To many advertising students at Boston University’s College of Communication, AdLab is a place to gain “real world” experience with a student-run agency that does actual client work. The program not only creates ads that clients use, but it actually turns a small profit – just like a real agency. There are budgets, deadlines, and, most importantly, incredibly creative products.
About six years ago, one talented Boston University student, Mike Carozza, participated in AdLab. “Our team’s client was a company called Barfrog/Linezip,” Carozza says. “They were a nightlife source, much like Yelp. We had a ton of fun working with them, and I still get plenty of use out of that double shot glass we were given as an award.”
Today, he’s using AdLab from San Francisco where he lives and works. However, it is not his day job that needs Adlab’s help. Carozza looked to his alma mater to further the success of a personal business venture: his hobby and passion for baseball gear. Carozza started a blog, What Pros Wear, geared toward serious baseball fans who want to find out more about their favorite players equipment and clothes to their music selection. As an avid baseball player and fan, Carozza was his own inspiration. Carozza bought the domain name, whatproswear.com, on the 18th floor of Warren Towers in 2005 for 10 dollars. Procrastinating on the idea, but continuing to renew the domain, his first post finally went up last February. He’s already surpassed one million page views.
His “About” page on the site says,
“Growing up, I cocked my hat to the side like Mike Cameron, slapped my glove on my leg like Rickey Henderson, flipped the ball in underhand like Andrew Jones, and wore (and still wear) my favorite player, Ken Griffey, Jr.’s Rawlings PROTB24. We always emulate our heroes as I’m sure you do too.”
Carozza does his research, putting together posts that compile everything from players’ sunglasses to the way they wear their hats (WPW points out that there are right and wrong ways to do so). There is even a part of the website called “What Pros Blare” that includes professional baseball players and their favorite walk-up music, or the song played as they step up to the plate. The site sounds quite simple, but it includes information that aspiring baseball players really want to know but cannot find in Sports Illustrated or from retail workers at sporting goods stores.
So, why AdLab? Mike Carozza has bigger hopes for WPW that include expanding to other sports, such as basketball and soccer. To do so, Carozza needs a logo adaptable to all sports, as well as a website layout that can provide and hold more information with better organization and clarity. He sees a bright future for What Pros Wear: “Being modest, I see WPW becoming the biggest sports equipment website in the universe.” Yes, he said the universe.
Boston University does, after all, produce some pretty exceptionally motivated people. He goes on, “Done right, WhatProsWear.com will change the way sporting goods companies manufacture and market their products.”
While Boston University’s AdLab cannot create this change right away, it can certainly expose and improve What Pros Wear in ways that can put the website on a new path towards even greater professionalism. Currently, AdLab is designing a new, adaptable logo, as well as an entirely new website complete with aesthetic features that will make the site feel more modern and sleek. Other changes include enhancing WPW social media to engage in conversation with brands and athletes that use their gear, suggestions for a WPW Tumblr page, and website templates that make adding other sports to WPW relatively simple.
Boston University AdLab students welcome opportunities and challenges like the expansion of WPW as practice for future career paths. Current junior copywriter at Mullen, Michelle Carpenter (BU ’13), said, “AdLab gave me practical experience while not only building my portfolio, but also preparing for a real world job.” Current Vice President of Creative, Sylvia Krasteva, also adds, “Most agencies count it [Adlab] as real world experience. You get real clients. Point is, Boston University has brilliant and hardworking advertising students.”
Adlab is a professional firm within a school environment, something incredibly unique to Boston University and its talented advertising students.