ThinkNW Marketing All-Star Profile: Deb Morrison, The University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications

We’re pleased to announce our first class of ThinkNW Marketing All-Stars. Chosen by the ThinkNW board and executive team, this program kicks off a tradition of recognizing the unique marketing talent that drives our industry and region forward.

We asked our honorees to share a bit about their work, lives and what the Pacific Northwest means to them.

Here’s what Deb Morrison, the Chambers Distinguished Professor of Advertising (and associate dean) of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications, had to say.

How long have you been in your current role?

16 years at Oregon. Before that, the University of Texas for about 400 years.

What do you value most in your work in this role, and what do you consider your biggest accomplishment in your current role?

In many ways, I see my role as a talent developer. I help students find what they want to do, work with them to do great things, then become a bit of an agent for them—times 1,000 on any given day.
I’ve helped the industry over the years by guiding these smart people to good work at agencies. In the last couple of years, my accomplishment has been my own realization of the ways advertising wields a double-edged sword toward the climate emergency.

It’s simple: strategic and creative skills are precisely what is needed to help move people’s awareness of climate issues to real action and activism. But at the same time, the industry is culpable in multiple ways for misinformation and disinformation, greenwashing, and duplicitous messages. It’s time we reset.

What do you like to do outside of your work?

  • Long walks with dogs and husband.
  • Garden as therapy.
  • Enjoying our three sons’ wonderful professional and personal lives in the world (they’re in San Francisco and LA)
  • We love our environmental reporting work with students in Cordova, Alaska.
  • I’ve kept a daily visual journal since March 12, 2020—631 days at this point—observing, whining, celebrating the existential journey we’ve been on.

What impact does the Pacific Northwest have on your work?

Certainly lifestyle: the coast, the mountains, the air, the trees, the rivers, the landscape make for a love of place-bound in joy. Look at that breathtaking sky, and your day is made better no matter what.

How would you characterize the Pacific Northwest marketing/creative community? In your mind, what makes it unique?

The creative community here has all the markers that research tells us are important for a creative community: green spaces, rich creative legacy and history, transparency, working for diversity and equity, supportive institutions. The Pacific Northwest is a brand in ascension as people look at the left coast for interesting and progressive places.

See the full list of ThinkNW Marketing All-Stars here.

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