SaatchiNY Art Director Michael Arguello visited the Academy for Language and Technology, in the Bronx recently to help students connect their classroom learning with the “professional” world of advertising. Below are some of his thoughts on the experience.
The Academy for Language and Technology is an amazing place. It’s a small high school in the Bronx that serves Spanish-speaking English learners who are newcomers to this country. The neighborhood they’re located in is considered a “high-needs” area, which basically means it has a low-income population and that 98% of the students receive free lunch. The school is technology-based and it’s program is designed to give students a rigorous academic experience that will prepare them for college.
On my visit to the school we started off by me giving them an overview on Saatchi & Saatchi and Lovemarks. After that, I was given the job of critiquing the work they produced for the “Saatchi & Saatchi Challenge” they’d been working on.
The brief they were given was to create advertisements for well known products that the students were already familiar with. Laundry detergent, cereal, yogurt – that sort of thing. I came in after all of their work was finished, and the students did an awesome job presenting a slogan that they wrote with a target audience in mind, as well as a print ad they created using Adobe Photoshop.
It was a great experience to be able to hang out with the kids. I loved hearing about how the kids’ teacher Mr. Alago introduced them to the advertising world and the agency structure. Speaking from personal experience, I’m pretty sure that most kids in 9th & 10th grade aren’t thinking about advertising as a vehicle for creativity, so showing them that it can be is essential for both the kids and the ad industry. They were curious, very appreciative, and some took the effort to even create TV spots.
If I had the chance to go back and do this again, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second – and I’d recommend that if anyone else at SaatchiNY has a similar chance that they take it. It’s a great feeling to walk out of a room knowing that you inspired someone.