USF's Advertising Majors Get Unique Preparation

By Barbara Melendez News Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (July 16, 2010) – University of South Florida students in the School of Mass Communications Zimmerman Advertising Program (ZAP) can look forward to a head start in the advertising industry thanks to a collaboration with USF’s College of Business featuring exposure to experts in both fields. 

The program’s founder, Jordan Zimmerman, a USF mass communications advertising graduate himself, is using everything he has learned in launching his own successful business to help enhance the school’s curriculum.

“ZAP is unique in offering separate business and mass communications tracks for advertising majors,” said USF College of Arts and Sciences Dean Eric Eisenberg.  “USF is fortunate to have an alumnus with the vision and wherewithal to extend his resources to his alma mater in such a generous, and constructive, fashion.  This groundbreaking approach will attract the best students who want the best preparation to enter the field of advertising.”

The  founder and chairman of Zimmerman Advertising envisions a day when ZAP graduates can count on immediate job placement upon graduation and salaries at least 25 per cent higher than other graduates. 

"ZAP isn't about just showing students how advertising is done," said Zimmerman. "It's about presenting real-life marketing problems and solutions, so students have a better understanding of what business is like outside of the classroom.”

According to a press release from Zimmerman Advertising, part of this real world experience means giving students direct access to key influencers in the business world. To do this, Zimmerman has put together an advisory board of some of the biggest names in retail. The list includes: Jason Holleman from Publix Super Markets, Jay Dunn from Lane Bryant, Manny Kadre from Gold Coast Beverage Distributors, Brian Fuhrer from Nielsen Company, Mark Wentley from Nintendo of America, and Senator Victor Crist, among others.

Once on the advisory board, members take an active role in promoting ZAP, with many heading into the classroom themselves. From serving as a speaker or a panel member for ZAP student organizations, to one-on-one sessions with individual students, board members are an integral part of the ZAP curriculum. Their involvement is paramount to the effectiveness of the program.

“Today’s advertising firms do more than create artwork and advertisements; they assist clients with comprehensive promotional and corporate strategies and compete with firms that provide such services,” said Robert Forsythe, dean of the College of Business.  “Graduates who want to work for such firms must successfully integrate the creative aspects of advertising with the business purpose of the client,” he said, adding that the new program will complement the existing mass communications program.
ZAP students will take courses focusing on creativity as well as management and research.

“This level of enrichment ensures that graduates of this program will be in the best position to take on leadership roles in the advertising industry,” said Edward Jay Friedlander, professor and former director of the School of Mass Communications.  “Jordan’s enthusiasm for advertising is contagious.  His creativity, his business acumen and his outstanding connections will propel our students to the top.”

Miriam Stamps, chair of the College of Business’ Marketing Department added, “I’m truly excited for our students as graduates of USF’s programs will have so much more to offer employers as compared to those who graduate from conventional advertising programs.  They will understand the creative side of advertising, the marketing side of advertising, and how these areas work together in the most successful businesses.”
Zimmerman recently named his agency's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Michael Goldberg, as ZAP advisory board chair.

"ZAP prepares our students for the workplace in a way that no other program does. They're being exposed to privileged insights from the experts, and that's something they will take with them into the workforce," said Goldberg. "ZAP is the poster program that will contribute to the success of USF's students at a level that's nationally prominent and distinctive."

Zimmerman and his wife Denise made a gift of one million dollars to the School of Mass Communications in 2006, the largest donation in the school’s history, which enabled the university to secure an additional $750,000 match from the State of Florida.

Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.