The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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ExxonMobil lecture discusses advertising as ‘Brand Heroism’

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Caruth Auditorium in the Owen Fine Arts Center was filled with advertising, journalism and communications students, professors and alumni, as well as those simply drawn to the lecture based on the interesting topic and the prominent speaker Thursday evening.

Before the lecture, famous and well-known Nike, Miller High Life and ESPN advertisements played on the screen – all the work of Hal Curtis, the evening’s lecturer.

Hal Curtis is creative director of the Portland, Oregon, advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy. He has been with the agency since 1994, and has been the creative director on such accounts as Nike and Coca-Cola since 1997.

In 2006, Hal Curtis was named one of the 50 most influential creative leaders of the last 20 years by Advertising Age’s Creativity magazine.

As Advertising Adjunct Lecturer Christopher Owens told his students, “The fact that Hal Curtis is here tonight and you get to hear him for free is a pretty unique experience that even students in portfolio schools don’t always get the chance to have.”

The lecture, entitled “Brand Heroism: Advertising as a Force for Good,” was part of the seventh annual ExxonMobil Lecture Series, which brings speakers to campus to discuss issues regarding ethics in the realm of advertising, journalism and media.

The lecture was co-sponsored by The Temerlin Advertising Institute and The Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

Dr. Patricia Alvey, Distinguished Chair and Director of Temerlin Advertising Institute, introduced the lecture, saying, “When done right, for the right reasons, [advertising] adds to our collective culture in the most positive way. When done right, it works.”

The lecture was held in an interview format, with Krys Boyd, host of KERA’s “Think,” doing the questioning. Curtis also brought with him a plethora of meaningful advertisements to play throughout the lecture in order to illustrate his points and show his growth as a creative director, saying at one point, “I brought the very first television commercial I ever did – it’s not very good.”

Curtis used his sense of humor to reach the audience and get his points across. Though the lecture was on ethics, he did not take himself too seriously. He said that he was realistic about what he could do. He was not going to try to convince Coca-Cola to take a stand on global warming, but could attempt to incorporate certain sound values into their advertisements, and that is the heroic stand.

Owens said to his students, “I love this topic of brand heroism because, at the end of the day, even though it’s just advertising, it’s just ads, it does often seem to be like a hero versus coward situation out there.”

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