Imagewest leaves its mark on Malaysia

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By The Staff

Students from Imagewest, the only full-service, student-run advertising and public relations agency in the nation recently spent four weeks in Malaysia working with their first international client and living at the International Islamic University Malaysia.

Crestwood resident Samantha Hughey, a student at Western Kentucky University, is a member of Imagewest International. She is one of seven Imagewest students and leaders who participated.

As part of a partnership between WKU and IIUM, the Imagewest team worked with the communication department at IIUM to design and launch a new Web site and create an opening video and backdrop for ICORM08, an international conference on the representation of Islam and Muslims in the media. They designed Web templates and the account team developed a public relations plan to assist with marketing for the Internationalization and Innovation Division – a group responsible for recruiting international and exchange students from around the world.

“I’m impressed with the work and performance level of Imagewest,” said Communication Department Head Azmuddin Ibrahim. “The team worked hard on the Web site for our department, and hopefully, after learning from their agency model, we’ll be able to establish our own student-run agency at IIUM.”

Imagewest conducted interactive workshops and lectures for students and faculty. Topics included effective advertising, media planning and buying, developing an effective company profile, generating publicity through effective news release and feature articles, how to establish a student-run advertising and public relations agency, developing newsletters and Web site design.

“I loved working with the students that attended the workshops, and they comprehended the material well even though English is not their first language,” said Heather Garcia, agency manager. “The students were smart and fully engaged to learn whether it’s from material we presented or creative exercises they completed.”

Living on campus was a unique part of the experience. The team endured local life the same way regular students do at the university. They lived in hostels with other students and shared facilities such as restrooms, showers and washing machines as well as patronized the small convenience stores, food court and vendors across campus. The group formed many close relationships with students, faculty and staff throughout their stay.

“Our students are very fortunate to be a part of this amazing opportunity to further their education on an international level and immerse themselves into a different culture,” WKU professor Mark Simpson said. “Aside from working on client projects, we explored many amazing places in Malaysia as well.”

Imagewest traveled to Teluk Cempedak Beach on the East Coast’s South China Sea, the historical town of Malacca, the Mini Asean Village, Putrajaya, and Port Dickson Beach on the West Coast. In and around Kuala Lumpur the team visited Petronas Towers, Batu Caves, the National Mosque, the Islamic Art Museum, and even hiked through the jungle at the Forest Research Institute Malaysia.

The team also visited Perception Management International, an international public relations and communication counseling firm and met with the president and other leaders of the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia.