UW Associate Professor Studies Advertising in New York City

July 16, 2012
Woman standing next to McCann sign
Cindy Price

“Mad Men” and “The Pitch” are two television shows that highlight advertising. A University of Wyoming professor got to experience this life firsthand.

Cindy Price, associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism, was a visiting professor for two weeks at McCann Erickson, a New York City advertising agency. Sponsored by the Advertising Educational Foundation, Price was one of 16 professors chosen from among 78 applicants to learn about advertising from those who practice it daily.

“It was a remarkable experience because I got to learn so much about the industry,” Price says. “I saw a few creative meetings and listened to a pre-pitch meeting on a new account the agency was going for. It was so interesting to see it in person instead of just on the television screen.”

While there, Price worked with the new Truth Central team, McCann’s global thought leadership unit, that had previously released studies, including the Truth about Youth and the Truth about Beauty. Her job was to conduct research about two subjects the team is now exploring.

“Advertising isn’t just about putting together a 30-second spot for television,” she says. “It is also about researching the needs and wants of the audience and creating strategies that develop a relationship with them.”

During her time at McCann, Price joined the celebration when the agency won two Gold Lions at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity for its Nature Valley Trail View tie in with the National Park Service. The firm also won two Silver Lions for its #MillionHoodies campaign created to force legal action in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

The best part of the program for Price will happen this fall.

“I’m looking forward to teaching my students what I learned from all of the great speakers and contacts that I made during my time in New York,” she says. “Not only did I watch people work on advertising, I helped with research that can develop ideas for future strategies. What I learned was invaluable to me and to my students.”

The selection for the Advertising Educational Foundation’s Visiting Professor Program included criteria such as teaching in advertising-related subjects, having little professional advertising experience, and representing institutions of varying sizes.

At McCann, Price gave a presentation, “Reaching Your Target: Lessons from the Middle of Nowhere,” about the Wyoming Department of Tourism campaign.

Price has taught advertising and public relations at UW since 1999. She conducts research in the areas of media management, broadcasting and advertising and is on the editorial board for Electronic News journal.

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