Olamide Ogunjobi (AB ‘20) named one of AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Students

Recent graduate Olamide Ogunjobi (AB ’20) was recently named one of the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF)  Most Promising Multicultural Students. She and about 50 other students from across the country participated in the program’s virtual session in late January.

“Ola is one of the most hard-working, deserving honorees I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Kirsten Strausbaugh, senior lecturer in advertising.

The AAF connects the best multicultural college seniors and young graduates with the advertising industry. This year’s virtual program provided students with networking opportunities and personal brand coaching. The AAF hopes to help ad agencies recruit new talent and properly reflect today’s diverse society.      

“It’s a challenging climate for advertisers and their clients currently, with budget cuts, layoffs, businesses closing and all of the uncertainty surrounding us,” Strausbaugh said. “Participating in this program will give Ola the exposure she needs to active, healthy ad agencies who are in a position to recruit and hire top entry-level talent.”

Ogunjobi graduated in May 2020 with degrees in advertising and economics. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed her to branch out and try new roles in UX design and public relations. 

“Trying new things helped me figure out what was the perfect fit for me. I’ve now found the right role for me in operations at an ad agency,” Ogunjobi said, who currently works for Porter Novelli.  

While a student, Ogunjobi participated in Ad Club and Grady’s Ph.D. Media Collective. These clubs gave her insight into how real-world ad agencies worked, and she heard from both experts and interns about things they wished they knew before jump starting their careers. 

The AAF program taught Ogunjobi how to be more confident in her craft, she said. The program’s creative workshops inspired her to change how she presents her work. 

“The recognition meant a lot, especially since I’ve known amazing people that were a part of the program,” Ogunjobi said. “It means even more to be in community with a lot of amazing groups of individuals.”

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

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.

PHD Grady Creative Collective researches media habits of multicultural millennials and Gen Zers

Multicultural millennials—those who identify as non-white—are on pace to make up the majority of all millennials by 2022, according to research cited by the PHD Grady Creative Collective, a learning partnership in its sixth year.

“Currently they are at about 45 percent of millennials and only increasing, which also means that their trillions of dollars in buying power is also increasing,” explained Savannah Rabin, a senior advertising major.

With this data in mind, the team was tasked with examining “a day in the life of a millennial’s phone” in addition to studying the media habits of multicultural millennials and older Generation Zers—“digital natives” born after 1995.

Rabin and fellow advertising seniors Kate Ackerman, Stephanie Addo, Grace Brandus, Grace Greenblatt, Ashton Litle and Katherine York were selected through a competitive process to work on the project for global media and communications agency PHD USA.

“The topic was incredibly complex with so many varying factors,” said Rabin. “It was difficult trying to pull insights without generalizing a group who is far from homogenous.”

“They worked incredibly hard and were highly motivated,” said Karen King, Jim Kennedy Professor of New Media and advertising, who advises the students.  “They did secondary research and a lot of primary research—over 100 in-depth interviews. We greatly appreciate our partners at PHD for giving our students this opportunity.”

Through the experience, Grace Greenblatt said she learned a lot about ethnic groups’ opinions on media and their different preferences. “It was really interesting to see how culture varies and how that manifests in media decisions,” she said.

All of the students’ hard work culminated in a trip to PHD USA in New York City to present their insights to executives on April 7, 2017.

“After our 45-minute presentation, we had an extremely engaging Q&A with the brightest minds of the New York office,” said Kate Ackerman. “Diving into such complex questions that I’m sure are being used right now for specific clients gave so much meaning to our six months of hard work.”

Added Grace Brandus: “My favorite part of the New York trip was the evening after our presentation when we met up with Grady alumni— many of whom had done the Creative Collective—and got to talk to them about their experiences, New York and life after college.”

The students expressed gratitude for the real-world experience they gleaned from the opportunity.

“I am grateful to PHD and Grady for supporting such an amazing program,” said Ashton Litle. “I am excited to see the program continue in the future!”