A decade of advertising insights

By Jiaman Peng

December 11, 2019

Eric Mower Advertising Forum marks 10 years at the Newhouse School

For the past 10 years, the Newhouse School’s Eric Mower Advertising Forum has brought a series of successful and innovative advertising professionals to campus, giving students a peek behind the curtain of the constantly changing industry.

The forum was established by the advertising department in 2009 in honor of alumnus Eric Mower ’66, G’68, chairman and CEO of the marketing and public relations firm Mower, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Mower launched the forum with a public address at Newhouse on Oct. 20 of that year.

Image of Eric Mower
Eric Mower cuts the cake at the first Eric Mower Advertising Forum talk in October of 2009.

Since then, the Mower Forum has hosted industry hall of famers like Shelly Lazarus, chairman emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, and Wally Snyder, founder of the American Advertising Federation and the Institute of Advertising Ethics. Speakers often visit classes as well.

The forum has also supported the Young Star Speaker Series, featuring recent graduates like Mike Friedman ’14, media director at Giant Spoon, and the Creative Advertising Alumni Panel, where art directors and copywriters shared their advice for students preparing to enter the field.

This year’s 10th anniversary celebration keynote speaker was Jack Myers ’69, media ecologist and founder of MediaVillage. Myers’s advocacy for the value and cultural influence of media and marketing led him to write two books on the technological and cultural shift brought about by Gen Z, the first post-internet generation.

Mark Avnet and Mike Friedman '14
Mark Avnet, founder of Converging Arts (left) and Mike Friedman '14, media director at Giant Spoon NYC.

Mower, a trustee emeritus  of Syracuse University, appreciates the generosity of industry powerhouses who share their time, expertise and knowledge with the next generation of advertising professionals. 

“[I’ve seen] the reaction of the students who are about to become professionals, and the engagement that they're having with the industry,” says Mower. “[I’ve seen] the sense of excitement, the sense of wonder and the desire to make something of their lives in this industry that I've been in for over 50 years.”

“The Eric Mower Advertising Forum really helped the department build a climate that speakers should be part of this curriculum,” says James Tsao, chair of  advertising. 

Stacey Minero, Sulynn Amrhein and Sharona Sankar-King
Recent forum speakers include Stacy MInero of Twitter (top right), Sulynn Amrhein (top left) of Mars and Sharona Sankar-King of BBDO (bottom).

According to Tsao, the forum brings about 85 to 100 guests each year to auditoriums, classrooms and portfolio reviews. Recent speakers include Seth Farbman, former chief marketing officer of Spotify; Terri Meyer and Sandy Greenberg, co-founders and co-CEOs of Terri & Sandy; and William Manfredi, global chief talent officer at VMLY&R.

Tsao says the forum provides value not just to students, but also to alumni, who often come to campus to attend the lectures.

“You can treat the forum as a course on the current industry,” says Tsao.

The forum embraces both young and more experienced speakers and ensures that a balanced, 360-degree view of the industry is shared with students, Mower says.

Tsao says he hopes to invite more young speakers and include professionals working in various parts of advertising besides agency.

“The forum is going to continue, and there's a never-ending supply of people in the industry who can come and share something of value to students who are here,” Mower says.

Jiaman (Maggie) Peng is a junior advertising major at the Newhouse School.