At the corner of W 48th Street and 11th Avenue at Stage 48 in Manhattan, three Temple students and their professor attended the 26th annual Radio Mercury Awards on June 1, 2017 as Temple's first-ever contest finalists.
Working copywriter and adjunct professor of Advertising, Katie Hennicke, and her three students, Tom Hammaker, Eric O'Neill and Alex Mednick flashed their finalists credentials and mingled with professionals in the field.
The Radio Mercury Awards is a national competition solely dedicated to radio where different advertising agencies and schools can submit segments for a cash prize. The student work category for the competition is small with only three schools making it to the finals.
"I think it's a great boost for our students," said Hennicke.
Hennicke, a professor at Temple since 2013, teaches two classes at Klein College of Media and Communication including Intro to Copywriting and Radio, TV and Video for Copywriters, which produced the piece submitted to the Radio Mercury Awards.
Hennicke said that Hammaker, the scriptwriter, added an interesting twist, making one think differently about the topic at hand. The script, created by the nonprofit CeaseFire, addresses the issue of gun violence and control.
"What you want in advertising for something to cut through and to stand out, is you want a subtle twist on it," said Hennicke. "A novel way of thinking that no one ever thought about it in that way before."
The piece shows a doctor (O'Neil) prescribing the patient (Mednick) with a gun to help deal with security issues. It then informs the viewer a child is a victim of gun violence every 30 minutes.
"Working with Tom and Alex was a very rewarding experience," said O'Neill. "We've been working together on projects throughout the semester, so it was really cool to take a script that one of us had worked on and helped make it into a professionally produced radio spot.
The piece was submitted to the prestigious awards on the suggestion of their professor. They learned last May that they had become finalists with the segment created for a Temple class at Philadelphia's Baker Sound Studios.
One month later, they traveled to New York to join the rest of the 2017 finalists in the official awarding for the competition.
"One thing that I wasn't ready for was finding out that Temple was the only university in the student section, as all the other nominees came from portfolio schools," said O'Neill, a senior advertising major. "It felt good to have been part of a project that could stand next to more experienced students."
These students collectively agree that Hennicke played an essential role in this experience and aided in their overall success.
"Working with Katie was essentially the experience everyone's looking for," said Hammaker. "From a schooling point of view, it was the best experience I could've gotten."
These students competed against some of the top advertising schools in the country, including Miami Ad School and Creative Circus in Georgia.
There were six finalists in the student section, three submissions from Creative Circus, two from Miami Ad School and one from Temple.
"I hope we participate every year," said Hennicke. "I think it's such a great platform."