Point Park University
Sessions: 6 | Students: 20 | Grades: 9-12 | Meets: Varies

Total Costs: A $75.00 registration fee payable to Allegheny Intermediate Unit is due when Apprenticeship Application Page is mailed to our office.

Professionals will present the realities of advertising and public relations to students with an interest in the field and/or skills in journalism and related professions. A bit of history and discussion on the current practice will lead to some analysis of cases (successful and unsuccessful). Students will work on a campaign or a series of programs to provide advertising and public relations assistance to "a client of their choosing."

All sessions will meet on Fridays from 8:30-11:00 a.m. in 603 Academic Hall – Point Park University Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Students should take advantage of the internet to visit links to local communications organizations. Look especially to the American Marketing Association, International Association of Business Communicators and the Pittsburgh Chapters of American Advertising Federation and Public Relations Society of America.

Student Learning Objectives:
1. Develop an understanding of the realities of advertising and public relations, including integrated communications, with an emphasis on employment opportunities and higher education requirements.
2. Give students an opportunity to test/demonstrate their individual skills in advertising/PR and related professions.
3. Gain career guidance for future study and employment, mentoring, internships etc.


A bit of history and discussion on the current practice will lead to some analysis of cases (successful and unsuccessful) in both advertising and public relations, and the newer field of integrated marketing communications. Students will analyze effective and award-winning advertising campaigns, publicity programs, crisis situations, brand identity, target marketing, communications research and other topics related to the field.

Students will develop advertising and public relations materials for their own choice of organizations or products throughout the course. Students will team up in classes to create ads for products, institutions, brands, advocacy campaigns etc.

Jan. 19 Meet and greet. Define communications as a process. Discuss various elements of journalism. Discuss contemporary advertising/PR practice. Survey career aspirations.

Feb. 2 Discuss the concept of organizations defining their mission and vision as they relate to strategic planning, and how communications is an integral part of that process. Discuss the role of marketing (research and planning) in defining how products and services are valued, priced, distributed and promoted. Study and discuss the advertising strategy of defining product value, target markets' needs and wants, communications media mix and creative message strategy. Define complete communications campaign programming using the ROPE process (Research, Objectives, Programming and Evaluation). Continue discussions of advertising and PR with emphasis on research and targeting. Produce communications materials.

Feb 16 Integrated and converged media in today’s world. Informing and entertaining today’s media consumer. Campaign management with emphasis on setting objectives and creating the plan. Continue discussions of advertising/PR with emphasis on the tools of communication, value of media, repetition of messages, reinforcement of media and messages etc. Selected case studies. Produce communications materials.

March 2 The Media Today – How the media in our society have evolved into a fast-paced world of instant information and converged methods of delivery.
March 16 Potential off-site project. Discuss storytelling, the creative process, types of creative themes, interview skills, brainstorming, role of art direction, copy etc. Review creative approaches. Produce public service communications materials.

March 30 Final Class Interactive/hands-on project. Discuss campaigns. Review the interaction of advertising and PR. Produce communications materials. Continue campaign discussions. Review successful Ad/PR campaigns. Discuss individual career aspirations, education. Produce communications materials.

Students should note that these are suggested topics and any topic in the area of public relations, advertising or promotions may be included in discussions. There will be opportunities if needed for guests to visit classes to discuss individual career interests.

Robert O’Gara bio:
Bob is a professor, teaching the advertising, marketing communication and public relations courses in the Point Park University School of Communication, Pittsburgh. Bob has taught at Point Park University as an adjunct since 1982 and full-time since 1992.

Bob is a graduate of Duquesne University with a master's degree in Liberal Studies, Utica College of Syracuse University and Mohawk Valley Technical. He worked in various advertising and promotion posts for the Utica Observer Dispatch and the Syracuse Post-Standard and was trained and served as a photographer in the New York and Pennsylvania Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force.

Moving to Pittsburgh in 1967, Bob first worked as Assistant Manager of Public Relations for Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (subsidiary of PPG and Corning Glass). In 1969, Bob joined Koppers Company, Inc. (a FORTUNE 200 company) holding positions with gradually increasing responsibility in corporate and integrated marketing communications. He served as Director of the Koppers Company Foundation, public affairs, community partnerships, executive communications and media training. After the Koppers takeover Bob briefly headed corporate communications for PNC Financial Corp as senior vice president, Corporate and Public Affairs.

Bob started a communications consulting practice (advertising, public relations, and corporate writing) in 1990. Clients included Koppers and former units of that company as well as assignments for PPG Industries, Ketchum, Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, United Way and the University of Pittsburgh. That practice continued for about 10 years.
Courses Bob teaches and supervises include advertising, mass media studies and public relations with subjects ranging from strategic planning for integrated marketing communications, to cause marketing, to crisis communications. Under Bob’s direction Point Park University students are active participants in the National Student Advertising Competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation, regarded as the highest professional development experience for future professionals in integrated marketing communications. He has taught undergraduate and graduate school and conducted professional development and mentoring with communications practitioners. He advises the Point Park student chapters of Public Relations Student Society of America and American Advertising Federation.