The West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism will feature three speakers from high-profile advertising and research companies this month to give students an opportunity to learn first-hand about branding communications and advertising research.

These professionals bring a wealth of real-world experience and knowledge to our students,said Harrison/Omnicom Professor of Advertising Elizabeth Quilliam.Their insights will add a new dimension to the classroom and provide students with the latest thinking about new communications models.

Two New York City advertising professionals from Hall&Partners, a research company of Omnicoms Diversified Agency Services (DAS), will speak to students Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Terry Willie, group chief executive, and Greg Nyilasy, senior account executive, will talk about the research and planning cycles of advertising and communications development to two advanced advertising classes at 1 and 4 p.m. in 205 Martin Hall.

Hall&Partners provides a variety of research services to help businesses explain and understand their brand advertising issues, including strategies, creative development and brand and ad tracking.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, Emma Gilding, president of in:site, a New York City cultural anthropology think tank for Omnicom, will speak to a class about the use of ethnography in advertising research. Ethnography is a branch of anthropology that studies human cultures and behavior. The talk will take place at 1 p.m. in 205 Martin Hall.

Gildings sociologists and anthropologists shadow customers, recording and observing their behavior often bringing in a documentary filmmaker. They look for common patterns and reactions to explain model behavior. The agency then creates advertising and marketing communications based on those findings.

Harrison/Omnicom advertising professorship

The School of Journalism Harrison/Omnicom advertising professorship was established by Tom Harrison, a 1972 graduate of WVU . He serves as chairman and chief executive officer of DAS , a division of Omnicom.

Harrison joined Omnicom in 1992, when the firm he co-founded, Harrison&Star Business Group, was acquired by the group. He served as chairman of the Harrison&Star Group and Diversified Healthcare Communications, a group of eight healthcare agencies within Omnicom, until his appointment as president of DAS in 1997.

Harrison was named chairman and chief executive of DAS in 1998. In 2006, he was inducted into the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni.