PHD 9.0 helps connect advertising students and their research on Gen-Z with professional agency executives

PHD 9.0 helps connect advertising students and their research on Gen-Z with professional agency executives

June 11, 2020

Seven senior advertising majors comprised Grady College’s team of researchers who presented to executives and staff from PHD Media Worldwide, a global communications planning and media buying agency. This is the ninth year of the PHD Media and Grady College partnership.

The team of advertising students consisted of Jordan Callaway, Mary Kate Hayes, Jayda Hill, Kevin Jones, Cori Lowenstein, Olamide Ogunjobi and Spencer Williams.

The participating students were selected through a competitive interview process in October 2019 and received a scholarship from PHD for their participation. Many previous participants have landed jobs through the program.

PHD 9.0 directed the students to provide information on how communicators can connect with Generation-Z. PHD gave the student team six question areas to choose from and asked them to do a deep dive into four.

“We choose the topics that we felt like would be great topics for interviews with our friends and classmates,” said Hill. “Those topics were femvertising, gaming, brands that take a stand, and fake news and distrust.”

Students and instructors collaborated remotely via video conference to prep for the PHD Media presentation.

The presentation is typically in-person at PHD Media’s New York office, but was done via videoconference this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The year did not go as anticipated, but we were still able to conduct research and collaborate on creating a presentation,” Lowenstein said. “Learning how to work remotely is a valuable skill, and I plan to talk about this unique experience in future interviews.”

The team of Grady College students received warm compliments from PHD Media executives, including from Avin Narasimhan, U.S. head of communications planning at PHD and the primary contact for the advertising students.

“The students did a wonderful job, as always, and we’ve been hearing lots of positive feedback from across the agency,” Narasimhan said after the presentation in May.

While a virtual presentation provided many challenges, it also enabled more executives to view the students’ work. At one point, more than 90 PHD media executives from around the nation were on the video conference.

Students credit Karen King, a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor, for leading them through the disrupted spring semester and helping adapt to virtual teamwork.

“Dr. King was such a pleasure to work with,” Lowenstein said. “She made working remotely so pleasant and really helped the team grow.”

King has led each group of Grady students through the existence of the partnership with PHD Media.

“This has been one of my favorite experiential learning opportunities I have worked on in the Grady ADPR department,” King said. “The students are bright, motivated, enthusiastically embrace the challenges and learn to look for the insights.”

King says the research and exposure into the media planning and strategy has inspired students to pursue careers as media, strategy and programmatic buying at places like PHD, Facebook, Google, Mindshare, Moxie, and other similar ad and media agencies.

“For me personally, I want to be a strategist at an advertising agency,” Hill said. “This experience has taught me to think like a strategist, conduct proper interviews and gather results that lead brands to better understand their consumers”

Part of the students’ presentation can be viewed here.