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Though established only two years ago, Advertise This is an exercise in successful self-promotion. It was born, in fact, on the floor of Dillon Gymnasium.
Founding board member and now-president Dalia Katan ’15 recalls the club’s lowly beginnings. At the time of the 2011 fall student activities fair, the club had yet to be officially recognized by the University, so founder Arielle Sandor ’12 had seated herself in a corner of Dillon Gym, armed with flyers and enthusiasm.
“I was so impressed by how enthusiastic she was,” Katan said. “She set it up for herself.” Katan signed up as a board member — “It’s just one extra step,” she said, “and it’ll be a good experience” — and found herself falling in love with advertising and marketing.
Soon, however, the club’s board members found themselves faced with an unexpected challenge. Sandor received a grant for her start-up and all but left the club. (Her start-up, DUMA, now works to connect employers and employees in Kenya via text messages.) The following semester, Katan was elected as president. The club spent much of that semester reorganizing, creating subdivisions of the board, expanding and working on promotions.
Unsurprisingly, the advertising and marketing club was good at self-promoting. In its first year, AdThis’ members numbered around 40. Now, they’re over 450. Katan, however, isn’t entirely surprised. “Since we were filling this unexplored niche at Princeton, there would be an interest,” she said. “There was this desire.” Members range from engineers to English majors to hardcore future marketers, according to the club’s surveys. Some of them stay because they want a job in the industry, others for the opportunity to see the opaque wall of “marketing” broken down and explained.
This happens in the events hosted by AdThis. Events range from Q&A panels to workshops to speaker-led lunches and more. One popular workshop, held two springs ago, was “The Psychology of Advertising,” which dove into the principles behind marketing strategies across different fields. They try to look at marketing through numerous veils: data crunching, psychology, fashion, pharmaceuticals, business, finance — you name it, they’ve probably explored it.
This multifaceted approach helps clear up some of the mysteries surrounding the field. Though the University promotes many possible career options, Katan noted that marketing internships were often both hard to find and hard to look into. AdThis aims to combat this, providing opportunities for students with even a vague interest to hear from industry professionals about their jobs, and how they got there. It also shows that there is more to advertising than the classic, “Mad Men”-esque image — it’s a widely disparate field that can be applied to many different job sectors.
What AdThis is most excited for is the future — namely, their first-ever national marketing conference, which will be held this coming April. “We’re having workshops, we’re having panels, networking sessions, job fairs,” Katan said. “It’s gonna be big.” However, it is mildly intimidating. Not only is it the club’s first major conference, but it’ll be the first for Princeton, too. Still, the club is by this point more than ready. They have their own alumni Board of Trustees, with five dedicated alumni supporting them. They’ve worked with the Office of Career Services, the Office of Communications and other organizations such as the Sustainable Fashion Initiative (which has co-sponsored two fashion marketing panels).
“We’re just really excited for where we’re going,” Katan said. The club is always looking to expand and draw in new marketing hopefuls. However, she was quick to point out that everyone should check it out — not only those with an interest in advertising. “Marketing is not just a career option — it’s also a skill set you need wherever you go.”
Clarification: Following publication of this article, Katan clarified that “The Psychology of Advertising” event was held two springs ago.