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Marketing students gain real life experience creating and publishing a print ad

There is nothing like real life experience when it comes to learning about how to work collaboratively with a client, as well as other students. Last fall, Messiah College Associate Professor in Marketing David Hagenbuch challenged his Consumer Behavior class with a service-learning project in which they were asked to work collaboratively with a non-profit organization to develop an advertisement.


Chad Frey, director of the Agape Center for Service and Learning, talks about service-learning and how Messiah students are using their time, interests, and expertise to impact the community.

“In marketing courses, service-learning provides a great opportunity for our students to learn important concepts in the discipline by experiencing them,” says Hagenbuch. “Our Consumer Behavior Ad Project is particularly stimulating because it requires both strategic thinking and creative expression.  Of course, it’s also very motivating to do this work for the benefit of the wonderful community-building organizations we serve.”

Team Dynamics

“Kevin Connally had the Lacrosse experience being a Messiah Lacrosse player, so he had knowledge about the industry that became very helpful to our team. Sean Hart had some great ideas and supplied us with the beginning hand written sketch which laid the foundation of our ad’s layout throughout its design stages. Abby Bergakker was a great writer and wasn’t afraid to tell us what she did and didn’t like about the ad, allowing us to change things around for the better. Josh Chilcote helped our team with some great ideas and concepts that we should use in our ad.” -Travis Foster

One team of students partnered with Fellowship of Christian Athletes Lacrosse (FCA) to develop a print advertisement that went on to be published in Inside Lacrosse, the game’s leading publication, earlier this year.

Cooperation, communication, and connections paved the way for the origination of the idea. Kevin Connally ’10, a senior marketing major working on the project, had interned with FCA Lacrosse the previous two summers and was able to get in contact with Ryan Horanburg, the men’s national director. The team met with Horanburg, also an alumnus of Messiah College and former member of the men’s lacrosse team, in order to find out exactly what the client was looking for. Although Horanburg gave the students ample creative control, the students maintained constant communication with him to ensure that they were producing an advertisement that adequately reflected the mission of FCA Lacrosse.

From there, the team of students designated a target audience that they would try to inform about FCA Lacrosse, an organization that provides skilled instruction and play through competitive teams, camps, and clinics, and then further persuade that audience to discover more about what this non-profit organization has to offer players.

Marketing major Travis Foster ’11 says that “working on that advertisement was like working on a puzzle. Each consumer behavior concept was like a puzzle piece, and we had to figure out where and how it fit into our design.”

One of the many things that he learned from this project was that this was not a puzzle designed for one creator. “I think it is important to know that just because you aren’t a visionary, or an engineer or a graphic designer,” Foster explains, “doesn’t mean that you can’t be an important part of a team project; the more minds, the better collaboration.”

This team of students undeniably saw the result of their cooperation when their full-page, full-color print advertisement was published in the February 2010 issue of Inside Lacrosse,the leading lacrosse magazine in the United States. Foster explains how this project was truly a career-building opportunity as his classmates and he “were able to take concepts and ideas that we were taught in class and put them to work in real life situations, all at the same time helping out a great organization like FCA Lacrosse.”

Connally, who has since graduated and plans to work in the Marketing industry, preferably in print and advertisement, encourages prospective students that Messiah’s marketing department is a beneficial program for those who wish to be a part of that side of business. He reflects back on the project and says that it “definitely gave me a lot of insight to how the process works and how to appeal to possible clients and customers with a full page ad.”

By Mary-Grace MacNeil `13

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