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Youth Force
Advertising program meets market demand

By Helena Moncrieff
Special to the Toronto Sun

Think you'd like to try your hand at advertising? Centennial College has a new one-of-a-kind offering in Canada in its Advertising Account Management program.

Responding directly to industry demands, the program prepares students to work in the client service area of the dynamic, never-a-dull-moment marketing communications industry.
Centennial College's Centre for Creative Communications is a short jaunt from the bustling advertising agencies in downtown Toronto. The intimate, friendly campus is recognized as one of Canada's best schools for new media and related studies.

One-year program

The one-year program is open to students who have already graduated from university or college, or have significant related work experience.

Centennial also offers three-year advertising and marketing programs open to high school graduates, which serve the industry well. However, the Institute of Communications and Advertising, whose members include ad agencies, expressed an interest in recruiting more mature post-secondary graduate-level employees.

Program co-ordinator Dean Cowell says an attractive feature is the full semester (15 weeks) of job placement at the end of the program. "It gives students relevant job-related experience and provides them with valuable contacts."

Cowell believes there is a personality type best suited to advertising. "It's a fast-paced, deadline-driven, exciting business that sees lots of change all the time. If that's up your alley, you'll love it."

Before coming to Centennial to teach, Cowell spent 18 years in advertising agencies as an account manager for a variety of industries including banking, retail, food service and confectionery. He helped develop advertising plans for brands such as Caramilk, Ralston Purina and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

Successful account managers have strong interpersonal skills; superior writing, communications and organizational abilities; strategic thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills; keen imaginations and a strong creative sense.
  • Students use on-site professional computer software, media planning and research systems.
  • Centennial's faculty are recruited from the industry.
  • The 15-week summer job placement gives students real work experience and can lead to employment opportunities.
  • Agencies that have hired Centennial graduates include: MacLaren McCann, Cossette Communications, FCB Toronto, J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam.

  • The account management side of advertising deals more with the marketing aspects of the business. It does not include developing creative ads or media planning or buying. Cowell describes account management as the "cog in the wheel," consulting with the client on all aspects of a campaign.

    "There's been growth in integrated marketing in the past 10 to 15 years," Cowell says. "It's not just TV any more." Instead, an advertising campaign may include billboards, movie theatre giveaways, online pop-ups or special events.

    Launch a product

    Students will learn how to launch a product or idea by developing a TV commercial, having related toys inserted in cereal boxes and getting celebrities to wear the branded T-shirts, for example.

    The program's courses include advertising research, account management practices, business communications, agency finance and operations, advertising planning, campaign management and strategic planning.

    The program is located at Centennial's Centre for Creative Communications in East York -- a short jaunt from the bustling advertising agencies in downtown Toronto.

    The intimate, friendly campus is recognized as one of Canada's best schools for new media and related disciplines.

    Program graduates may begin careers in advertising agencies, interactive marketing, sales promotion, event marketing or direct marketing companies.

    To learn more about Advertising Account Management at Centennial College, visit or call Dean Cowell at 416-289-5000, ext. 8629.

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