Advertising: Passion to action

A firefighter, a police officer, a rock star – these are the dream careers that frequently cross children’s minds. Unfortunately, today’s media-consumed children also may want to be the next Kim Kardashian or Honey Boo-Boo. Typically, no 5-year-old wakes up and decides to be the next Dan Wieden or Lee Clow, both advertising legends.

Yet, all the people mentioned above have one thing in common: they worked hard to achieve their wildest dreams. For most people, achieving dreams by doing something they love is almost as easy as squeezing the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube – seemingly impossible.

Joonghwa Lee

Joonghwa Lee

For Dr. Joonghwa Lee, however, nothing is impossible. “When I was in school,” Lee said, “I wanted to study something new and cool … something I was passionate about.” Coming from the hustle and bustle of South Korea’s busy economic highway and high-speed digital media platforms, Lee ultimately found a parasitic passion for advertising and came to the states to infect interested students here at MTSU with this passion.

“Advertising education is very dynamic today, and the industry is always growing, but that’s not enough,” Lee said. In fact, he conceded, the advertising sequence at MTSU often gets overshadowed by the larger public relations and journalism sequences. Thus, Lee and other advertising faculty members are doing everything they can to spark more interest in the minds of undecided students.

The decisions made today affect what happens tomorrow. “The stronger our ad sequence, the stronger our students’ futures,” Lee said. He believes introducing courses such as international advertising and digital-media advertising would benefit the creative ad sequence’s future greatly.

Lee isn’t the only advertising professor that has high hopes for the program. Dr. Tricia Farwell also believes the ever-expanding ad sequence has come a long way but also has a ways to go. “It is going to be an exciting time for the ad sequence at MTSU,” Farwell said. “We are also working on developing additional courses for our students to develop their awareness and skills in research, international issues and interactive advertising.”

Lee and Farwell agreed that the cherry on top of a successful advertising sequence is the equally contributive and passionate faculty willing to motivate students day in and day out. “Even though the ad sequence is small and numbers are important, the quality of our teaching is more important,” Lee emphasized.

Veteran advertising professor John Bodle said, “Advertising is evolving. We as a faculty are trying to prepare our students by staying one step ahead of the technological advances.” And he added, “Images and words can persuade people. Our job in advertising is to figure which words and which images can change people’s minds and buying habits.”

In efforts to reach out to prospective advertising students, MTSU’s advertising faculty members hope that MT Ad Club will eventually be a driving force of the ad sequence. “In the future, we will be more responsive to the ever-changing direction and advancements in the industry,” Farwell said.

To keep dreams alive and passion thriving, Lee said advertising students must remember that “everything is advertising,” and the future of the advertising sequence at MTSU depends on them.

“Ultimately,” Lee said, “we are the future of advertising.” TLE

Miranda Troup wrote this feature while a student in Sharon Fitzgerald’s Media Writing class. She is an advertising major.

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Categories: Faculty, News, Students

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