Student ad agency seeks funding to stay afloat

Editor’s note: This story was revised for accuracy at 5:33 p.m. Friday.

It may be up to alumni and local advertising agencies to keep the student-run RealWorld advertising agency open for years to come.

Allen Wallach, a member of the RealWorld Advisory Board and Chief Executive Officer of Concussion High Impact Communications who has worked as both an adviser and collaborative client with RealWorld, said he is prepared to help support the development of top-tier communication graduates, but only if the university is going to maintain some level of support.

“As a board member I was impressed with the agency’s leadership, its ability to operate efficiently and the quality and enthusiasm of the students who worked there,” Wallach said.

RealWorld was incubated and subsidized by the university and expected to generate paid work to achieve a level of self-sufficiency, Wallach said.

“From a business perspective, I understand the university’s need to cut costs,” Wallach said. “However, when you look at other benefits of the agency such as its ability to recruit top strategic communications students, then the decision seems short-sided.”

Concussion is in the process of interviewing summer interns and would welcome applications from RealWorld staffers who were displaced, Wallach said.

Jackie Elliot, marketing director for Jubilee Theatre and past client of RealWorld, said the closing of the agency is a huge loss because it was responsible for breaking the ground between the university and the nonprofit organization.

“We get a lot of support from TCU students that attend and participate in the theater,” Elliot said. “RealWorld provided framework for an organization who, at the time, had little structure for their marketing plan and a very small budget. Its impact on our organization and the community is incontestable.”

RealWorld is looking for a dramatic endowment so that it can stay open next year and for years to come, said Mark Mourer, assistant dean of development for the College of Communication and former president of Schieffer School J-Exes, a Schieffer alumni group.

“I hope that alumni who benefited from the innovative organization through experience and job opportunities will give back,” Mourer said.