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Hornets audition to ‘sell’ ESU

  • Johnny Morgan, sophomore secondary math education major, prepares to audition for the new crop of students in the Face of ESU campaign Feb. 7 in the Marketing and Media Relations office in the basement of Plumb Hall. Morgan said he has experience with public speaking and debate, so he thought he’d be a good fit for the campaign. (Kenzie Templeton)
  • Johnny Morgan, secondary math education major, sits for a test photo in the Face of ESU campaign studio in the basement of Plumb Hall at auditions Feb. 7. He said he wasn’t nervous at all during the audition, and figured he might as well try out because he likes Emporia State and he figured it would “be cool to be on a billboard or an ad.” (Kenzie Templeton)

Faces waited patiently last Thursday and Friday in the Marketing and Media Relations office to see if they were going to be the next literal “face” of Emporia State.

The Face of ESU Auditions were held in an open format. The process originally was meant to begin Wednesday but that session was cancelled after the university closed due to snow.

Factors that go into choosing the Face of ESU are how well the student photographs, the quality of his or her speech, and how his or her personality comes across on camera. Another consideration is the attempt to cover different majors and departments on campus.

Looks, however, are not a requirement.

“You don’t have to be a supermodel,” said Shelby Smith, secretary of Marketing and Media Relations. “You don’t have to look perfect.”

In past undergraduate marketing campaigns, the Marketing and Media Relations team had used either pictures of students in front of campus buildings or pictures of buildings alone, but they wanted to shift the focus onto just the student. The idea behind the Face of ESU came about in December 2012 when Umair Abbasi, executive director of Marketing and Media Relations, began brainstorming for what is now the “I Am A Hornet campaign.”

This is the second year that ESU is using the Face of ESU for their undergraduate marketing campaign. The selected students’ faces will serve to promote the university on anything from billboards and postcards to television commercials.

The Marketing and Media Relations team worked together to create the campaign last year, but the plan now is to make it bigger. Last year, only 40 people auditioned, and 20 were selected, but this time the numbers nearly doubled. On Friday alone, there were 49 auditions. There were 27 on Thursday.

The auditions consisted of basic head-shots and reading lines in a serious, informative voice, and then in a happy, upbeat voice.

Johnny Morgan, sophomore secondary math education major, auditioned on Friday. He said he felt prepared because of his experience with forensics and debate in high school, as well as his love of public speaking.

“I really like Emporia State, and I figured it would be cool to be on a billboard or ad, so why not?” Morgan said.

Abbasi said he is very excited about the direction the I Am A Hornet campaign is going. Not only is it high-tech with its use of augmented reality, in which a photo of a student comes to life with the use of the Layar app available for iOS and Android, but everything for the campaign is built in-house, he said. In the future, Abbasi said he would like to incorporate use of the futuristic Google Glass into the campaign.

“I really like how there are a lot of people auditioning this time,” Smith said. “It’s really exciting, and I think it’s a great way to give back to the university and to help represent the university to potential Hornets.”

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