UMB, NWMSU Students Benefit From Collaboration on Advertising Campaign

UMB, NWMSU Students Benefit From Collaboration on Advertising Campaign

May 7, 2012

Via our good friends and fellow student/faculty members at Northwest Missouri State University...


Students in Northwest Missouri State University's advanced advertising strategies course this spring gained valuable experience designing an interactive marketing campaign that a Kansas City-based bank hopes will raise awareness about its mobile applications.

The 12 students who participated in the class partnered with UMB, which put down its roots in Kansas City, Mo., in 1913 and now has operations in seven states. UMB was one of the first banks in the Midwest to create an online banking system and remains innovative, offering mobile applications for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

In designing the campaign, Northwest students focused on UMB’s mobile applications as well as text messaging services. Their goal is to increase UMB’s mobile usage by 15 percent.

One key component of the students’ proposal is a series of print and online advertisements, known as the “For That” campaign. The ads, which also were designed by the students, include images of leisure activities matched with situations in which customers may use UMB’s mobile banking services, such as “For that rockin’ concert” and “For that midnight showing.”

Incorporating more slogans such as “For that empty stomach” and “For that date you want to impress,” students carried over the theme to wristbands and coasters for customers at UMB’s Count on More Lounge at the Sprint Center. The wristbands and coasters, which feature QR codes to enhance online interaction, also may be available at other venues such the Kansas City Power & Light District and St. Louis’s Busch Stadium.

A second component of the students’ proposal is the “Whale Watching” campaign, a series of unique advertisements highlighting the benefits of UMB mobile applications and text alerts. The advertisements show whales – the bubbles in which text messages appear on your phone – with notifications of account activity, including deposits or spending.

“The students did an excellent job of taking information from our customer base, as well as demographics in Kansas City and putting together a very cohesive plan that really does do a great job in speaking to our target audience,” said Rachel Stephens, regional marketing manager for UMB. “It was a great plan. It was humorous, insightful, knowledgeable – we all loved it.”

Added Spencer Kaullen, UMB's consumer product manager, “The campaign really addresses some of the key venues that we have here in Kansas City, such as the Count on More Lounge, and we thought the team did a really nice job preparing some specific, targeted content for that venue.”

The students researched and built their campaign throughout the University’s spring trimester and pitched their ideas to UMB leaders April 18 at the bank’s Kansas City headquarters. The bank plans to implement aspects of the campaign this summer.

Michaela Fernen was the lead designer on the “For That” campaign with creative assistance from Ty Stevens and Martell Love. The “Whale Watching” campaign was created by Brandi Kapfer, Michael Duntz and Stephanie Walter.

Other students in the course included Megan Cooper, Rob Lindsay, Melissa Watson, Tom Stiles, Jessica Runde and Anissa Evans.

For students, the course is an invaluable opportunity to work with a real client in a real-world setting. The hands-on experience Northwest students receive in the course also gives them an edge as they’re applying for jobs after graduation.

“It was really insightful being able to get a real-world taste of what the advertising industry can be like and putting the skills that we’ve acquired over the last few years to the test,” said Lindsay, a senior interactive digital media major from St. Joseph. “It’s much different than taking exams and writing papers.”

Beginning in 2003, the advanced advertising strategies course is a capstone experience for senior students studying advertising and interactive digital media at Northwest. Students in the course works with a single client for the duration of the trimester, solving real issues related to integrated marketing, advertising, internet publishing and promotions. The course is designed to replicate a real work environment, classes are run like business meetings, and students are assigned to both a research team and an implementation team.

At the end of each course, students present their work to the client at the client's headquarters. In addition to advertising strategies, however, students must learn problem-solving strategies and develop a solid group dynamic to be successful.

Students also benefit from opportunities to network with professionals and develop relationships that could lead to careers in the industry. Northwest alumnus Kevin Fullerton, owner of Springboard Creative advertising agency in Mission, Kan., and president of the Kansas City chapter of the American Advertising Federation, serves as a consultant to the students.

Past clients of the advertising strategies course have included North Kansas City Hospital, Kansas City Power and Light, John Deere and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

For more information about the course and a sampling of the students' work go to