Advertising and Public Relations

Department of Communication

Meet Our Students!


The simple idea of organized shoe boxes turned into a business for Sommer Meyer of Closet Fetish. Meyer was enrolled in a Hawaii Pacific University Advertising/Public Relations class in which students were tasked with drawing up a business plan. At a loss for an idea, Meyer reflected on her long-standing practice of taping photos of her shoes to shoe boxes for easy identification. It worked, but it always bothered her that "all the boxes were different sizes and different colors, so it never looked organized." She decided to create standardized boxes, ordered three sample boxes from China and sent out a press release to see whether anyone might be interested in buying them. "In one week, InStyle magazine, Oprah and Traditional House all
called and said they were going to feature the shoe boxes.” These days, she counts celebrities like Michelle Obama, Halle Berry, Kim Cattrall, and Denise Richards as her clients. Richards showed her Closet Fetish boxes in an episode of her TV show, It's Complicated. She been on Oprah's 0 listand InStyle twice. Sommer specifically and constantly credits her classes at HPU as being the origin of her business. Her business is a direct result of a business plan assignment and press release writing leaned at HPU.

As of Fall 2015, the Advertising and Public Relations major has been changed to the Mass Communication major, which is a combination of both Journalism and Advertivising and Public Relations programs. Students interested in this area of study should see the course conversion list.

Why Study Advertising/Public Relations?

mainpicThink you can come up with better ads than the ones airing on TV? How about successfully managing the rollout of new products and working to improve their perception by the media? If these possibilities interest you, then you could be well suited to a career in advertising or public relations (PR). The core activity is to take a product — whether it’s Pepsi or the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film — and construct promotional campaigns that get people excited about them. Advertising and PR firms help companies, non-profits and governments manage everything from speeches, to the look of brochures, and to major crises. Sometimes it's difficult to tell when PR and advertising are different. These days, many organizations in the business are referred to as "strategic communication consultants." New media is changing the face of advertising. This field now addresses social media marketing as well as traditional forms. There's no doubt that this will continue to change, offering tremendous opportunities to someone with an interest in the field.

Why Study in Hawai‘i?

HPU’s ideal location at the hub of the economically vibrant Pacific Rim means outstanding cooperative education, internship and career opportunities. Students have found careers and internships with a wide variety of companies and organizations both in Hawai‘i and around the globe. Students studying in Hawai‘i are uniquely posed to examine emerging and flourishing Asian markets.

Program Overview

The Advertising and Public Relations: Strategic Communication (ADPR) degree is a fresh approach to traditionally separate degrees in Advertising and Public Relations and reflects today’s integrated industry. The “strategic communication” portion of the name represents communication’s central role and our emphasis on an organization’s total and long-term communication efforts.

Our Bachelor in Science degree is a single degree. However, students are given the flexibility of choosing two separate tracks. One is geared more to management of integrated accounts. The second is designed more for the creative aspects of campaigns.

For the account management track, we recommend concentrating elective classes (and/or minor) in a specific discipline such as business, science or health. This pairing allows for a more knowledgeable interaction with clients.

For the creative track, we recommend concentrating elective classes (and/or a minor) in one of our arts programs such as multimedia, music, studio arts or theater arts. The creative option orients students more toward the production of campaign materials from classic print materials to the latest in multimedia productions.

Either option allows students to build a marketable degree around their interests, learn traditional advertising and public relations skills, and meet industry needs — all within a single 124 credit hour degree. For students wishing to delve deeper into specific aspects ADPR, we offer the option of additional course work or a double major, similarly to more traditional separate advertising and public relations degrees.

Hands On Experiences

Rather than relying solely on textbooks, students in the Advertising and Public Relations program apply what they learn in the classroom to actual problems faced by organizations and businesses. In addition, eligible students are encouraged to take COM 3950 - Communication Practicum, an internship offering actual experience in a professional setting. Students select internships in any area of communication including advertising, corporate communication, journalism, public relations, speech, theater or visual communication. Supervision is both by a professional on site and by HPU faculty.

Internships allow students to gain practical experience by working at an advertising or public relations agency, newspaper or television station or in the communication department of a business such as a hospital or hotel. Many internships offer a stipend for spending money.

Career Options

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes of Advertising and Public Relations:

%7e Keen competition is expected for these highly coveted jobs.

%7e College graduates with related experience, a high level of creativity, and strong communication and computer skills should have the best job opportunities.

%7e High earnings, substantial travel, and long hours, including evenings and weekends, are common.

%7e Because of the importance and high visibility of their jobs, these managers often are prime candidates for advancement to the highest ranks.

Career opportunities include advertising managers, marketing managers, promotion managers, public relations managers, social media marketing specialists, advertising media planners, media traffic personnel, copywriters, illustrators, and creative individuals, production managers, directors of advertising and/or public relations, public relations specialists, and account executives.

Useful links:

Degree Requirements

Sample 4-Year Plan Account Manager Track (PDF)

Sample 4-Year Plan Creative Track (PDF)

4-Year Course Rotation Plan