Dr. Tim Christy announced the debut of Portland State’s first student-run advertising agency, FIR (Fierce, Innovative, Raw), earlier this year. The agency consists of five School of Business Administration (SBA) students and Christy, who serves as agency director, and was initiated through a financial donation from Tim and Mary Boyle.
Christy brought the idea of a student-run agency from his time as a faculty advisor at Allen Hall Advertising (AHA), a program of the School of Journalism and Communication at University of Oregon. Students who complete the two-term program are awarded six total credits, and a dose of real-world advertising experience, according to Christy.
“I wanted to position this program as an internship and not a class,” said Christy, assistant professor of Marketing and Advertising Management at the SBA. “Students work closely with clients and take ownership of their work instead of doing it for a grade.”
FIR has already landed its first client, PSU Athletics, and is helping conceptualize and produce a campaign over the next three years to promote the Vikings football team. FIR has also created its own website, firadvertising.com, and has begun promoting itself using several social media channels.
Christy hopes the agency will be able to grow over the next few years while expanding its client roster to include small and medium-sized businesses looking for marketing communications solutions. He believes FIR can fill a unique niche as a “Portland-centric, not-for-profit” agency that can provide services to Portland area clients, possibly in exchange for donations to the SBA or other contributions. Future client prospects might include businesses that epitomize the Portland culture and local scene: sustainability-minded companies, food carts and restaurants, and local festivals.
“This type of outreach will really benefit our advertising students and hopefully the Portland business community as a whole,” said Christy.