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The winning team from the fall 2010 "Brandtailing" class
won $10,000.

It pays to go to class

TAMPA, Fla. -- Imagine taking a class that offers real-world, on the job experience and the chance to actually make some money. A class like that may sound too good to be true for some. But for one class, it’s a reality.

Students taking the Brandtailing class in the School of Mass Communication’s Zimmerman Advertising Program (ZAP) got the chance to pitch an advertising campaign to a real client. Brandtailing is the Zimmerman’s branding and retailing philosophy. In the fall 2010 semester the client was Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

The class centered on an advertising campaign competition. Student’s team up and pitch ideas to an actual client. Industry professionals work with students and offer constructive feedback. Michael Goldberg, chief marketing officer and Cliff Courtney, chief strategy officer for the Zimmerman agency served as the professional mentors for the course.

“The feedback is from true working professionals from the 15th-largest advertising agency in the country -- and a real client with a real need, a national client,” said Coby O’Brien, ZAP professor in the USF School of Mass Communications.

Carrabba’s representatives presented the company’s needs to students. Throughout the course of the semester, students conducted researched based on those needs and composed a presentation.

At the end of the semester, five teams made their presentations to a panel of judges including, the directors of the School of Mass Communications and the College of Business, members of the Carrabba’s marketing department and professionals from the Zimmerman agency.

“Students got judged on the actual standards of a real agency; it’s qualified by working professionals who do this for a living and have to win client pitches and what they do to,” O’Brien said.

The student presentations had to reach some lofty heights -- not only meeting the needs of the client and the scrutiny of professional mentors -- but also satisfying academic standards set by the instructor.

Carrabba’s was willing to put up some money if the students’ work met the needs of the organization -- just as they would pay for services from an actual agency. Carrabba’s offered $8,000 and Zimmerman pitched in another $2,000. The winning presentation was something Carrabba’s ultimately felt was an idea worth paying for.

“Just like in the real world -- they paid for the final product, they bought the ideas in the final presentation,” O’Brien said. “What more could you ask for from a course, real feedback, real experience and real money.”

The winning team of Whitney Smyth, Caitlin Simpson, Joel Wynn, Anna Crowe, Lily Gerhard and Sean Chapman won $10,000 for its efforts, not bad for a semester’s worth of work. Previous versions of this class also have awarded prizes to the winning teams -- including a car.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Mass Communications School of Social Sciences Student Success  
Author: Chris Joy