AUD’s Student-Based Advertising Agency

Less than six months ago, Marketing Communications students at AUD started The Agency, a departmental club which functions as a student-based advertising agency.Today, the Agency is a successful association which promotes other clubs and events on campus, as well as taking up projects and collaborating with the off-campus community.Omar El Fadil Tom, President of The Agency, is a Marketing Communications senior at AUD as well as co-founder of The Vibe, AUD’s dance crew.“When The Agency first started I did not expect it to grow this much,” said Omar, “or at least not in this short time frame.”During AUD’s annual clubs sign ups, The Agency had 35 sign ups, and today it consists of 25 active ‘agents’.Omar admitted that he was, “actually impressed by the influence [The Agency] had on the community. Everybody was for The Agency, and even people who were not part of it were also for the agency.”Professor Sara Kamal, Assistant Professor of Marketing Communications at AUD, is the faculty sponsor and advisor. A big portion of her research work is related to social media and its influence on society. She introduced her students to Twitter by posting articles and videos related to their classes, and she also organized weekly tweetups to allow live discussions among the students.“I see students as learners, and knowledge is a two-way street. I personally have learned from the students as well,” she said, expressing her happiness with what the students had started.Disha Paragani, The Agency’s Vice President, is an AUD senior double majoring in Marketing and Marketing Communications. She spoke about her commitment and belonging to The Agency.“It’s like a child you can never let go of,” she said. After her graduation Disha plans to still be in touch with the organization. “I will be one phone call away.”

This is what Dr. Kamal aims for also, hoping that the graduating agents will remain in touch with The Agency.

The current agents are committed and “have a sense of ownership”, Dr. Kamal explained. During their weekly meetings, there is always a work agenda for all the projects. Each agent or group of agents is usually in charge of one of the projects. Everything is supervised by Omar and Disha, Dr. Kamal signing off her approval.Their main aim is to give the students a taste of the responsibility that comes along with working in the industry. “New students, especially Freshmen, usually have many misconceptions about the industry and what courses to take,” Omar explained. “So we can guide them throughout that process.”He added, “we also are here to break the wall between students and the work field, creating a network that extends from within AUD outwards to reach the larger community off campus.”“The current agents are great, but since many of them are graduating, it will be difficult to fill in their shoes,” Omar said.He explained how the bar has been set so high, and how they plan to keep up the high standards.But no one is very worried about the graduating agents. “It will be interesting to see the new agents come on board,” Dr. Kamal said, “hopefully their perspectives will contribute to the growth of The Agency,” she added.Omar and Disha realized the growing influence of social media on the Marketing Communications and Advertising industries and the public and, therefore, it plays an important role in The Agency’s operations.“Our only methods of advertising were roll up banners with nothing but The Agency’s logo on them and our social media links. This definitely stirred up the students’ curiosity,” Omar explained.Dr. Kamal was very excited when Omar and Disha told her they wanted to volunteer to create the community. “These students make every day of my job worth it,” she said.The members of The Agency have high hopes for their operation. “I certainly hope that aside from becoming one of the most successful student associations within AUD, I also hope it’ll be taking up more projects externally,” said Disha.
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