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Birschbach brings creative perspective to advertising concentration
By Nathan Becker
The best way to describe the School of Communication’s newest professor, Mark Birschbach, is “a man who is dedicated and committed to making sure that everything is done right”.
Birschbach who has been in the advertising profession for over thirty years knows a thing or two when it comes to being creative with the clients he has worked for. Some of the companies that he has worked for include Lawn Boy Lawn Mowers, Sargento Cheese, Kohler Company, US Robotics and Miller Lite.
Elaborating on his experience at Miller, Birschbach says beyond creating some advertisements, he spent most of the time in sales promotion. His main focus was to try to promote the big-ticket products mainly for popular events, such as, the Super Bowl, or other types of various holidays all year-round. He even worked with NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace’s team on new methods of advertising for the sport. “They were entertaining, let’s leave it at that,” he says.
Hoffman York is yet another company that Birschbach worked for that he is particularly fond of. “I had a wonderful boss, he was a writer, and that’s where I really learned the copywriting craft,” he says.
When pressed on how he found his footing in advertising, Birschbach says, “When I was a senior in college I had to do a paper for some reason I chose the topic of advertising. I knew nothing about advertising, I was an English major.” That experience was clearly rewarding and he applied to graduate school for advertising to go deeper into the subject.
Where role models are concerned Birschbach names advertising tycoon, David Ogilvy, as one example, noting that his knack when it came to running ad campaigns was unparalleled.
Birschbach’s love for advertising led him to create his own company called Zymbok. With such vast experience, embarking on a teaching career came naturally for him. He served as an instructor at Southern Illinois University prior to joining Radford University.
About his decision to join Radford, Birschbach says it just clicked: “When I visited here back in the spring of this year, I will admit I liked the place right-away. I like the people, I like the place, and I like the student environment.” He also found the size of the campus appealing.
Birschbach has a unique teaching approach. He likes to show his students a certain type of advertisement, then show them the copy to test the students on what works in it the best, and what does not work. Among the concepts explored include misdirection, ommission, repetition, and the overall creative process. Writing is yet another skill that he emphasizes to his students as an ingredient for success in advertising.
Ending on a career advice note to students, Birschbach says, “I think a student has to find an area that interests them. It might be public relations, advertising, filming, or audio work. Find something you like because you are going to be working for a long time, and you better like what you are doing.”