Joshua Watson

Get to know some of our College of Media students! Joshua Watson is a Class of 2024 advertising major. 

What made you decide to major in advertising?
When I originally came to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, I was an undeclared student, but I honestly knew that I wanted to go into the advertising world. I originally started in CS + advertising but I realized that it wasn't really for me. I realized that I was more interested in the creative aspects of advertising rather than the math/coding aspect of the major. Nevertheless, I persisted through my classes. What really made me stay in advertising was taking Introduction to Advertising. I really enjoyed this class because it allowed me to see how I would be able to build myself as a brand; it generally just fit my career dreams and my personality. 

Are you a part of any RSOs related to your major? 
I am a part of the American Advertising Federation here at Illinois, which is the largest student chapter in the country. I'm specifically a part of three agencies; CTRL+ V, RSVP, and Addys. Each of these programs are unique in their own ways. CTRL+V is a production agency that is video focused. We use skills such as video making and editing to produce commercials for local clients. RSVP is an experiential marketing agency, so they work with clients in order to create experiential marketing projects. Through this agency we are able to be creative and think out of the box while working on ads for clients. The last agency I'm a part of is Addys. This agency is a competition-based agency that competes with other schools for larger clients to view their work. In the past they have worked with clients such as Spotify and Meta. 

I'm also a part of UIUC Reach. This RSO is focused around using social media. You can also work with brands and help work on their advertising. 

These two have given me the ability to gain experience with real clients. 

What has been your favorite class in Media so far?
My favorite class so far has been Becoming an Influencer (ADV 301). In this class you decide what social media platform you want to specialize in. This could be Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, or others, and you create content for it. I decided to go down the TikTok route, so I would make content every other week and learn about the industry. You also learn how influencers work and how they are able to persuade people by promoting products. 

What is one piece of advice would you give to other Media students? 
One piece of advice is to find what you love. You should not pick a particular field because someone told you so, or that it gives you a lot of money. You should pick something that aligns with your gifts and with what you enjoy. One thing I love about advertising is that there are so many different paths you can take. You can work with large agencies or companies but if you don't want to do that there are numerous other things you can do that better suit your interests. 

—Interview by Lola Domalik, New Voices Intern