Teaching Multimedia Commercial Production for Advertising and Publication Relations

Article excerpt


With the growth of online advertising and social media, it is increasingly necessary that advertising and public relations integrate video messages into campaign efforts. Offering video production classes that focus on multimedia broadcast strategy and production unique to advertising and public relations is one way that universities can address this development. This article provides a description of an experimental course, "Multimedia Commercial Production for Advertising and Public Relations," co-taught at a private Midwestern university by an advertising professor with significant agency experience and an active award-winning filmmaker. Experiential learning and hands-on instruction of television production education provide the framework for the course design. Instructional goals, lecture topics and assignment ideas congruent with experiential methods of education are presented. A 16-week course outline, based on student feedback and evaluations gained from surveys as well as instructors' assessment, is offered.


The digital landscape offers the opportunity for corporate and nonprofit organizations to connect directly with targeted consumers through video messages on Web sites, Facebook, YouTube, Hulu and other video networks. As a result, more companies have redirected advertising expenditures away from traditional to online platforms (Beard & Yang, 2011). In 2011, the largest U.S. advertisers increased Internet spending by 16.8% to $4.6 billion, compared with only a 4.8% increase in overall spending (Johnson, 2012b). Moreover, digital services represented 28% of advertising agency revenues in 2011, a surge of 16.4% from a year prior (Johnson, 2012a). In 2012, the Internet is projected to become the second largest advertising medium behind television and surpassing newspapers (Johnson, 2012b).

Academicians have options when changing and expanding curricula to adapt to new technologies and methods of reaching consumers. Many universities offer video production classes, but these are often in television, film or communication departments where commercial persuasive messages are not necessarily the focus. Understanding the strategies, processes and complexities of producing commercial communication, including video and television, has become increasingly important for students of advertising and public relations (Beard & Tarpenning, 2001; Stuhlfaut, 2007).

The primary purpose of this paper is to address the need for a course that focuses on multimedia broadcast strategy and production unique to advertising and public relations. Additional objectives are to provide educators with instructional goals, lecture topics and assignment ideas. The paper is based on a course recently taught at a private Midwestern university and incorporates student assessment and feedback, as well as instructors' review.

Literature Review

Teaching Commercial Advertising Production

The expensive and sophisticated equipment requiredfortraditionalvideoandfilmproduction courses has made teaching commercial advertising production problematic. This is no longer the case, however, as technology has evolved to make new computers, software and cameras more available and accessible for both educators and students (Beard & Tarpenning, 2001). Given these changes, it is more likely that students will become involved in some sort of broadcast production. Moreover, there is evidence that students with some commercial television production experience have a competitive advantage, are more ready for the business world and are more attractive to employers.

Beard & Tarpenning (2001) interviewed practitioners for their perspectives about how students could best prepare for careers in creative, video production and television advertising. Professionals believed students should have an understanding of the entire television advertising development process from creative strategy to tactical execution, knowledge of "production stages, terms, tools, technology, and practitioners roles" (p. …