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BA (Hons) Advertising students collaborate with Ryerson University on Virtual Dissertation Symposium

A screenshot of the Symposium promotional poster, themed around airline symbolism.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date10 August 2021
A screenshot of the Symposium promotional poster, themed around airline symbolism.
Image credit: Morgan Crawford, Ryerson University.

While the world’s physical borders may have closed over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, our capacity to share and collaborate digitally has continued to stretch across thousands of miles - sparking conversations and sharing ideas that drive the evolution of our creative disciplines.

In May 2021, third-year students from BA (Hons) Advertising at London College of Communication (LCC) were invited to co-organise a Virtual Dissertation Symposium with their counterparts on the Professional Communications Programme (ProCom) at Ryerson University, Toronto. The event not only enabled them to both demonstrate and reflect on some of the key findings discovered throughout their final projects, but celebrated their achievements during an extraordinary academic year while also marking the launch of an exciting new partnership between the institutions as LCC further expands its connections across North America.

Supported by LCC's International Development Office, Programme Director of Communications and Media, Dr Zoetanja Sujon, and BA (Hons) Advertising course leader, Dr Sevil Yesiloglu, students used the HopIn events platform to present their dissertation topics across 2 overarching themes: Social Media/Influencer and Digital Delivery. Issues discussed ranged from future technologies and Feminism (Katy Rumbelow, LCC) and the TikTok politics of UK influencers (Kelly Craig, LCC) to the mental health of retired athletes (Morgan Crawford, Ryerson) and the importance of life events during a global pandemic (Madelaine Mignardi, Ryerson).

After rethinking and redeveloping potential ways to explore their findings through a film context, the students' recorded presentations were then made available in a dedicated online ‘exhibition room’, where visitors were able to explore their work more widely and leave useful feedback.

This was further complemented by a series of dedicated panel discussions with leading industry guests from international organisations such as independent creative agency, Mr. President; podcast production studio, Tall Tales; and one of the world’s fastest growing marketing networks, The & Partnership. Many speakers were themselves graduates from Ryerson or LCC, and reflected on the trajectory of their creative career journeys across fields as diverse as marketing, advertising and content strategy.

Moderated by a Student Lead from each institution, organised break-out sessions offered further opportunities for both participants and audiences to grow their networks while connecting with key industry insight.

We caught up with the LCC Student Lead, Patricia Mozolova, to discuss the experience of sharing her work through a Symposium context, and her tips for prospective students who are interested in exploring the world of advertising.

A screenshot of the Symposium programme.
Image credit: Morgan Crawford, Ryerson University.

Tell us a little bit about your creative practice.

I’m particularly interested in exploring different areas of the advertising industry such as film, PR and journalism. However, the area that inspires me most is strategy, particularly around digital marketing and brand communications.

Why did you decide to apply to BA (Hons) Advertising at LCC?

I wanted to take the opportunity to study advertising and marketing in a more unconventional and creative way at UAL, rather than just exploring it from a strictly business perspective.

How did you develop your dissertation idea?

I first decided to look into a suggested theme of social media influencers, and became fascinated by past literature which explored the attributes of Instagram influencers who affect the purchase intentions of consumers.

Then, I decided to develop my own experiment where I tested a less explored mix of attributes using a quantitative method - a regression analysis which enabled me to analyse my findings.

My final dissertation, Influencer Marketing, considered the growing demand for influencer-focused marketing strategies, and aimed to find out what makes an influencer a successful endorser on social media.

Using Multiple Regression Analysis, my research further explored different factors, attributes and characteristics of Mega-Influencers (MI) (Authenticity, Attractiveness, Gender & Familiarity).

I found that influencers who were primarily 'Authentic' and secondly 'Attractive' had a statistically significant positive impact on the purchase intentions of consumers; however, interestingly, 'Gender' and 'Familiarity' had statistically insignificant effects.

How did you get involved in the Virtual Dissertation Symposium, and what were your highlights of taking part?

I found out about the opportunity from my course leader and dissertation supervisor, Sevil [Yesiloglu], who encouraged my participation. I was nominated as the Student Lead to plan the event with my counterpart from Ryerson University in Canada.

What I enjoyed most about organising and participating in the Symposium was summarising my dissertation into film form, as well as being able to look at work from all of my peers from both UAL and Ryerson.

Moderating a panel with industry speakers and hearing both their stories and inspired answers was a great highlight too.

How did the opportunity help to shape your future plans?

Participating in the Symposium showed me that I really enjoy planning events such as a virtual conferences. In the future, I’ll be able to think about the skills I developed throughout this experience, and use them when applying for jobs after I complete my Master’s degree.

A photograph of a woman glancing into the distance.
Image credit: Patricia Mozolova.

What have been the highlights of your time as an LCC student?

The creative and unique experience that UAL has to offer is an enriching thing to be able to reflect on.

There were many highlights for me as a student at LCC; however, some of the most memorable ones include my tutors, such as Steve, Claire, Seema, Kuldeep and Sevil, who have all individually allowed me to learn about different areas of advertising and explore my creativity.

Steve was the course leader for most of my degree, and managed to teach us the true art and beauty of advertising, which was crucial in understanding the craft and offered an exciting starting point.

Working with Seema on strategic modules such as Creative Strategy and Behavioural Insights has also been one of my greatest highlights: learning about the strategic side of advertising, developing strategies for different briefs, and finding insights about consumer behaviour was fascinating.

Attending lectures and workshops where I could work with Seema closely, as well as learning from her at a distance, all helped me understand the niche of industry that I enjoy the most and will pursue at MA-level, and, hopefully, later on in my career.

What tips would you give to prospective students who may be interested in exploring the field of advertising?

I would say that it’s a great starting place for creative people who are interested in many different areas – not only advertising itself, but marketing, film, journalism, and much more.

I think you’ll benefit most from this course if you feel like you’re destined to work in agencies or similar roles, so I’d suggest looking into the history and – more importantly – the present landscape of the advertising industry, which is rapidly changing and completely different to what you might expect. It’s good to consider whether you see yourself doing the kind of work required to make it in a creative and complex world.

I myself was able to take time to really understand the industry and how it works in real life through various internships, so shadowing at an agency before you apply would be a great way to ensure the field is a great fit for you.

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