By: Stephanie Sidak
“The yucky, the divine, the best product of all time!”
How’s that for a line of hard-hitting DR copy? Confident, creative - but it didn’t come from one of Eicoff’s own. No, that gem (along with an entire :30 TV commercial about an imaginary product called Smell-a-Vision) is the handiwork of 13-year-old Dominique Jones, one of Eicoff’s first ever Spark students.
Eicoff and Spark, a non-profit organization that matches inner-city middle schoolers with volunteer mentors working as professionals in the city, partnered for the first time in the fall of 2014. Over the course of 10 weeks, two students from Mollison Elementary in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood got a taste of the Eicoff experience. There was copywriting, project briefs, and guest speakers on concepting and development. Plus, with every visit, they were taught a different “skill of the week.” From networking to teamwork to time management, each skill offered important insights to the business world at large.
The ultimate goal of the program is to give students - who might be at risk for dropping out of high school - a source of motivation to keep working hard and to see a future full of possibilities.
The experience, however, goes far beyond merely becoming acquainted with the ad industry and Eicoff’s unique role within it. We, as mentors, get to invest in these kids by providing encouragement and positivity on a personal level. And the students get the opportunity to see the inner workings of a major corporation firsthand - with access to ideas, people, and experiences they likely wouldn’t engage with in their school or community. It’s a unique connection that they might not be getting from their parents and friends - and an opportunity we have come to truly cherish.
Recently, we kicked off the fall semester of Spark 2015 and can’t wait to see what this year brings. In the meantime, enjoy the final video project from the 2014 Spark crew... “Smell-a-Vision.”