SOJ Insider | Quilliam

Harrison/Omnicom Professor brings marketing expertise to the classroom

By Dylan Jones

With more than 20 years of professional experience in marketing communications, Dr. Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam brings real-world expertise and strategic know-how to the classroom as the School of Journalism’s first Harrison/Omnicom Professor of Advertising.

Quilliam, who recently completed her Ph.D. in mass media at Michigan State University, has a wide variety of experience, working for both large and small companies and as a consultant specializing in marketing communications and sales support.

“Where possible, I use examples from my past experience to bring real-life illustrations to the students.”

- Dr. Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam.

For example, Quilliam has discussed in class marketing campaigns she developed for the New York Cash Exchange (NYCE) ATM and debit card network. While at NYCE, Quilliam won two Gold Effies, a highly valued award in the advertising field that is based on effectiveness and execution.

Quilliam also draws from her experience as vice president and chief customer relations officer at Equifax Card Services and as an independent consultant.

To stay current, she calls upon her many contacts in the advertising field, which now include Omnicom professionals, to provide students with the latest information about innovative trends in advertising, marketing and public relations.

“While we were studying political advertisements in one class, I used a political ad from a contact to illustrate issue advertisements, including story boards, production notes, photos and the final product,” said Quilliam. “As a result, I was able to show the students how ideas are conceived, developed and implemented. They learned about the different components of a political campaign and how that was translated into an advertisement.”

Quilliam also utilizes her research activities to make students aware of broader issues in the field. Her research primarily focuses on the intersection of advertising and society and delves into such topics as advertising and children, corporate social responsibility and privacy.

“For example, I teach how the sum total of all advertising influences our lives, rather than focusing on how a single advertisement or campaign works,” said Quilliam. “The complete picture is how advertising affects society, negatively and positively.”

As the Harrison/Omnicom Professor of Advertising, Quilliam teaches a variety of courses, including advertising and society, direct marketing and advertising research methods.

“What clearly impresses me about Liz is her open passion for the art of communication and the science of advertising,” said Tom Harrison, chairman and chief executive officer of Diversified Agency Services, a division of the Omnicom Group, and sponsor of the Harrison/Omnicom Professorship.

“She embodies the innate ability to focus on the relevance of the various disciplines within advertising to create a practical, integrated curriculum.”

Ultimately, Quilliam said, she is guided by her sense of personal obligation to contribute to society.

“After working a number of years in the marketing field, I wanted to give something back,” said Quilliam.

“Hopefully, through a combination of my experience, contacts and research, I’ll be able to help teach tomorrow’s communicators to be responsible, ethical and creative. When I was younger, I never would have thought about doing this. Now, I don’t see a home outside of academia. This is where I want and need to be.”


Quilliam has returned home to her alma mater, Michigan State University, where she has accepted a faculty appointment beginning Fall 2008.

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