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A lot can be accomplished in just three weeks.

Just ask the students in Kathy Fredrickson’s interim communication class who spent the last few weeks divided into agency teams, challenged to create an ad campaign complete with research, a strategy, TV and radio spots and print advertisements.

The company: Carmex. The challenge: Make a pitch to Carmex (Carma Laboratories) president Paul Woelbing.

“Nothing beats real work for real clients,” said Fredrickson.

Going into the interim class, Woelbing wasn’t on the schedule, but after Fredrickson called and asked him to participate in the project, the students “suited up,” for the task, as Harrison Bowden put it.

“It was a huge learning experience, especially since I want to go into advertising, to learn how each part of it works,” said Bowden, who is a radio-TV-film major and art minor. “It’s really cool to be able to work on all parts of it.”

The ad campaigns: “Creative,” said Woelbing, who, last week, spent the better part of his morning discussing real-world advertising and marketing with the UW Oshkosh students before getting a look at their work.

“Because I was an educator for 10 years, I like any chance to get in front of the classroom,” Woelbing said. “I thought (the campaigns) were terrific.”

Through their research and focus group testing, many of the student groups even stumbled upon some of the same nuggets of information Carmex uses to build their marketing plans, Woelbing said.

“I spend $8 plus million per year on marketing, and you have hit on a lot of the very things we have,” Woelbing told the students.

Ethan Turner, who is also studying radio-TV-film, said the duplicative research found by both his in-class agency team and Carmex was encouraging to him.

“Any research is good research,” Turner said.

Fredrickson, an adjunct professor who teaches classes in a variety of departments at UW Oshkosh and also has experience working as a consultant serving marketing, branding, media and public relations needs for clients, is glad to give her students a real-world experience during the three-week interim class.

“They are building a portfolio, which is critical in differentiating yourself,” she said. “In this economy, you have to build talent and market it.”

UW Oshkosh’s three-week interim period, which ends today, is offered each academic year between the fall and spring semesters. Interim classes are held every day for three hours and are typically for three-credit courses, which commonly fulfill general education requirements. The spring semester begins Jan. 30.

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