future.
“I would love to have a presence on Broad Street or Cecil B. Moore Avenue and have that physical reminder that the students are doing real work for real clients, and that the students are getting real experience,” Glennon said. “It would also raise our visibility in the community, so that community groups – business people and entrepreneurs – could see us and have that nice back and forth relationship.”
Glennon said a goal of the agency is to provide affordable services, allowing organizations and businesses opportunities they may otherwise not have access too.
“A big part of our mission should be providing services that some clients can’t normally afford,” Glennon said. “Traditional advertising agency or branding shop, it’s an expensive proposition. We charge very reasonable rates [and] the students do wonderful work.”
Alexa Bricker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.