A+E Networks Heads Back to School to Promote Advertising, Marketing and DEI

By A+E Networks InSites Archives
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To nurture future advertising and marketing professionals, A+E Networks is partnering with the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF) and its "Masters On Campus Talent Partners Program."

The Masters on Campus program is designed to expose college and graduate students to careers in media, advertising, and marketing and explore diversity and inclusion in the industries. Executives from A+E and other companies share their expertise in virtual and on-campus activities and other multiplatform efforts.

A+E Networks matched with Northeastern University, Rutgers University, and Florida A&M University to share professional experiences, insights, and business outcomes.

"A+E is a longtime partner and supporter of the ANA's "Masters of Marketing" conference and was eager to work with the AEF on this new venture," said A+E Networks Executive Vice President David DeSocio.

DeSocio said A+E can help expose young people to media, marketing, and advertising careers and promote DEI by engaging with students. "There's a lot of opportunity for our industry to become more diverse, to tell different kinds of stories, and to bring new and different storytellers into the fold," DeSocio said.

"Masters On Campus Talent Partners Program" is one of AEF's many on-campus initiatives. Along with A+E, Disney, Publicis, Google, and the U.S. Postal Service are also participating.

"Today the goal is to raise awareness, interest and engagement with students but down the road the program could become a pipeline for recruitment," DeSocio said.

"In many instances, we found it's just not a top-of-mind field for many young people. They enjoy media but don't consider it a career option," DeSocio said. "We hope to illuminate new pathways and attract more diverse people in mind into our exciting field."

A+E matched six teams of its employees with the three schools. DeSocio and Eileen Lin, A+E Network's manager of ad sales marketing, were paired with Northeastern University, with Lin as project manager.

Throughout the presentation, DeSocio demonstrated the connection between business results and creating more inclusive business solutions, one of A+E's core corporate values.

For their first presentation, DeSocio and Lin created a high-level primer on media sales, advertising, and diversity in media. In a virtual session, DeSocio delivered industry insights, including how advertisers build their media campaigns, and explored the effects of underrepresentation of people of color and older Americans in content and advertising.

"For future leaders, it was important to show that investing in DEI isn't just ethical, but there are ROI/financial upsides to it that should be taken into consideration in decision-making," he said.

To drive home the connection between advertising and business results, DeSocio shared industry research and case studies, including:

- Ads with accurate portrayals of women drove sales up to five times higher than creative ads that did not feature accurate portrayals of women, according to a SeeHer Gem Lift Study.

- When consumers believe they see their lives or culture are reflected accurately in advertising, it increased brand perception by four times, per a 2021 & 2022 CIMM Longitudinal Study.

Similar results were found with the 50+ audience. DeSocio stressed the enormous business opportunity of speaking more directly to this older audience.

A week later, DeSocio hosted a live Q&A session and said students gravitated toward questions about creative media solutions. "There was a lot of curiosity around branded content, product placement, and how and why these models work for clients," he noted.

For February, DeSocio and Lin are planning a live presentation for another group of Northeastern MBA candidates. "This next session will focus on both ROI and our own creative content case studies," Lin said.

A+E's partnership with the AEF includes additional activations and Campus Speaker appearances that will be rolling out throughout this year. They're also donating an ANA membership to Rutgers and participating in the HBCU Campus Connect program with Florida A&M University and the Masters of Talent Conference at NYU, which includes campus visits and in-class presentations. Additional efforts include A+E's contribution to the AEF's Future of Talent podcast, and the Advertising & Society Quarterly (ASQ), an online academic journal.

In addition to speaking to college students, "This program has also created an organic career development opportunity for next generation talent at A+E Networks by pairing seasoned executives with more junior-to-mid-level Ad Sales talent within the organization" says Lin. "From project management to cross-team coordination and materials creation, this opportunity helps build relationships and skills outside of our day-to-day jobs in a collaborative environment," Lin said.

After the first session, several students asked to share their resumes or help with networking. Both DeSocio and Lin said the students could be vital assets to A+E or other media companies.

"These students are technically and socially savvy and bring a new level of multiplatform expertise. We would love to welcome them to our ranks," DeSocio said. "And we should all welcome their new stories and perspectives."

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