Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Marketing Fellows Visit Red McCombs

By Kavita Rangaswamy, Class of 2017

Last Friday, the Marketing Fellows had the rare opportunity to meet with Mr. Red McCombs at his office in San Antonio, Texas.  

During this session, Mr. McCombs spoke to us about his experience at The University of Texas, as well as in the business world. It was inspiring to hear about a few of his many accomplishments, including funding the creation of the first UT Women’s Softball field, establishing the university’s first Student Recovery Center for those facing addiction, and developing McCombs Partners, the investment management division of McCombs Enterprises. He also spoke to us about his experience in marketing roles, and said that one marketing fundamental hasn’t changed in over 75 years, which is that “repetition sells.”

It was exciting to hear about his triumphs over the years. Despite the many wins, however, McCombs remains humble and says that he considers “success being happy.” His stories were about much more than marketing, and even business. He stressed the importance of giving back to the community and finding opportunities to improve the lives of those around you. He encouraged all of us to find our own passions and closed out the session saying that, “…not many expect to win. If you expect to win, you have a pretty good shot at getting there.”

Marketing Fellows and Dr. Hoyer take a picture with Mr. Red McCombs

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Visit to GSD&M

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

Southwest Airlines, where “Bags Fly Free.”
Walgreens, “At the Corner of Happy and Healthy.”
The PGA Tour declares “These Guys are Good.”

What do these memorable slogans have in common? They’re all award-winning work from GSD&M, an Austin-based advertising agency founded in 1971. The Marketing Fellows had the privilege of touring the downtown Austin office with Executive Vice President and CMO, J.B. Raftus. Displayed in large letters in the entryway is the phrase “Ideas That Make a Difference.” J.B. explained that this statement guides their work with every client. When a client comes calling, GSD&M takes the time to understand the client’s unique purpose for being. Southwest doesn’t just sell airline seats, they want to democratize the skies. Chipotle doesn’t just make burritos, they exist to serve food with integrity.  With these examples, J.B. illustrated how the client’s larger purpose informs the entire creative strategy for communicating value to the consumer.

GSD&M CMO J.B. Raftus shows the Marketing Fellows "The 40 Best Things We Ever Did" Poster Series, a labor of love honoring GSD&M's 40 years in business.
Our reason for visiting GSD&M was two-fold – 1) develop a respectful envy for their talent and 2) receive an assignment! In teams of four, we are developing a complete campaign for a brand new Hilton property, Tru by Hilton. I’m not sure how much I can divulge about this revolutionary development in hotel accommodations, so I’ll let this Forbes article from January 2016 do the talking. In a couple of weeks we are due back at GSD&M’s office to present our fully-developed ideas to the agency and the client. Who knows? We could see some of the Marketing Fellows’ ideas in a social campaign for Tru by Hilton!