For the past four years, USC’s Head of Communications Professor Rod McCulloch has organised an annual CMN2IP1 Creative Advertising Study Tour through the Australian Government New Colombo Plan along with the University’s GO Program. Each study tour is described as an experimental learning opportunity, with an itinerary of insightful visits to a handful of industry-leading advertising, marketing and media agencies. The very first one in 2012 saw six deserving students travel to New York City to immerse themselves in the advertising capital of the world. The following year’s study tour was set for Singapore, and then Hong Kong in 2014. You could say China is currently a major consumer market, so our hearts were set on Shanghai this year. The five students selected to participate in this year’s study tour, based on a successful application were Amy Bergen, Calvin Skinner, Ekaterina Hakkinin, Felicity McIntosh and Melissa Vonhoff.
After a long couple of flights filled with movie-watching and excitement, we arrived in Shanghai with a little bit of a culture shock. Ultimately, we were there to gain insight into the Chinese consumer market and how advertising principles and practices are applied in a different market to our own. This will continue to inspire our own work and help us to develop innovative ideas for future advertising campaigns at university and throughout our careers. It was just a coincidence that Shanghai boasted some of the best knock-off markets in the world, so we just had to squeeze some shopping time into our schedules, of course.
Over the ten day study tour, we were lucky enough to have met and connected with various CEOs, Strategists, Creative and Managing Directors from global-leading agencies including HAVAS Media, OMD, McCann Worldwide, Teams Design, Wieden + Kennedy, BBDO, Mindshare and Continuum. All eight agencies shared with us invaluable industry advice and insight. Each agency’s current advertising campaigns that they were working on across China were discussed and explored, including campaigns for huge clients such as Nike, L’Oreal and Bosch.
This once-in-a-lifetime study tour was an amazing experience, rich in culture and experimental learning. There is no better way to learn than to plunge yourself into some of the industry’s most competitive markets and experience what is happening and find out why. If you are doing a major in Creative Advertising, I can’t recommend applying for this study tour enough. It is an invaluable opportunity to have one up on others when entering the industry as a young professional. Not many Creative Advertising graduates will be able to say that they have met the CEO of BBDO.