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College of Information and Communications

  • Photo of three types of PROOF alcohol ice cream

A tasty course: PROOF alcohol ice cream

Posted July 30, 2020
By Emily Jenkins, senior public relations major. Reprinted from InterCom


This past semester the J-school offered a satisfying course “Integrated Campaigns” where the learning covered all facets of integrated brand communications. PROOF, an alcohol ice cream brand, was the product assignment for the semester. Founded by former University of South Carolina basketball player Jennifer Randall- Collins, the company felt like an appropriate pick for the class.

Randall-Collins developed the first alcohol ice cream of its kind by combining premium alcohol and proprietary processing. She and her dedicated team have created a spunky, new dessert category that is changing the way people think about sweets.

Working with a regional brand is mutually beneficial since many do not have an advertising agency. And since Randall-Collins is an alumna who created an exciting startup company, professor Karen Mallia saw it as a great opportunity for this semester’s class. “I want my students to think critically and find the central human truth that connects the brand with consumers,” Mallia says.

JOUR 517 is the capstone course for advertising majors, synthesizing the key topics that have been taught in prior courses and asking students to demonstrate mastery of all the principles and practices together. The class was able to work with PROOF since all students were of legal drinking age. Groups competed against each other as advertising agencies to see who could come up with the most efficient campaign.

Through research, analysis, strategic planning and more, the class is also receiving much hands- on-experience. They met with Randall-Collins and her team multiple times and sampled the product for themselves. Prior to COVID-19, the class planned to have a face-to-face, real brand pitch. After campus went online, each team delivered their campaign plan book to the client and pitched their campaigns via Blackboard Collaborate with Randall-Collins and some of her team in virtual attendance.

“It was incredibly valuable to have an opportunity to view the various possibilities for PROOF through four very distinct team campaign lenses,” Randall-Collins says. “The decision-making process to narrow down to a final winner was extremely difficult as each campaign provided invaluable insight into our brand. Our team feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate on this project and we are grateful for the hard work and creative energy Professor Mallia and her students brought to the project.”


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