Adam Alcalde, a multi-media sales representative for The News, loves participating in the Design An Ad program that allows children to demonstrate their creativity and artistic abilities, creating advertisements for community businesses. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Adam Alcalde, a multi-media sales representative for The News, loves participating in the Design An Ad program that allows children to demonstrate their creativity and artistic abilities, creating advertisements for community businesses. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Creative young minds share ideas for advertising

News brings students together with Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows businesses to create awesome ads

Tapping into the creativity of kids, and having them design advertisements offering their perspectives of local businesses tend to generate some fun and insightful pieces.

That’s the take away from Adam Alcalde, one of the multi-media sales representatives with The News, who loves sharing the annual Design An Ad program with his clients.

“This is one of my favourite features to sell, because I feel that it really engages the participating businesses with our readers in a fun, memorable, and highly anticipated section,” he said.

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Plus, from the minds of children, creativity flows freely – without fear of social etiquette and protocols that tend to come with age and experience. That lack of inhibition is what makes today’s Design An Ad special section and this annual program so popular with the readers, too, Alcalde added.

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This initiative has proven so popular in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows in the past that returning students clamour to let their creative juices flow, again, and new students to the program have heard so many great things about it, they too are anxious to be part.

“The elementary students just go absolutely ballistic with excitement when we let them know that they have an opportunity to design an actual ad to be printed in the paper,” said Alcalde, who has been in the news industry for more than a decade.

This year, local businesses were teamed up with Grade 3 through 7 students from seven local elementary schools to design all the newspaper ads in today’s section. Those schools were Hammond, Blue Mountain, Harry Hooge, Pitt Meadows, Alexander Robinson, Edith McDermott, and Highland Park Elementaries.

As Alcalde said, it’s an innovative program because it allows the different generations to work together. Moreover, he said, it also allows business owners to see their stores, shops, and companies through the eyes of our community’s future leaders.

He called it an “incredible fusion of ideas that cross culture and generations.”

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During the past several weeks, The News staff, including Alcalde, has been working with local businesses and about 170 students to create what he describes as thoughtful, insightful, colourful, and sometimes humorous advertisements.

“The feature really got my clients excited with anticipation and they couldn’t wait for the designs to come back and see what the kids came up with,” Alcalde said, noting one offered baseball caps to all the young artists involved with their ad – as a token of appreciation.

At the same time, it’s a difficult task for participating businesses to choose just one ad.

“This was always a challenge for them. They have a hard time just picking one. Seems like every year, a business or two will end up buying additional ads just so that they can run a couple more ads they liked,” Alcalde elaborated.

It was exciting not only to The News staff, who worked hand-in-hand with the kids and teachers. It was also contagious for participating businesses.

It’s a chance, Alcalde said, for our local business owners and operators to step away from the norm and venture into this fun, but equally educational, kids program.

Teachers were also excited to participate, seeing the program as a good educational tool for children.

It allows their students to not only flex their artistic talents, but the kids have to research the companies they design ads for, and consequently they learn about what goes into creating an effective advertisement.

As one teacher has said, it helps make the kids more effective communicators.

“This is an incredible blast for all involved,” Alcalde said, “and we can’t wait to do it again.”

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