Students show artistic talent

MILWAUKEE – Give Katie Crabb major points for poise.

There she was a few weeks ago, 18 years old and about to address a panel of seasoned advertising and business pros sitting in leather club chairs in a corporate conference room in downtown Detroit.

Serious business was at hand. The executives, from Chevrolet and its ad agency, were there to hear proposals for a 30-second commercial to be broadcast during the Super Bowl, where a half-minute spot last February cost $2.5 million.

Pitching the ideas were five groups of college students – finalists in a nationwide contest.

They were majors in graphic design, advertising, visual communications, corporate communications, broadcast design and business. All were on teams. All were in their senior year or beyond.Except Katie Crabb. Fresh out of Brookfield Central High School, she’d been attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for only two months. She had no background in advertising or business. Her artistic ability didn’t go much beyond stick figures.

Not only that, she would be making her presentation alone and, by luck of the draw, was slated to go last.So what did she do – while older, more educated contestants tried to wow the executives – as she sat there waiting for her shot at national publicity and perhaps an open door to an interesting career?

She got out her German text and studied grammar.