Campaigning for the Beardsley Zoo


The UB Advertising and Public Relations Campaign class has designed a spectacular media world for The Beardsley Zoo’s Centennial. 

“It’s amazing what Mass Communication, Digital Marketing Communication, Graphic Design, Marketing and Business majors accomplish when working together,” says Susan Katz, the Mass Communication Chair. “My class fuses the skills, brain trust and creative power of UB’s students.”

Advertising and Public Relations Campaign was actually the first class Professor Katz taught here at UB over 15 years ago. She immediately began giving the students more responsibility and autonomy during the process of building a multimedia campaign for a real client. Today, the class is run as a professional agency, with four departments: press and public relations, art and design, video and audio, and social media. “This class is so important because it offers real world experience that you can take to the bank,” says Katz proudly. “It produces a portfolio that they can use to find work.”

After a discovery period with the client, the students’ jobs are to create all the collateral material. All semester the students have had to keep to a strict production schedule. “Working with a client on a project like this makes for a really great experience,” says Ean Turner, who chaired the video department and completed the logo animation. “It allowed me to expand my design style and think in ways I haven't before.”

This year’s client is Connecticut’s only zoo, and accredited as one of the nation’s best by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “We had the good fortune to work with a class of Susan’s several years ago, so we knew that with her leadership, we’d be receiving a treasure chest of deliverables,” says Marketing and Development Director Jessica Summers. “This second experience has resulted in a wealth of marketing and promotional material that is a real benefit to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. And it was both fun and rewarding to work with such talented students.”

Located in north Bridgeport, in a park designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Beardsley Zoo is home to more than 100 exotic or endangered species, including Siberian Tigers, Amur Leopards, and Red Wolves. “You work with animals that are the most endangered species on the planet,” says Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “And you know that you’re the caregiver, and you know that you have to do the best you can for those animals.” Founded in 1922, the zoo is approaching its centennial, and is working with Professor Katz’s class to design its press and media kits for the multi-year celebration.

These kits include design art and writing for articles, histories, biographies for the zookeepers, stationery, a radio spot, a video and logo animation, and advertising for billboards, buses, flags, events, magazines, and the internet. The deliverables also include a USB with the digital files. “This class of talented young people, led by Susan Katz, has given the Zoo a big jump forward in planning for our 100th Anniversary in 2022,” says Gregg Dancho. “The creative is targeted precisely to the Zoo’s mission and message. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo Celebrating 100 Years logoCrafted by the team’s art and design chair Cailin Alcock, the colorful logo fuses the different animals found at the zoo, including ungulates, aves, predators, primates, reptiles, amphibians, farm animals, and, yes, humans. It can be adapted for any setting the zoo might need it for, from small promotional novelty items to giant fifty-foot signs. “Helping design and market Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Centennial Celebration has been the opportunity of the lifetime,” says Alcock. “Being able to say I was part of this project gives me great confidence and I look forward to graduating and being able to work in the industry.”

Usually the class unveils their integrated marketing plan to the client in the Tower Room with “a big show,” says Katz. Although this year it is on zoom, it will still be an impressive sight. If you’d like to see what our Mass Communication, Digital Marketing Communication, Graphic Design, Marketing and Business majors can accomplish when working together, join them on Thursday, December 3 from 1:30-2:30 pm on Zoom.