2018 Student Mentorship Recap

Gaining real-world experience by helping the participants.

Last fall, we had a novel idea…in conjunction with the local American Advertising Federation (AAF), we helped turn the club’s annual public service project into a student mentorship opportunity. A local nonprofit was selected to receive free help with its marketing needs, and local creative students were given the chance to earn internship credits while gaining real-world experience.


After applying to and interviewing for a variety of positions, such as creative director, account manager, copywriter, and more, the selected students were paired up with mentors and got to work! First up, they developed interview questions and conducted a discovery session with the client, the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Once they gained an understanding of the client’s needs, the students created an overall strategy and three campaign concepts for the client to review.


Goal: Increase wedding bookings

Target audience: Engaged couples ages 20–35

Tone: Free-spirited, fresh, simple, renewing

One challenge of creating a campaign that resonated with Millennials was incorporating the Arboretum's original logo while maintaining a modern feel.



To illustrate the flexibility and appeal of an updated logo, the students created a slide to illustrate the difference between the original and a potential update. They even showed how the vibrancy of the Arboretum can still be communicated by applying seasonal colors to the mark.


After identifying four primary mediums for placements, the students developed and pitched three creative concepts to the client. With its simple, fresh, and clear approach, "Your Wedding, Our Gardens" was selected.


Billboards were created to help make a big splash and attract the attention of the Arboretum's secondary target audience: the general public.



An updated landing page with a campaign-specific URL was designed to let visitors know they arrived at the correct place to begin their planning.


Targeted Instagram ads would help get our prospective customers to the site.


And print ads were made for placement in publications such as Her Magazine and bridal shows.


In the end? The client and her board were blown away by the work and are in the process of allocating additional budget for advertising, and the students gained real world experience they could get nowhere else—not to mention the satisfaction of seeing their hard work out in the world.


Now it's time for round two! If you're a local nonprofit, you can visit the AAF Dubuque website to download and submit your application (due October 18). If you're a student, stay tuned—open positions and our interview day will be announced soon.