Nearly 200 people were provoked and entertained in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Wednesday evening March 7 as Globe and Mail columnist Simon Houpt delivered the 2012 Terry O’Malley lecture.
The whimsical name of his presentation – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Advertising – mirrored Houpt’s droll insights on how advertising has morphed from being a marketing tool to a powerful platform of social commentary, clever humour and brilliant creativity.
In illustrating his thoughts with TV ads from around the world – touting such familiar names as Volkswagen, IKEA and Chrysler – Houpt said the title of his lecture reflects his own unusual career path, that of an Entertainment columnist who landed in the Business pages after accepting the fact that some of the most creative and potent modern media writing comes from the thinkers in ad agencies.
Earlier in the day, six Brock students carved up a total of $4,000 in prize money as finalists in this year’s Grant Dobson Case Competition. Judges awarded first prize to the team of Kristina Gottli, Kate Book and Deanna Tatham. Second place went to Chanelle Gurell, while the third finalist was the team of Nick Monardo and Daniel Arcaro.
The Dobson event, part of the O’Malley lecture each year, invites students to craft innovative marketing strategies to address a promotional problem. This year’s challenge was finding find ways to restore RIM’s smart-phone supremacy by convincing North American youth that BlackBerry is the phone for them.
Besides the prize money, the finalists were guests at a VIP reception and dinner that is also attended by various advertising industry executives.
This year marks the 11th anniversary of the annual lecture that honours advertising legend Terry O’Malley, a St. Catharines native and one of the most acclaimed creative talents in modern Canadian advertising. The event is hosted by Brock’s Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film.