MTV ad man reveals inner workings of marketing
While many Syracuse University students sat down to watch MTV last night, a handful of others were shown the workings behind it.
Al-Sharik Barksdale, a sales coordinator for MTV and MTV2, spoke at the S.I. Newhouse School for Public Communications about the specifics of his field, and how different programs made for the popular station are created, advertised and eventually turn a profit.
‘He seemed very informative. It was nice to hear a young person talk more about the professional side of MTV,’ said Elizabeth Katz, a senior advertising major.
Barksdale spoke about MTV and MTV2 as businesses, and how a specific show makes money, going through the complex process of what it takes for a show to make money after it has been produced. He also spoke of plans for upcoming programming like a new show called ‘Trippin” staring Cameron Diaz, in which she travels around the world with her friends seeing new and exotic places.
The ad and sales department plays a critical role in changes happening to MTV2, Barksdale said, especially with the re-launch the station went through on Feb. 5 to bring it back to its original musical roots. Barksdale brought an example of a video which MTV made about the revamped channel to show to the audience, which was a key example of an item someone in the ad and sales department would bring to different corporations in hopes of endorsing their products.
‘It’s great for students to hear real life accomplishments for what happens after,’ Barksdale said. ‘It’s sometimes hard to get the idea from professors because they are too far removed. I’m giving them a real hand account of their future.’
The lecture ended with a long question and answer period in which students were able to ask anything they wanted about working at MTV and Barksdale’s career. He then stuck around to give out business cards and offer tours around MTV studios.
‘I liked that he answered every question about salary and mobility,’ said Evie Hickey, an undeclared sophomore. ‘Every bit of information helps for the future.’
Sue Westcott Alessandri, an assistant professor of advertising and public relations, knew Barksdale when he was her student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and got back into contact with him last year. She said she decided it was worth it for her students to listen to someone with Barksdale’s accomplishments and learn from his experience. Meeting people is the first step to getting an internship or job in this field, Alessandri said.
Although working for a bigger company like MTV has a lot of disadvantages, Barksdale encouraged students to start larger because it’s a way to become immediately experienced in their field. Also, working in such a creative company gives the freedom to be yourself and create work that reflects a generation, Barksdale said.
‘I’m a senior and I want to do this for a living, and a job in ad and sales in TV would be an excellent route to take,’ Katz said.
Overall, students felt they learned a lot about what it’s like to actually work in the profession they are being trained in, and Barksdale was happy to provide them with his knowledge.
‘When I was at UNC, I heard a lot of speakers and learned what I was going to get myself into,’ Barksdale said. ‘I think the students got a lot out of this.’
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