Dec. 28, 2004

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Contact: Jennifer Kinnard, School of Journalism and Mass Communications, (785) 864-7644.

KU Strategic Campaigns students get a real-world exercise in ‘the art of the sell’

LAWRENCE -- To learn the real-world “art of the sell” from start to finish, 76 University of Kansas students in a Strategic Campaigns class spent the fall 2004 semester working on marketing projects with Sprint, a multinational corporation; Kansas Speedway, a regional business; and Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

For at least 50 years, the intensive course has been offered each fall and spring semester through the KU William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, according to Bob Basow, associate professor of journalism and 1967 KU graduate who took the course in fall 1966 when it was called Advertising Campaigns.

For students planning careers in strategic communications, this academic drill is their final course in an undergraduate degree program that prepares them for careers in advertising, public relations, event planning, and other business- and marketing-related fields. The campaign-plans books students develop become important to portfolios for future job interviews. Most of the students are journalism majors.

In the educational training exercise, students work in teams, usually five to eight people, learning to help an organization solve a current problem by conducting research, developing a marketing strategy, creating a plan and producing a campaign, including a budget and timetable to promote an idea or a new product and a method to evaluate success.

After the behind-the-scenes work, student teams from each class presented their recommendations formally in a simulated business setting.

KU has three senior full-time journalism faculty members who teach the campaigns class. Tim Bengtson, Reed teaching professor of journalism, has taught the class at KU for 25 years. Basow has taught it for 17 years. David Guth, associate journalism dean and associate professor of journalism, has taught the course for 13 years. Basow said assigning this level of faculty experience and rank to teaching campaigns makes KU unusual among universities.

Bengtson taught the group doing the project for Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Basow and I-Huei Cheng, assistant professor of journalism, worked with the Sprint campaign class. Students of Guth and Kerry Benson, journalism lecturer, did their project for Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

KU professors select clients who, among other qualifications, will provide the step-by-step training instructors want their students to have.

Although students do not charge for their services, clients provide grants to the journalism school to help defray costs to produce the campaigns and plans books.

As part of a previous class exercise, Bengtson's students invented the character Broadband Man for Lawrence’s Sunflower Broadband and the World Company, where executives Dolph Simons Jr., Dolph Simons III and Dan Simons are KU graduates. Bengtson as well as Basow and Guth said other clients have used the students' recommendations, although perhaps not necessarily so directly or immediately.

Bengtson said clients often are firms where former KU campaigns class alumni now work in management roles.
Among others, Bengtson's students have worked with KU grads Dave Moore, a Lawrence High School graduate who is executive vice-president of McCann-Erickson in Detroit, where he is creative director on the Buick account, and Don Fogarty, director of marketing for the Chipotle restaurant chain, headquartered in Denver. Since he began teaching in 1991, Guth has had classes do campaigns for about 30 public service and not-for-profit organizations and state agencies, including KU Athletics, chambers of commerce, the Kansas Union at KU and Citizens Medical Center in Colby. In addition to Sprint, Basow's projects have involved such large corporations as Commerce Bank, Coca-Cola, Union Broadcasting, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Students doing work for one of the three clients are listed by name, hometown, client, major, and parents and high school, if available at

Hometowns in Kansas: Baldwin City, Belle Plaine, Burlington, Coffeyville, Dodge City, Emporia, Fairway, Garden City, Hutchinson, Lansing, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Lenexa, Manhattan, Merriam, Olathe, Overland Park, Oskaloosa, Prairie Village, Pratt, Russell, Satanta, Shawnee, Solomon, Syracuse, Wichita and Topeka; Cave Springs, Ark.; Mesa and Scottsdale, Ariz.; Littleton, Colo.; Harlan, Iowa; Lincolnshire, Ill.; Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Louis Park, Minn.; Manchester, Parkville and St. Charles, Mo.; Fremont, Norfolk and Omaha, Neb.; Edmond and Tulsa, Okla.; and Dallas, Texas.


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