A New Perspective: What Advertising Means to Elementary Kids


A couple of weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the Sheppard Elementary Career Fair, which is where my niece attends 4th grade and my sister teaches 2nd grade. The other volunteers ranged from police officers and firefighters to psychologists, a college advisor, a nurse and more.  Students from 4th-6th grade visited the different tables, speaking to the volunteers and asking various questions around their college background, training, choice in profession and a typical work week. The goal of the event was to get students to begin thinking about the future, and in particular see the connection between education and career goals. So while I would’ve loved to have begin recruiting some little ones into the JM fam, most of the day I kept the conversations more geared to how I got to where I am today, what skills I find most helpful in my career, and how college really helped me develop those skills to hone in on what I found interesting and later turn into a career.



Before the event, while my niece showed me the way to the gym, she asked me what exactly it was that I did and I told her “I work in Advertising” (I thought Media Platforms Supervisor might be a bit too much). It was then that I realized that most 4th-6th graders don’t know what advertising is, and that figuring out how to explain that was the biggest challenge of my day. I started the fair by trying to explain it using the props I had brought with me that physically showcased some of Just Media’s work- newspaper ads, magazine cover wraps, pictures of billboards and airport signage. However, many of them didn’t even know what a newspaper was, let alone have experience with it or be able to distinguish between an ad and editorial pictures. Luckily, one of the (very well-mannered) older boys eventually asked, “oh like YouTube?”.  I then came to yet another realization— I was speaking to the generation that was born with the internet, so what better way to make advertising relatable then to put it in terms of social media and mobile apps? The conversations got a lot easier from there, referring to YouTube, Hulu, Facebook and mobile ads, and asking kids to think of a memorable one they’d seen recently.

I guess you could say that it was an important reminder to someone in digital advertising- KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!


K A T E L Y N   S H E E H A N
Media Platforms Supervisor


A huge shout-out and recognition to the teachers and staff at Sheppard Accelerated Elementary School in Santa Rosa for not only hosting this event, but for the work they do every day in teaching and helping shape their student’s lives. And another big thanks for my fellow volunteers, without whom this event would not have been possible!


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