Communication students were treated to a tightly packed tour of leading Washington, D.C. advertising and public relations agencies during a recent trip organized by Professor Hugo Ottolenghi, who teaches applied multimedia communication and public relations writing.
Aaliyah Gordon, Justine Ortiz, Natalia Reynaldo, and Olga Kalinnikova jetted into D.C. and hit the ground running with tours and sit-downs with the staffs of the Ad Council, the largest producer of public service advertising; RP 3, which is a unique meld of PR and advertising in a single agency; Social Driver, a digital- and social media-focused agency; Hager Sharp, which focuses only on accounts with a social justice, environmental, or healthcare component; The Ocean Conservancy, which advocates for protection of sea life and the creation of more marine sanctuaries; and Edelman, a worldwide communications and public relations powerhouse, named the 2018 Global Digital Agency of the Year.
The students were exposed to thought-provoking discussions–after hearing about the dangers of plastic straws and the global messaging efforts aimed at reducing worldwide plastic pollution at Ocean Conservancy, Edelman staffers shared their work in the healthcare sector, where plastic straws might be a vital tool used in the care of disabled patients. The round table there also included account supervisor Alex Romano discussing how he assists different companies gauge the extent to which they need to be, or should be, involved in controversial subjects: Not every company emulates Nike and its use of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in its advertising, for example.
Several discussions centered on how to apply for internships; Bradley Ingram, public relations associate at RP 3, outlined how Washington, perhaps not commonly thought of as a trend-setter, is actually fast becoming a hot spot for leading-edge communication and public relations strategies–and attracting top-notch talent from all over the world.
After a wrap-up reception at the National Press Club, it was time to pack up and head home, with four students ready to buy a warm coat for a future D.C. opportunity!