Students encouraged to improve the world through creativity

“Keep fighting, bring ideas, be brave” – this is the sage advice given to students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) during a visit to one of the world’s leading advertising agencies.

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For over a century, New York-based McCann – which boasts offices across the globe – has prided itself with helping brands and causes play a meaningful role in people’s lives.

They helped Coca-Cola teach the world to sing and Mastercard to celebrate the ‘priceless’ things in life, and today they opened their doors to nearly 40 marketing students from DMU.

After a warm welcome from Co-Chief Creative Officer Sean Bryan, students were given presentations by Executive Producer Deb Archambault and Executive Technology Creative Director Nir Refuah, followed by a tour of their impressive offices spanning eight floors.

They heard how tangible adverts are proving to be more effective than electronic ones, particularly when they integrate with the ‘real world’ by attempting to change something in culture or by delivering something physical that people can interact with.

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Powerful examples included creating a wearable price tag symbolising the price politicians put on student lives by accepting money from the NRA gun lobby, which went viral, as well as Fearless Girl, a statue of a daring girl to launch a campaign promoting more women to leadership roles, which became a global phenomenon.

Students also learned about the challenges and rewards of creating a new piece of VR technology for the National Geographic, designed to give viewers an astronaut’s perspective of earth.

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Nathan Curniffe, a 20-year-old Marketing student from Luton, said: “I was particularly inspired by the presentations, which gave us insight into some of their most successful campaigns.

“It made me realise that no matter what idea you have, you can always bring it to life with the right people around you. If you can think of it, you can do it.”

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Panoramic views of New York City from the McCann offices

Fellow Marketing student, Lauren Roberts was also inspired by the visit. The 21-year-old from Leicester said: “Having done a year-long placement at Saint Gobain, I thought that client-side is where I wanted to start my career.

“But today gave me a real insight into agency life and I feel like it’s opened my eyes to new opportunities once I graduate.”

21-year-old Advertising and Marketing Communications student Charlotte Coles-Morris said: “I was really interested to learn about the dynamics between an agency and its clients. Building trust seems to be a key part in the creative process.

“The #DMUglobal trip in general has really made me want to move to New York and get a job here. It’s such an amazing city and I feel right at home here.”

Rachael Mabe, senior lecturer in Marketing and the trip lead, said: “Today has given the students an honest and refreshing insight into how advertising works here in America.

"I think it’s fair to say that the students are feeling very inspired and have met people who have given them a good idea of what they can aim for when they graduate.”

Posted on Tuesday 8th January 2019

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