A student-run advertising agency at Ball State University is helping small businesses get their message out to consumers during the economic uncertainty of the pandemic.
Leaders at McKinley Avenue Agency, an advertising and media sales agency, says now is not the time for businesses to be silent, even if their doors are closed.
“We had to have honest conversations with our clients quickly,” said Abby Hines, a Ball State junior and the agency’s executive advertising director. “Hearing their worries pushed us to the idea of free advertising.”
Hines and her fellow staff members developed advertising packages that would allow the businesses to reach the Ball State and Muncie communities.
Realizing now was not the time to sell its products, the sales team decided to offer free advertising to help struggling local businesses.
“Coming from a family who owns a small business back in northwest Indiana, I was facing this worry firsthand,” said Hines. “I knew the significance of what we were able to do and why we needed to do it so quickly, no matter the cost to us.”
The student-led business is receiving guidance from the agency’s professional advisor through Ball State’s Unified Media lab.
“Our students are hard-working and compassionate, and they always have the best interest of our customers at heart,” said Betsy Meyer, professional advisor for The McKinley Avenue Agency. “Our teams know that we are here to offer services and products that will actually help and produce results for our clients.”
Four local businesses reached out to take advantage of the opportunity.
“This wasn’t an original idea, but if every agency is able to do this in some way, we could make a huge impact as an industry,” said Hines.