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Gorham students aid fundraising effort

Gorham students hold up the ads they created to raise awareness of the Penguin Plunge, a Special Olympics fundraiser. The winning ad and therefore the A for the class has yet to be decided, but organizers of Berlin's plungers were ecstatic with the outcome of the students' work. (Photo by Erik Eisele) (click for larger version)
January 27, 2010
BERLIN — Ads are in the air.

Students from Rob Hamel's advertising class had to present their final project on Thursday, but these ads were for more than just a grade.

The students went to Isaacson's Structural Steel, where they met representatives for the Penguin Plunge and presented ads they designed to raise awareness of the event.

The Penguin Plunge is a Special Olympics fundraiser that a number of Berlin residents take part in to raise money for local Olympians. Mr. Hamel decided the students should do something more than simply design something for some made up product or company.

"What we do in class has a benefit out of class," he said.

Seven groups of one to three students worked for a week to design the ads. They used the knowledge about design and color they learned over the course of the class. They each created three ads, usually varying on a theme, which they presented in front of their class, their teacher, the plungers and local media.

"This is their final exam," Mr. Hamel said, but it has more impact than just some project he created to test their skills.

Each team explained why their design best exemplified the rules of advertising and answered questions about the design. The students worked with several different computer programs and came up with a wide variety of designs. The intent of all of them, however, was to get the word out for the Penguin Plunge and bring in money for Special Olympians.

Pauline Poirier, who organizes Berlin residents to take part in the Penguin Plunge, said she was impressed with the quality of the ads. She said the plungers may wind up using more than one of the designs over the next year.

Mr. Hamel said whichever group Ms. Poirier and the other plungers chose as the advertisement they wished to use would earn an A. The judges had yet to decide by the weekend, but it's clear who the true winners of the effort will be: the Olympians.

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