Bringing a little diversity to our industry.

“After today, I am absolutely going into the advertising business.” – Anthony Liriano, Buffalo Prep student.

What started as a simple idea back in April couldn’t have had a more fitting ending.

Let’s back up a second. AAF Buffalo, the local chapter of the American Advertising Association and a group Crowley Webb has not only supported, but also been a part of for as long as we’ve been an agency, has long struggled with diversity. It’s not surprising, really, when you consider that the marketing communications industry as a whole in Buffalo is overwhelmingly white. Same goes for our the U.S., as only 6% of our workforce is African American.

Is it because not enough students of color are aware of the types of careers available to them? Well, of course. But what do we do about it? We teamed up with our pals at AAF Buffalo address this, at least in our own corner of the world. Together, we decided to give a group of bright minority students and in-depth, inside look at agency life over the course of one (hopefully) captivating day.

We knew just the kids who would be all over this opportunity.

We pitched our idea of Student Engagement Day to Buffalo Prep, a group whose mission is to provide opportunities to economically disadvantaged, underrepresented students. Our plan to was to take these students and really immerse them in marketing communications through three distinct experiences. So this past Monday (which was supposed to be a day off for kids who hardly know what a day off feels like) we did it.

We had them spend the morning here at Crowley Webb learning what makes a midsize agency tick (what better way than sharing our 25-Hour Workday story?), the varied roles that exist, and what goes into a killer creative brief. We then headed to LUMINUS to get a peek at a development boutique. While there, the students designed a restaurant in a half an hour. Finally, we landed at dPost for an inside look at video production and postproduction. A full day indeed.

Sure, the Preppies learned a lot, but what about us? Well, we found out kids eat this stuff up. They yearn to be creative (obviously) and had really no idea there were so many ways to do so in a business setting (which typically welcomes dogs) that could also yield a decent income. And if we can affect just one student annually with a day like this (see above), it’s not only worth it, it’s mandatory.

Buffalo Prep students at Crowley Webb.

Visiting LUMINUS media.

Learning about video production at dPost.